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Conference 2012 - Workshops

Transition Network Conference 2012 - Workshops

The outlines for the Transition Network Conference Workshops are listed below. Workshops take place on Saturday during the conference.  Visit the programme page for full details of activities during the conference.

If you need further details about the conference, head over to the main conference information page ›

1st workshop session choices (morning):

#1 - Should we be reshaping Transition for times of austerity with Rob Hopkins, Filipa Pimental, International Coordinator of the Transition National Hubs, and Juan del Rio from the Spanish National Hub

The crisis in the Eurozone has, according to many economists, only just begun. It's impacts, especially in Spain, Greece, Ireland and Italy, are been keenly felt, altering the economic fabric and causing real hardships across society. Transition initiatives are emerging in these countries, but are taking a different approach to Transition, adapting it to suit their situation. As the UK enters a double-dip recession and growth forecasts worsen, what can Transition here and elsewhere learn from the experience of European Transitioners? How does the Transition model and how we communicate it change in a contracting economy?

#2 - How to make happy healthy human culture, and why we sometimes don't, with Sophy Banks of Transition Training

Why have humans made a civilisation like this one? Where the rich take more and more, where violence is seen as unavoidable, where individualism often triumphs over shared values? What are the characteristics of cultures which live from a sense of cooperation, connectedness and respect for all?

In this workshop we’ll use playful activities, small group enquiries and some conceptual teaching, to explore how to make peaceful, pleasurable and productive human culture at all levels of scale – from individuals to organisations to societies. We’ll look at what creates stress in our own lives and groups, and how we respond to it, and what creates that sense of openness and trust where we can be most creative and connected to each other.

Riane Eisler’s work proposed that human culture takes two basic forms, one based on partnership and the other on domination. We will look at the reasons why this may be so, linking ideas from many fields -  inner work such as psychotherapy and group dynamics, recent insights from neuroscience into how our nervous system responds to challenging situations, the politics of power in our culture in issues suchas patriarchy, racism, and class, as well as looking at some key characteristics of human cultures which have lived in a sustained peace for hundreds or thousands of years.

Come to this workshop if you want to – Move about and have some fun with other interesting and enquiring people! -  Give a bit of space to supporting your own personal well-being and sustainability. - Learn a model that brings together inner work with our wider political and social landscape. -   Understand something new about creating sustainable, happy human culture. -   Apply these insights to your transition groups and other relationships.

(This workshop brings new material developed in the last year, and does not include the inner worlds teaching from the Launch training.)

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#3 - Communicating Transition Effectively: 'Going beyond the usual suspects' with Nick Osborne

How we communicate transition is critical- do we fully engage others, challenge, depress, aggravate, shock, switch them off…?

Communication studies show that people interpret messages through the filter of their own ‘lens’; their own way of seeing the world or worldview. So, when we say something, what we mean is not necessarily what other people hear. Or what we think is obviously important, isn’t important to them and it actively switches them off.

This workshop is about how we can present the same messages in different ways so that they are more likely to engage people with different worldviews. Its an expansion of one part of the ‘Beyond a Cuddly Transition’ workshop Nick ran at the 2010 conference. 

We will: -learn about the most common worldviews and associated value-sets, motivational drivers, communication lenses in our culture, -practice identifying different worldviews which people communicate from, -learn how people with different worldviews interpret messages about transition in different ways, -practice translating the same messages about transition into language that resonates and engages people with different world views, -consider how to make use of these insights in your Transition Initiative using a ‘Universal Translator Toolkit’.

#4 - Conflict: Gateway to Community Tools to Practice and Use in Impossible Moments with Sue Milner and Iona Fredenburgh

Conflict is something most of us fear and few of us enjoy. Avoiding it is a privilege some people do not have. We rarely see or experience conflict as the beginning of a creative exchange, or something that can unlock the hidden assets of our diversity in a way which benefits the whole group.

