Meet your 2017 Guest Editors!
By Ainslie Beattie 20th June 2017 Culture & Society
Hello from the Comms Team at Transition Network. You all know by now that Rob is away on sabbatical writing a new book about Imagination. We felt it was the perfect time to build on our community of ideas from both inside and outside the network- of topics, happenings, and thoughts that are swirling around in these interesting, often tumultuous and sometimes frustrating times. You may remember that we put a call out a few months ago for Guest Editors and artists who would like to share their ideas with you. In the end, we had over 100 fantastic applications and it was quite a real honour and a challenge to pick the top 12.
There are 4 people or groups that will be sharing one post a month for 6 months and there are 8 people or groups that will be sharing all their 6 posts over a one month period. These editors are from all over the world, sharing a whole range of interesting and diverse thinking, stories and art.
We really hope you take the time to participate in these upcoming posts and do need to ask something of you along the way. The very best way to increase conversation, share stories and widen our thinking is to participate. We are therefore asking that you participate by commenting and sharing your thoughts after you read, watch or look. Please tell us what inspires you or troubles you or keeps you up at night. Tell us what has been triggered by your participation in our Guest Editor posts, and of course, if you feel inspired by these stories, please share them.
Without further ado, welcome to Transition Network’s first 12 Guest Editors.
Our first guest editor is Steph Blom, who, in her own words “works with words, old typewriters, and wool on projects focusing on connecting”.
Connecting people with other people’s stories which in turn serves us to connect with ourselves.
Her main interests lie in the combination of psychology and conceptual social art, with a focus on the humanity in us humans.
Her work started in Buenos Aires with the project ‘Mujeres en círculo’: a combination of written words and woolwork expressing connections between women. It then continued with ‘Más que setenta’: a project focused on the elderly generation of women and their thoughts about life and death. For Transition Network she will continue on this road and will explore the theme of ‘Connecting with (your inner wise) Women’.
She is trained as a researcher in psychology, studying art therapy, and always with social art projects in her mind. She is Barcelona based at the moment therefore her work is often in Spanish and English.
Raquel Ribeiro and Daniel Pinheiro (6 Months starting July)
We are delighted to have Raquel and Daniel join us from Transition Portugal.
In their own words – “We are a couple, Daniel and Raquel. After a decade of enterprise work, we are redesigning our life project for a simpler and healthier lifestyle, more close to the nature and ourselves. So, we are a couple in transition 🙂
We now work remotely for an online advertising portal specialised in lands that cry for regeneration. Being involved with the Portuguese Transition movement, and being facilitators for foreigners who want to start living a sustainable life on the land in Portugal, we help them to connect and integrate with Portuguese sustainable initiatives. So give impulses for the Transition vitality to flow more smoothly local-national-international, and between movements in Portugal”
Raquel and Daniel will be one of our 6-month editors and will help us to understand better the migration phenomenon around the world, the impacts on the local communities and on expats lives. They hope to find and share communities with good practices of integration, to improve themselves in their work, to promote network between expats and the local communities, and hopefully to inspire other projects around the world.
Kate Duva (August)
Kate Duva, aka Kate O’Rourke, is a novelist, performer and poet, as well as a mama, developmental therapist and intergenerational community educator who uses dialogue, popular education, serious play, and creative arts to bring together society’s unsung peacemakers to pool their collective wisdom and power. She is a certified Caring Economy Advocate and an activist working at intersections of caregiver justice, education justice, racial and gender justice in the wonderful and wildly corrupt metropolis of Chicago, Illinois. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, most recently on the MomsRising blog for her essay Domestic Workers Save Lives, and in 2016 she won the Chicago Bughouse Square soapbox championship for her speech Power to the People Who Care: A Warrior Mama’s Manifesto. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out www.prosocialpower.org.
Kate will be writing for us on Prosocial Power: Interdependence Across Generations.
She poses the question “Do we create security with more cops, prisons, and surveillance – or with more resources for the millions of caregivers, teachers, and mentors who are already experts at keeping us healthy and safe?” She’ll be reporting on everyday superheroes who keep other people alive, as well as multigenerational groups who organize around principles of collectivism and sustainability, piecing together 21st-century villages of mutual aid and support.
Wangũi Kamonji (6 Months starting August)
From Kenya we have Wangũi Kamonji, a researcher, storyteller, dancer, community builder, teacher and learner. “I am fascinated by design, traditions, urban issues and their rural sources, communities’ responses to environmental issues, and food (and other forms of) sovereignty. I write the blog fromtheroots.co.ke where I report on my findings from countries around the world including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, India, Italy and Vietnam. In particular I explore how we can regenerate and revive the knowledge, education, economics, relationships, and environments to create a new just world”.
