An update about our collective reflection on the impact, relevance and potential of the Transition movement.
When we launched our evaluation process at the end of October we didn’t know what to expect. Would anyone have the energy or time to respond to our questions in the middle of a global pandemic? Would we be able to connect with Transitioners living in very different places who are focused on what’s needed and possible in their own communities?
Today we’re celebrating that 377 people in 32 countries took time to fill in the Transition movement 2020 evaluation survey. With the support of a fantastic team of Transition translators, we made the survey available in 9 languages, inviting people to tell their stories and express their hopes, fears and dreams for our movement.
We’re only at the beginning of analysing the wealth of information that you have provided. Our intention with this ongoing evaluation process is to keep feeding back publicly about what we’re hearing, inviting further and deeper collective reflection. Last month, we organised online discussion groups, sharing some early themes emerging from the survey as conversation prompts. Here is the document we prepared for those discussions, available in English and Spanish and drawing on survey responses received by 22 November (we’ve had over 100 more since then).
The survey plus feedback from the discussion groups, emails and comments on this website has given us lots of material to sift and analyse so that we can deepen, adjust and add to the 9 themes identified in our initial document. Many of you provided detailed information about specific Transition activities and projects – we intend to draw on the valuable examples, documents and website links you have shared to generate evidence, case studies and stories in 2021. Indeed, we’re interested in whether there are researchers out there who would like to get involved with this process (see Calling researchers below!)
We need time to digest and reflect on what we’ve already heard and the turning of the year is a good opportunity to do just that. As we reflect, we’re holding a few additional questions of our own, including:
- What different expectations of the future exist within the Transition movement and how do these expectations influence a conversation about impact, relevance and potential?
- What are the feelings that underpin and influence the stories, questions and comments that we’ve heard? When and how might it be useful to express and explore these feelings collectively?
- Where are we hearing silence and what is being ignored?
Those who came to the online discussion groups told us that it felt heartwarming and energising to connect with people from other places and explore together what it means to be part of the Transition movement in these uncertain and fast-changing times.
We plan to provide more opportunities for such connections in 2021. We will share feedback about our analysis of the fully set of survey responses and identify different ways that people can help us tease out and better understand the emerging themes. Our aim is for the whole process to be as open and interactive as possible. We hope that some of the questions and issues we highlight might prompt discussions in Transition hubs and Transition groups which can also feed into our collective evaluation process. If you have ideas or questions about any of this, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A moment to celebrate
As we come to the end of what has been an exceptionally hard year for so many people, we invite you to take a moment to celebrate the spirit, values and activities of the Transition movement. Our survey gave us another opportunity to marvel at how many people are putting huge amounts of time, energy and creativity into supporting positive change and building regenerative cultures across the world. We heard from a rich diversity of voices and perspectives while noticing so many things on which we’re aligned. And, as many people have reminded us in their responses, the Transition movement is part of a much broader and even richer ecology of social change. It’s good to let ourselves feel the resilience, solidarity and space available when we connect to that bigger picture.
Here’s a word cloud, generated from responses to the survey question ‘What is the Transition movement really good at, that is needed widely or urgently now, and over the next few years?’ (all responses translated into English).
Are you a Masters or PhD student with an interest in a particular characteristic of the Transition movement or community-led action on sustainability? We have gathered a substantial amount of data and supporting material and want to explore creative and collaborative ways to carry out further analysis and research. If you are interested, contact email@example.com telling us about your field of study, capacity, timescale and needs. Please be aware that we are a small and busy team and may not be able to work with everyone who has something to offer.