Embracing conflict can be more useful than trying to wish it away. We can't leave conflict skills to one or two designated leaders as conflict can be part of building community in a real and lasting way. For this we all need to learn and practice conflict facilitation skills for our own health and wellbeing, and for the benefit of the group or community as a whole.

This workshop will give a short introduction to such skills, and an opportunity to practice them. As you can imagine, this will be a small taster of a larger topic but will give you a basic tool kit to take away and use.

We will: -introduce the idea of deep democracy: that every part of a group is needed, -show how that works in practice, -recognize our differences of power and work creatively with them, -share skills for facilitating in difficult moments, -practice awareness that transforms how we deal with whatever bugs us.

#5 - Standing Up to Speak, with Paul Birch

The Transition Companion describes public speaking as the chance to present Transition as an extraordinary opportunity to rethink how our communities work.  If you are tasked with “public speaking” in your Transition group, this workshop will help you find your own voice, choose the right stories for your audience, and grow your confidence in telling them. 

Whether you are new to giving talks, or simply want to refresh your style, this workshop will give you a range of tools to work with, including:

- Speaking from your heart, -Speaking from what you know, -Speaking from your centre, -Speaking from “threes”

You will be working with a small group and enjoy a mix of good practice advice, practical exercises, and a surgery style Q&A.  There will also be a chance to look at creative ways of using PowerPoint, and try out the fool proof method for overcoming pre-talk nerves!

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#6 - Good Lives Don't Have to Cost the Earth with Jules Peck, Naresh Giangrande, and Inez Aponte

Is quality of life and a high level of wellbeing 'something nice if possible' or is it really something that is essential? This workshop shows how Transition can deliver not just local food, energy etc, but also increased quality of life.  We will look at how to communicate quality of life that makes sense to anyone and speaks to their real concerns, and why Transition on the ground can deliver superior quality of life to other approaches to Sustainable Development.

You will: -Gain an overview of the use of Professor Manfred Max-Neef's 'barefoot economist' approach to identifying a community's underlying wellbeing hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations through his Human Scale Development process, -Explore examples of this approach having been used to identify two communities' wellbeing needs, -Learn how this approach can be applied to the planning of Transition initiatives to ensure they deliver to a community's underlying wellbeing needs at the same time as building ecological resilience, -Hear of examples of this process having been used to develop a Community Supported Agriculture initiative.

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#7 - Local currencies and how to start your own, with Ben Brangwyn (Totnes Pound), Mark Burton (Bristol Pound), and Simon Woolf (Brixton Pound)

A few days after the Transition Network conference, the Bristol Pound will be launched.  It will be the first city-wide Transition-initiated currency, with many hundreds of businesses signed up and news crews travelling from as far afield as China to tell the story.  What does the Bristol Pound tell us about the state of play of local currencies in the UK today?  We will be hearing from 3 of them, from Ben Brangwyn of the Totnes Pound, where it all started, to the Brixton Pound, which took the idea to a new level, pioneering the 'Pay-by-text' local money system, and from Mark Burton of the Bristol Pound.  This will also be your first chance to see and feel some real Bristol Pounds, and to get a sense of the anticipation that has been created for the UK's largest currency launch for hundreds of years, and the first one to draw the attention of the Bank of England.  All your questions about how to set up one up in your community will be answered.

#8 - Bringing Power to the People: starting your own community renewable energy project. Presented by Chris Rowland of OVESCO, Peter Capener of Bath and West Community Energy, Allan Shepherd, author of "The Home Energy Handbook", and Frank Gordon of Westmill Solar Cooperative. Chaired by Peter Lipman of Transition Network.

Community energy companies are one of the most exciting innovations emerging through Transition initiatives. OVESCO recently raised over £300,000 to set up the UK's first 'community solar power station', and Bath and West Community Energy over £700,000 in their community share option. What are the essential ingredients in planning a community energy company, where to start and where could it all go? This is a workshop where four people who have whatever the energy equivalent of dirt under their fingernails is will share what they have learnt. 

