Transition Network Conference 2011

Choosing which session to attendI attended the Transition Conference this year to let everybody know what we’ve been up to in Kings Heath and to hear about the experiences of other groups.  This year the conference was in Liverpool Hope University.  The campus setting definitely gave an air of formality to the proceedings, yet I also found this year’s conference to be noticeably more relaxed than last year’s, which felt decidedly frantic!

Several have remarked that this is perhaps a sign of the Transition movement maturing and finding its feet.  Certainly, much of the talk seemed seemed more intentional than introspective, with everyone keen to get straight down to business and hear detailed experiences of how people went about doing something with their group, from starting energy co-ops to engaging the local council, techniques for dissolving unhealthy concentrations of power in a group or how to work internationally.

Another recurrent theme was how to make Transition projects sustainable – not just ecologically but emotionally and financially.  Though many of us have issues with how our current economic system works and Transition is starting to consider how to address some of these issues, the current economic realities of funding options disappearing and widespread unemployment has inspired many to wonder how Transition projects can provide livelihoods for those involved.

Some Transition groups have already set up non-profit businesses and co-operatives with Transition values at their core, while many more are actively considering it.  There was also significant interest in how to work with existing businesses in the community, so people were eager to hear how our group’s 9carrots scheme is progressing.

If you’d like to get more of a flavour of what happened at the conference, I recommend following the links from the conference media page.  Just don’t watch the video of me talking about 9carrots – after 3 days of intense conversations, my brain was well and truly fried!

— Jonathan Melhuish

Photo by Mike Grenville

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