While blogging for Transition, Wangũi will explore African environmentalism and African environmentalists in order to expand the face of who is considered an environmentalist in this large diverse continent, and which issues of concern exist besides the mildly stereotypical trees and wildlife. She will consider the place of the environmental consciousness from the viewpoint of some African environmentalists, their journeys, challenges, and triumphs.
The Eroles Project (September)
We are thrilled to have the Eroles Project contributing as a group. They have submitted the following:
Eroles Project works to create the conditions for personal and political change towards a sustainable and equitable world, through building an active community of changemakers, designing projects and hosting residencies. These annual residencies set amidst the mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees provide the context for rich dialogue and inner transition, enforced by creativity, community living and the design of a collective project.
During and after the residencies, our active community support one another to dare to step into making the changes we feel are needed; to have the courage to be response-able to the world around us. With an emphasis on community, complexity and action learning, we design projects with our core values at the heart – focused on inner learning for outer action. Our previous years’ themes Climate Justice and Borders led to a community hub of artists and activists in Paris – reimagining activism alongside COP21, and now Regeneration Project: Granada – regenerating lives and land in a village in Southern Spain. Supported by a core team of four – Mona, Ally, Ruth and Maria, we are a growing collective of people with diverse backgrounds and interests.
Our contribution to the Transition Network blog will be to bring alive the topic of Democracy; exploring the question of how to “be” political. Following this year’s residency, the blog will explore what is meant by the political realm, share emerging forms of political and social practices taking root around the world and seed reflection on how we can each step up to act.
Ruth Cross (October)
Ruth Cross is a facilitator, artist, project designer and changemaker with a background in choreography and theatre arts. She founded Cross Collaborations in 2009, a collective of makers dedicated to social and ecological activism and spent her early twenties making immersive and site specific performance and organising arts festivals. Ruth is now using creative tools to support transition within diverse communities. For example with Regeneration Project Granada a group of refugees, changemakers and local people working to create dignified regenerative livelihoods in Spain where she lives. Ruth is co-founder of Eroles Project, who run international residencies for changemakers (Note that Eroles Project is also one of our separate Guest Editor projects).
In September 2012 Ruth was invited to attend the International Transition Network Conference in London to host her letter project Post Present Future. During this event 34 people from Transition Towns around the world wrote a letter to their future self, capturing dreams and challenges of living a life in transition. This September 2017, exactly five years on, Ruth will be collaborating with filmmakers to make FIVE YEARS a film which shows these 34 people reading their letter and reflecting on their journey over the last five years. Ruth’s blogs will share the process of making this film and offer a global sense of transition today.
Helene Oakley (October)
Helene Oakley will be writing in October, on the theme of “Transition from the edge and in-between”, looking at the issues of gender, sexuality and diversity as part of the debate on how we move towards a more eco-centric, equitable and regenerative world.
In her own words “Growing up a deep thinker and feeler, I started out with a degree in Theology and went from university to work in the environmental field, first at CAT in Wales, Europe’s oldest eco-centre. There, many of my highfalutin philosophical ideas – like how we can speak of unspeakable things – were brought to ground in the context of climate change awareness and response – a still virtually unspeakable thing at the time. In the process, I realised my interests were really about how we do authentic human relationship, with each other and with the world, and subsequently, this led me on a journey to the edges and in-between spaces of myself. It’s from here that I’ll be curating the Transition Network blog, with a deep appreciation and enthusiasm for the margins and lacunas as they appear in our personal and social worlds, and what they might mean for us as we transition beyond the current consequences of our global power systems.”
Shunro Yoshida and Transition Japan (6 months from October)
From Japan, we have Shunro Yoshida, who poses the question: “What has changed within ourselves and the local community doing Transition Town in Japan after a natural disaster?”
Born in 1960, Shunro was brought up in the United States and Japan. After completing a Permaculture course, Shunro sought ways to use his energy to impact the earth and change towards sustainability. He started Transition after working for a US medical equipment company in 2008, when he visited Findhorn, in Scotland and met Rob Hopkins and Joana Macy at a Positive Energy Conference. This movement was just what he was looking for – acting local and trying to move society towards becoming sustainable. Shunro started a Transition Initiative in Hayama and then moved to Minami-Aso, where he is now living in a self-efficient lifestyle, producing food and energy.
Following the combined natural and man-made disasters of the Tohoku Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear plant explosion, many people were forced to rethink their lifestyle and beliefs, with many moving from lost homes and contaminated places. The Transition movement is so important in Japan as a way to show what is possible.
Shunro will be asking local Transition initiatives to tell stories about what has changed for themselves and what impact they have had in the community.” It’s not about what you can see, it is what you feel and the atmosphere of the place and the happiness of the people in the community. It’s really interesting to seek inside what Transition movement has brought in these nine years”.