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#9 - Transition and Research, with Tom Henfrey and Michelle Bastian, co-founders and co-ordinators of the Transition Research Network

Transition has so far had a mixed relationship with academic research. Many groups have benefited from working with sympathetic researchers, and some make good use of academic skills among their core members. On the other hand, insensitivity on the part of researchers can create conflict and feelings of resentment, and be a drain on precious time and energy.

Over the past year, the Transition Research Network has become established to help ensure that academic interest in Transition leads to tangible practical benefits for Transition initiatives. Several new research projects, co-designed by academics and Transition Network staff, are underway or being planned. One of these will lead to the development of improved guidelines and protocols for mutually beneficial collaboration between researchers and Transition groups.

This workshop will invite participants to: -see how key projects have progressed and where they are likely to go next, -share experiences and views on research, and ideas for future projects, -identify key ingredients for effective research partnerships, -contribute to the ongoing design of the Transition Research Network.

#10 - One Year in Transition: opening up a learning space for young adults in Transition with Isabel Carlisle, Education Coordinator for Transition Network

This new action learning programme for over-20s is offered for the first time this year by Transition Network. It offers all the community-building skills needed to co-create alife-sustaining future, lasts from October 2012 to July 2013, costs £1000 to join and is designed to fit alongside part-time work while being grounded in gift culture. We are seeking Transition Initiatives that might like to host a young person for 3 or 4 months while they help start a new project or revive a flagging one. We are also looking for skills masters who would welcome a learner to work alongside them for six to twelve weeks.

If this sounds like the kind of experience you wish you had had when you were young, or want to explore what making an offer involves, come and join us as we debate the ins and outs of 1YT. The design process for this new programme has been assisted by a team of young adults aged 17 to 28. Some of them will be present during the workshop to offer their perspectives and answer questions.

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#11 - Introduction to Sourdough Baking with Simon Turner from the Handmade Bakery (limited to 6 participants)

Sourdough baking uses only four ingredients: flour, water,salt and lots of time. Come learn how manipulating these ingredients can resultin radically different tasting breads, and have a hands on (indeed, hands in) experience making loaves to eat with your dinner this evening.

2nd workshop session choices (afternoon):

#1 - The potential of Localism to unlock Transition, with Rob Hopkins, Philip Revell, Dave Chapman, and Frances Northrop

The UK government's localism agenda has, in just two years, completely rewritten how planning works in England and Wales.  In many ways it is a double-edged sword, many of the tools it gives to communities remain untested.  The rights to build, to bid, to challenge, Neighbourhood Planning, all offer organisations focused on intentional localisation and resilience building some powerful tools.  But what are they, and how best to use them?  This workshop will be chaired by Transition Network's Rob Hopkins, and will include Dave Chapman, Head of Social Action at Locality who is one of the leading authorities on localism, Frances Northrop from Transition Town Totnes who will speak about how they are using these powers in Totnes, and Philip Revell from Sustaining Dunbar, who are taking a similarly strategic approach and will talk about how this differs and Scotland and what can be learnt from there. Bring your questions and prepare to be equipped with new tools and insights.

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#2 - Empowering Leadership: Lead yourself, serve your team, with Martin Grimshaw

We can all cultivate healthy leadership qualities, to help us rise to the challenges that face us, to support others in growing to get the job done. Avoid burnout, share responsibility, build trust in your group. We will explore these themes, and look at creating group principles and agreements, and tips to cultivate a self-organising, learning group that is likely to last.... and get the job done.

Come if you: -have ever experienced frustration in a team you've been part of, -ever feel like you're doing too much, and others aren't doing enough, -hold back, lose interest or watch others do so, -have experienced difficulty with perceived power and authority, -think we don't have time to fail.

