What is a Hub?

Transition groups and organisations form at various levels of scale to catalyse and support Transition. Transition Network functions at a global level, whilst , at the local level there are the core teams of local initiatives and in between them are the National and Regional Hubs.

These Hubs are as diverse as the communities they arise in. Some are funded, many are volunteers, others are pre-existing organisations who stepped up to catalyse and support Transition in their part of the world.

A National Hub can be particularly useful when other parts of social society want to engage with Transition at that level of scale – government’s, national organisations, journalists, other social movements. National (and Regional) Hubs are a distinctive layer in the Transition Movement, connected by regular international gatherings, communications, international working groups and a very strong shared sense of purpose.

This collection of Hubs has rapidly grown into a complex network and demonstrates a strong culture of self-organising – a characteristic of Transition. The Hubs have formed working groups which, among other things, are building more structure, definition and resilience into their part of this network.

History

The early history of National Hubs was really about individuals – people who saw the need for national/regional coordination to help Transition spread where they were. That history is as varied as the people themselves and the cultures they inhabited.  As the Transition movement spread virally throughout the world, Transition Network (TN) was the main contact with local Transition initiatives.  

The New Zealand Hub was the first to form and soon the Transition Aotearoa website went up and our mantra of “let it self-organise” seemed very appropriate.

Next was the US, where an existing organisation offered to take on the role of catalysing and supporting Transition in their country. At this point, we felt a more formalised relationship between Transition Network and the Hubs was needed. We wanted the Hubs to understand what they were taking on, and to be doing it for the right reasons. We drafted up a “Memorandum of Understanding” and found it to be a useful tool for setting expectation and handling relationships.

TN continued to apply this approach as other potential Hubs started to show signs of forming over 2008 (Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden) and 2009 (Germany, Australia, Denmark, France). At that point the Hubs began to get connected and use their voices collectively, particularly in the relationship with Transition Network. Over time, they’ve evolved into a collaborative, family-like network with shared values and intentions. Our aspiration over the coming years is for this network to get broader, better connected and develop ways of sharing power and resources to the places that need them most.

What is the Hubs group?

There has been a lot of experimentation in the network of hubs regarding how it’s organised and how the connection is kept between the members of the group. From that experimentation, we have now a “system” that has some degree of complexity.

The hubs network connects about 34 regional and national hubs. It is quite a “special” network:

Diversity seems to be THE word:

  • Hubs are very diverse – from embryonic to the other side of the scale by being professionalised, with funding, legal identity, etc. Some people, are not considered to be part of a hub yet and they are already connecting and collaborating with the network. How hubs organise and work at a national level differs enormously as well.
  • It is generally accepted that hubsters give their time to the network differently, depending on their availability or energy. The fact that, in the same network, some members have salaries but most of them still do the work voluntarily, obviously affects how people engage and the network shapes itself naturally around that.
  • There is the obvious diversity of where people come from, their cultures, their languages, how transition looks like in the context of their country. Communication between hubsters is crucial and that is underlined by the fact that work at this level has to be done virtually most of the time.

Together, the National Hubs and Transition Network, are experimenting with ways to connect, collaborate and change the world across huge distances. There are quite a lot of challenges and it has been an intense learning journey. Collaboration, peer-to-peer support, active listening, compassion, the feeling of belonging to a family have been mentioned by members of the hubs circle as being key in the way work is done within this circle.

At the moment, there are several structures of collaboration and ways hubsters keep connected, particularly:

  • Working groups and other transition international projects: there are several thematic working groups, permanent and nonpermanent, and international projects (REconomy, Inner, 1YT).
  • Regional and other networks: in the last couple of years, there is an interest in connecting hubs in networks, in another layer of scale – that is the case of the Latin-American Hubs, the francophone Hubs and the Nordic Hubs. Rather than permanent working structures, they are still experimenting non formal collaboration and connection.

Most of the members of the Transition Network staff work closely together with hubsters, giving support to the evolving network, performing different roles and tasks.

