Our focus over the next 12 months
By Sarah McAdam 30th April 2021
In this blog, we share information about our focus for the financial year that has just started – April 2021 to March 2022. The ‘we’ in this case is the Hubs Heart circle, the Inner Transition circle, the Municipalities in Transition team, the Training Circle and the Transition Network team
Within Transition Network, and across the teams and circles we work with internationally, we recognise the importance of transparency. Transparency is an essential element of the shared governance model we are developing together and we believe it has transformative potential. As we make visible what roles are being played in our system, what decisions are being made and by whom, what actions are being taken and how resources are allocated, we open up space for people to ask questions, give feedback and raise tensions. We’re noticing how this builds trust and supports accountability and means that our work is better informed and more responsive to the perspectives and needs of the diverse movement we are seeking to support. It also makes it much easier for new people to get involved and for unexpected collaborations to arise.
Our attempts to be transparent are a work in progress – it’s easy to be so busy getting things done that we forget to explain what it is we’re doing and why. But when we take time to make our intentions and ways of working public, we find that the process often helps us to achieve a new level of collective clarity and commitment.
Those of us working together internationally share a vision of a Transition movement in which people working for positive change in any locality and at any level of scale, feel connected to, and supported by, peers all over the world. A movement where people’s experiences, languages, cultures and histories are represented in the resources and learning being shared and in the interventions being co-created. We are seeking to shift away from a position in which experiences in one country or one language have disproportionate weight. Instead we are together supporting the emergence of an interdependent ecosystem of change makers, a resilient web of diverse people, groups, perspectives, stories and activities, which is visible, accessible and well connected beyond our movement.
Over the past six months, Transition Network and the Hubs Group have been supporting Transitioners to participate in a collective evaluation of the impact, relevance and potential of the Transition movement. You can find out more here about the questions we’ve been exploring and the themes which have been emerging.
In the coming year, our aim is to move through reflection to the co-design, resourcing and implementation of strategic interventions which respond to this time of accelerating and interconnected crises.
We want to do this by:
- Connecting, deepening and sharing reflections about the role and response of the Transition movement at a time of accelerating and interconnected crises.
- Actively exploring the Transition movement’s relationship with social justice.
- Consolidating and sharing learning about the transformative potential of:
- regenerative leadership and distributed governance;
- collaboration between top down and bottom up approaches, particularly at the municipal scale;
- integrating inner and outer change;
- processes which support collaboration across difference, de-polarisation and conflict resilience; and living systems approaches.
- Identifying and co-designing strategic interventions at the international scale.
- Developing and testing a prototype Transition platform or set of tools, aligned with our values.
One of our long-term funders has generously offered us a grant to cover our basic needs as we do this work. In previous years, Transition Network made decisions about how to allocate such grants across the different teams and groups working at an international scale. But our experiments with distributed governance have now created the structures, capacity, relationships and skills which enable us to make an important shift.
In 2021, we have agreed that responsibility for allocating money across the Transition Hubs Group domain will transfer to the Hubs Heart Circle. This is a space where the Hubs Group, Inner Transition Circle, Municipalities in Transition team; Training for Transition Circle, Transition Network and other key roles hold equivalent power and can together identify synergies, resolve tensions, and connect and balance the co-operative cultures that each individual circle is developing. We’re still finding out how to make these processes work well across different contexts and time zones, but we’re very excited about learning and modelling approaches which we believe can bring benefits across and beyond the Transition movement.
We have come to think of 2021/22 as a bridging year. A time for us to make connections between the questions and possibilities that are arising across our movement and identify where we want to place collective energy and attention at the international level of scale. As we find key projects or areas of focus where we see a need and capacity for international collaboration, we will bring the appropriate roles together to develop and start implementing proposals. We also plan to become more proactive and more coordinated in our efforts to build strategic funding relationships and attract resources into the movement. As part of this, we will be trialling transparent and participatory budget and funding mechanisms such as Open Collective.
We have identified a clear need and potential for innovative technology, aligned with our values, to support peer to peer collaboration, make structures, projects and activities more visible and accessible and help power, ideas and resources flow more dynamically across our movement. We have embarked on a project to define our collective needs and priorities, assess available virtual platforms and other online collaboration tools, agree on the technical solution that we want to experiment with and launch a prototype online community. While identifying appropriate, ethically-aligned and future-proofed technology is important, we are just as focused on how to nurture a healthy and inclusive culture of co-responsibility, mutual support and meaningful engagement.
The Transition Network team came together earlier in 2021 to agree how we would contribute to this bridging year. We publish our specific areas of focus to make clear to potential collaborators where our energy and attention will be concentrated in the coming months. Working with others, the Transition Network team will:
- Support deep exploration of the tensions and possibilities arising from the evaluation process, including active exploration of the Transition movement’s relationship with social justice;
- Increase the impact and visibility of distributed governance across our international network, testing resilience and effectiveness as we go;
- Find diverse ways to attract resources into the movement, building capacity across different circles, geographies and levels of scale;
- Support the activation of a virtual collaboration platform for Transitioners working at the international level of scale;
- Identify and make visible the purpose and role/s that TN will seek to fulfil in the next phase of our development, to include separating, and facilitating good governance for, project/s or hub/s in England & Wales;
- Weave and share narratives around the impact of our movement and the transformative potential of core Transition practices.
We set off across this bridge to the future with as many questions as answers, but with a strong sense that the values, skills, practices, ideas and experiences alive within the Transition movement will be much needed in the times ahead. Together we will be exploring how to increase the reach and impact of our work and how to continue to build our ability to respond in healthy and creative ways to the accelerating and interconnected crises that we are living through.
We welcome any questions, comments and suggestions here on the website or via social media.
This is a wonderful sharing Sarah. As a member of Heart Circle, I want to say that it has been a great experience to participate in this very special moment of the movement. It gives me a certainty that we are now living in the most beautiful world that we know possible, as Charles would say.