#3 - How on earth can we get along together? Tools for unlocking the creative resources from our diversity issues, with Iona Fredenburgh and Sue Milner

Even when we have a common purpose, our differences can sometimes be very challenging, and our teamwork harder to manage than we expect. We can feel like outsiders without a voice, overwhelmed by someone else's dominant style, frustrated by others not following our lead or sharing our style, bewildered by other people in conflict - or all sorts of other difficult dynamics that seem to interfere with our shared purpose. 

Diversity is a theme that encompasses many different styles as well as central power issues that can be based on sexual orientation, gender, class or race issues. How can we unlock this diversity within the groups we are part of as a creative resource?

In this workshop we will: -Think about diversity in a multi-dimensional way that goes beyond political correctness, -focus on our inner experiences of diversity as well as our relationship and communication with each other, -Explore 'deep democracy' in practice: the idea that every voice and every style is somehow a needed part of the whole, -Discover how the solutions we need are embedded in the problems we wrestle with.

#4 - An Introduction to the Transition Thrive Training, with Naresh Giangrande of Transition Training

This workshop will introduce you to the 2 day Transition Network Thrive advanced training which will help you sustain momentum both in your Transition Initiative and also at a personal level. It's packed with ideas and inspiration to help you take stock and move your Transition Initiative to the next level. We expect participants to come with questions, problems, and issues that have arisen in their Transition Initiative and help them develop a workable action plan they can take back to your community.

Some of the topics explored are: -What is going well and how can we do more of it (using the “dog-nostic” tool), -Personal resilience and how to avoid burn-out, -Money, Money, Money...Funding and how to get more of it, -Social enterprise and how to establish a strong local economy, -Communication and how can we get better at it (within our groups and the larger community).

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#5 - Mentoring for Transition with Lindsey Stewart and Suzanne Dennis

Have you ever felt the potential to be overwhelmed, that the pace of what you need to do is unsustainable, or felt stuck in conflict with others?...and felt the need for a confidential supportive space to sort things out without being judged? In this workshop we will explore what a Transition mentoring scheme can offer as one way of resourcing ourselves.

You will: -Explore what emotional support people in transition need to strengthen personal resilience, -We will ask what the particular challenges of being in transition are, -Discover one way we can promote personal resilience in our community by setting up a mentoring scheme, -Discover what mentoring is-is it counselling/coaching/supervision, -Learn what is involved in setting up a scheme, -How to recruit mentors and encourage people active in transition to use them.

#6 - Learning from Social Innovators with Junior Smart, Lily Lapenna, and Ken Banks

As Transition spreads, and increasingly seeks to create new local economies from the ground up, it increasingly learns from and sits alongside social entrepreneurs and innovators. This workshop bring ideas from outside Transition but which show how broad and deep the concept of being a social innovator can run. We have Lily Lapena, who founded MyBnk, an award-winning organisation that works with young people teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship at the school level. We have Ken Banks, whose organisation Kiwanji works in the developing world showing how mobile phone technology can be used to revolutionise how people can access healthcare, how farmers can reach local markets and so on. And we have Junior Smart, who runs the SOS Project at the St. Giles Trust in London, transforming the way people leaving prison are supported, dramatically cutting reoffending and creating a positive role for exoffenders in their communities. Are three are Ashoka Fellows, a global recognition of the impact and scalability of their work. How did they get started? What have they learnt? How might their initiatives link with their local Transition initiatives. Chaired by Peter Lipman, Chair of Transition Network.

#7 - Is Peak Oil Dead? with Chris Vernon

The spectre of peak oil, along with climate change, has motivated many over the last decade.  In recent years advances in tar sands, oil shale, and 'fracking'. have led some commentators to suggest we were wrong about peak oil.  In this session we shall review peak oil, what has and what hasn't changed, and consider the implications for climate change.

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#8 - What Happens When Transition Says NO? with Joe Ryle, Rose Music, Michaela Richter, Rob McGhee and Holly Tiffen. Chaired by Ben Brangwyn of Transition Network.