Governance

The Hubs Circle and Working Groups make decisions by consent within circles, using sociocratic way. However, the governance is not a strict sociocracy, and other tools can be used (for instance: open space, holacracy…) if needed.

National and Regional Hubs

Groups and organisations form at various levels of scale to catalyse and support Transition. At the global level there is Transition Network, at the local level there are the core teams of local initiatives and in between them are the National and Regional Hubs.  Click here to find your national hub.

How do you become a hub?

    • Here’s a list [link] of all the Hubs across the world.
    • Hubs form in lots of different ways and at different levels of scale. They can be at a national level, a regional level and a supra-national level.
      • National – sometimes there’s a pre-existing organisation with very similar outlook and values that engages with Transition Network to explore how they might take on responsibility for catalysing and supporting Transition in their area. Other times, an individual from one of the Transition Initiatives in a country sees the need for an organisation at a larger level of scale to help coordinate activities and communication, and steps up to gather other like-minded people to try and create that organisation. Some hubs are highly organised and some are more fluid. Some have secured solid funding to support their operation. Most, however, are run by volunteers on very little resources. Either way, the people who step up to run Hubs are wonderful, committed and crucial to how the Transition Movement operates and develops.
      • Regional – typically will engage with their National Hub as they develop. Regional Hubs, being at smaller levels of scale, typically have very close ties to the Transition Initiatives in their area
      • Supra-national – we’ve seen a couple of these begin to form. They have involved existing National Hubs getting together to establish a capacity to coordinate at this very broad level of scale. The Latin America Hub and the coordinations across the Baltic Hubs are examples of this. There have also been looser collaborations at this level of scale. The joint events for Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia are examples of this.
      • In each of these, the people who step up to run Hubs are wonderful, highly committed individuals, crucial to how the Transition Movement operates and evolves.
    • Very early on in their formation, National and Supra-national Hubs will engage with Transition Network to talk about the responsibilities and relationships that come with this particular role. The discussion will explore values, capacities, legitimacy, culture and experience to make sure that the embryonic Hub has the right building blocks to eventually become capable of stewarding Transition in their country or region
    • Hubs have a special relationship with each other and with Transition Network, and together we have formed a circle with strong emotional and professional ties and a culture of mutual support and experimentation.
    • A fascinating piece of work is going on within the Hubs and Transition Network to get a better definition of a Hub and its role, and how it gains legitimacy and eligibility to engage in the work of catalysing and supporting Transition in their part of the world.

Why would you contact a hub?

    • The key role that Hubs take on is to catalyse and support Transition in their area. You may want to get in contact with them to:
      • start building a relationship with people who have a lot of knowledge and experience of Transition
      • find out what trainings or events might be available and of interest to you
      • find out where other transition groups might be near you
      • learn more about some of the support materials such as the Health Check
      • share some experiences with them so they can make the learnings available more widely to other Transition groups in your country
      • explore ideas of joint activities to catalyse Transition in your area
      • request speakers to support any events you might be holding
      • register my initiative in the national network so that others can find you

Hubs in action

The first meeting of the Francophone countries took place in Luxemburg in June 2015. … participants came from the Wallonia/Brussels regional Hub (Belgian), France, Luxembourg, Suistzerland, and Canada virtually and TN (Hubs coordinator) 

Raúl Velez of Mexico and Transition Trainer Arturo Ruf Caballero ran a Transition Launch training course in September 2015 in Lima, Peru. 

Collaborating to translate Transition resources

Many hubs identify materials and information that will be useful to Transition groups in their territory and then play a coordinating role in getting them translated.  Often hubs who share a common language will collaborate on this.  Find out more about how we are starting to crowd-source translations work and share translated resources here.

 

More on the translations project

 

Inspiring and supporting each other to transform local economies

Another important area of collaboration for Hubs relates to the work many of them are doing to support positive change in local economies.

 

More on the REconomy Group