Kevin Buckland (6 months from October)
Kevin Buckland is a Barcelona-based artivist, storyteller, facilitator and organizer who engages art as a tool for enabling change. He has spent the last decade devoted to using art and creativity to organize towards climate justice. From journeys in paper-mache boats to mass-mobilizations, he believes creativity is a crucial ingredient for opening space to allow alternative futures to emerge and encourages the use of imagination to co-create alternative visions of the possible. He works both through supporting activists in more successfully engaging with artists, and supporting artists in being more strategic with their social engagement – Currently, he is focusing more deeply on the intersection of water and climate justice. As a writer he has self-published “Breathing Gezi”, a first-hand account of the Gezi Park occupation, and published numerous blog-posts and essays with 350.org, redpepper.org.uk
Jenny Goodman and Bid Cousins (November)
Jenny Goodman and Bid Cousins are members of The Natural Voice Network – an organisation of singing leaders who are committed to the principle that singing is part of being human.
To express yourself both individually and communally through your melodic voice is instinctive and innate
From that flows an open access approach where everyone is welcome to our groups regardless of previous experience – we teach entirely by ear using acapella harmony songs from a range of world, folk and contemporary traditions and our own arrangements. We believe that voices singing in harmony together have an unbeatable feel good factor, builds individual self-confidence and well-being, AND binds communities together. We combine many years of leading singing groups, choirs and projects across the UK and internationally – working in a range of settings and with a wide range of groups.
We are also experienced performers and song-writers. Jenny currently sings and writes with acapella duo The Blameless Hussies and
acoustic/roots band – Jenny and the Goodmen as well as writing for her community singing groups – her most recent writing project is working with children at a local school using their words and ideas to write a new song celebrating their community. Bid is a musician and singer playing Celtic harp fiddle and viola. She has worked with community choirs writing and singing music celebrating the land and history. Her current composition project is a suite of music for Celtic harp inspired by North Yorkshire.
Gergõ Benedek (December)
From Hungary, we are joined by Gergõ Benedek, a freelance journalist, blogger, sociologist and permaculturist. “We live in a village, an hours drive away from Budapest, right on the edge of a National Park forest, with my wife Joli, our cat Miri, and our dwarf rabbit Mózes”.
Gergõ has been working on a lot of things related to text – articles for magazines, I’ve been responsible for the PR of rural development EU funds, I’ve been a copywriter and social media expert at an ad agency, and been a Language Tester for a big video game corporation.
Georgõ tells us “Three years ago I quit my career, left the city for the forest, and started freelancing. Now I’m trying to balance my creative work with a self-sustaining lifestyle, and I’m always looking for opportunities to use my communication talents in the service of eco-friendly causes. I’m particularly interested in ecovillages, renewable energy, local food systems and the sharing economy. I love mountain biking in nature and I’m an avid gamer. Right now I’m mostly working as a professional blogger in content marketing projects, teach English for local students, and I’m a volunteer organiser of the very first Hungarian Permaculture Design Course due this summer.”
Georgõ will be examining the issues around the planned extension of Hungary’s only nuclear power plant, especially in connection with the situation of our local renewable power usage.”
You can connect with Georgõ on Twitter here.
Kate Heath (January)
Kate Heath joins us from the UK, where she will be sharing conversations about climate change. She has worked in the humanitarian field over the last 6 years, in Nepal after the earthquake, in West Africa responding to Ebola, in eastern DRC and most recently supporting the drought response in Ethiopia.
I am now convinced that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC is the most urgent humanitarian issue of our day.
Kate tells us: “I am thus currently reorienting towards helping us collectively achieve a carbon-neutral 21st century. Before specialising in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, I studied Environmental Sciences, but originally come from artistic roots, training firstly as an actor. I am increasingly intrigued by how the arts may help make the complex issue of climate change more tangible and understandable. I tend to make sense of my gnarliest grapplings by writing poems. Whilst I’ve always been passionate about social justice, and have done all sorts of jobs along the way, I’ve been struck by the need to overcome my reticence to speak out and own my own opinion as an individual citizen. I grew up in Norfolk in the UK, and am currently based in Paris where my husband now works. We love the municipal bicycles but are still grieving the discovery that cheese is not a low-carbon food.
I will be producing a poetry-dotted blog exploring the art, science and value of conversing about climate change. This will draw on the joys and blunders of my encounters over the next year, during which I will be declaring my annual emissions on my face: as a means to make the invisible visible and ensure I can no longer procrastinate about taking responsibility for my own footprint and talking with others about why this matters.”
HI Kate, Bid here. This looks brilliant. So looking forward to reading your blog.