Transition has, since its inception, focused on the positive, on bottom-up responses and implementing solutions.  However, some initiatives have found themselves in the position recently of having to, alongside that work, devote some of their energies to campaigning against things they perceive as posing a threat to local resilience and to their local economy.  For Totnes it was a branch of Costa Coffee opening on a high street that already contains 41 independent coffee businesses and for Cowbridge it was the threat of gas fracking in their area.  In Sipson, Transition Heathrow emerged as a community response to stopping the Third Runway at Heathrow Airport.  How did they run their campaigns?  What lessons did they learn from them about engaging local people?  How did they find the balance between promoting positive change and practical projects and running a campaign?  Did their campaigning distract from their core work, or add to it?  Presented by Holly Tiffen from Transition Town Totnes, Michaela Richter from Transition Cowbridge and Joe Ryle and Rose Music from Transition Heathrow. 

#9 - Turning local food initiatives into social enterprises with seasoned local food entrepreneurs Josiah Meldrum of Norwich FarmShare,  Jon Walker of Green Valley Grocer, and Julie Brown of Growing Communities

Julie, Josiah and Jon will talk about their experiences setting up small local food businesses within their Transition Town. Business planning, community support, legal structures, raising finance, and then the reality of moving from the cosy glow of a thinking about a new idea into the white-heat of actually doing it. They'll cover shops, bakeries, small-scale growing, community kitchens and box schemes with stories and pictures and then leave plenty of time for questions. If you want the warts and all story of what has to be done to set up a small business -  this is the workshop for you.

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#10 - Features of the new economy.... and the awakening of the sleeping giants of economic shift change, with Shane Hughes (REconomy Project) and Fiona Ward (REconomy Project)

This workshop embarks on an exploration of socio-economic tipping points. It’s a story of a positive systemic shift visible in the emergent features of the new economy. It’s a glimpse of the sleeping giants hidden within existing projects and enterprises. Climate change is not the sole proprietor of tipping points – we proclaim aloud. Join us and explore the oncoming thresholds and triggers of runaway positive change. The session also serves as a non-traditional introduction to the Transition Network’s REconomy Project. 

Find out more about this workshop - Read and Listen to a preview here ›

#11 - Treasuring Tooting Well-being Walk, with Charles Whitehead, Hilary Jennings, Belinda Sosinowicz, and Alison Royce of Transition Tooting (limited to 13 participants)

Through 2012 Transition Town Tooting is holding a year-long focus on wellbeing. We have been exploring some keys to wellbeing that we know are important in helping us lead happier and more satisfied lives. In May we designed and ran a day-long interactive walk around Tooting to celebrate many of the places that contribute to our happiness locally. This was a planned route which participants could join at any point – in total visiting 12 locations over 8 hours. Some people did do the whole walk, some visited just 1 or 2 places.   At each of chosen places, there was an experiential activity appropriate to the venue and to one of our keys to wellbeing.

On Saturday 15th during the second workshop session staring at 4:30 pm we’ll offer a sample of Treasuring Tooting: firstly offering participants a good experience of exploring local wellbeing, and secondly sharing what we did in May, how we framed and facilitated it, and what we learned. We’ll visit several places in Tooting; explore TTT’s keys to wellbeing, discuss how participants can develop a walk for their own situation…and finish with a South Asian meal before returning to the conference for the 8pm session.

Here is a link to a fuller description of the longer May walk: Our 8 minute video of the May walk is at

#12 - Bake Off with Simon Turner of the Handmade Bakery (continuation of the morning baking workshop)

Loaves made by morning participants to be baked, alongside an account of the Handmade Bakery’s journey from two loaves at a time to 1,600loaves and 350 pastries a week – all supported solely by the local community.

 Keep checking back for more information as workshops are confirmed. 


Find out more about other events before and after the main conference: