Reflections from the first Spanish Transition Conference
By Filipa Pimentel 25th May 2012
Juan del Río shares with us some reflections from the recent first Spanish Transition Conference –
“Already a month has passed a month since the first Spanish Transition Conference took place in Zarzalejo, Madrid. An incredible experiment that has given energy to the movement in Spain and has catalysed the process of creation for the Spanish hub and network. Many reflections, feedbacks, articles, etc. have appeared since then, and I want to take the opportunity to show you two of them.
The first is the video from the conference. A great video made by Emilio Mula that even though it has not English subtitles yet I hope you will enjoy.
The second is the article below from Vanessa Sancho from www.transicionsostenible.com. An article originally written in Spanish, which shows how exciting the experience was.”
More resources from the event can be found here:– Juan del Río
It’s Thursday, April 19th. A yellow van, as the tractor (a reference to a 90s Spanish summer song), drives along the road to Zarzalejo (Madrid), crossing Spain from the Mediterranean sea. Seven thrilled people seat inside, plenty of concerns, dreams and hopes for the days to come.
Dawn arrives on the 20th. Home at last, though our journey it’s a pilgrimage that never ends. A small hostel, smelling funny. Raindrops soaken the granite rocks surrounding us. We’re waiting for 90 transitioners the less, coming from all over Spain, and beyond (finally, more than 150 people showed up).
Organization self-organises itself (though sometimes collapses, after all we are complex systems and chaos always has its part), choosing places, preparing corners for the sharing of visions, cleaning,… first Zarzalejo en Transición volunteers arrive! They come with sound systems, bread, plants, smiles; seems like an offering, a party. So be it. Nevertheless, it’s what we’re going to live, in a deep and intense weekend: lots of work to do, thought, creation, and weaving with it deep play, dancing, plenty of food, joyfulness.
Slowly, Valladolid’s people show up. Jerez. Argelaguer. Menorca. Coín. La Palma. Aranjuez. Valencia. Guadalajara… islands and — intertwinning together, drawing a mesh sheltered (or maybe that’s the web who’s going to shelter, outside like inside) at a hostel bathed in shy sunrays as the day goes by. Hanging by our necks, a simple wooden circle, as the pilgrim’s shell, remembering all of us our connection with nature.
Ready, steady, go! However, actually, we began with that first step crossing our threshold. In here, we begin greeting each other, talking about the agenda, logistic questions, asking for the collaboration of all of us. This conference will only be a reality in cooperation.
But we received our first welcome from two women smiling at the entrance, and we’ll greet each other again outside, moving around the hostel outdoors, recognizing it and acknowledging us, finding each other, making eye contact, speaking about what are we doing here, which are our expectations these days, who we are, where we came from …hoping we can build together where do we go from here.
People from several initiatives presented them, explained what they have done, their visions, their difficulties. It’s a first tasting, a hors d’oeuvre, within the hours more issues will be put at stake. Posters contribute to further decorate the room, that space that seemed so soulless early on, and that will gain in brightness exponentially. We got fully in there pairing and sharing different aspects of transition.
Emilio Mula, from Transition Town Totnes, one of the filmmakers of In Transition 2.0, offers us the official premiere of the documentary subtitled in Spanish, after a wondrous geographically diverse, shared and richly flavored dinner. It was an honor and a pleasure to share the viewing with him.
Saturday morning is full of simultaneous workshops, provided by Logrono, Santiago, Jerez, Valencia, Zarzalejo and Gaia Tasiri association, and the beginning of the meetings aimed at building and formalizing the Spanish Transition network. But part of the fatigue begins to be felt, and some of us miss the debate on the situation of the transition movement in Spain (and even lunch!), And all the voices of the Libero choir encourage us to rise again, energies recharged. Yes, we have been told there were many fish in the fishbowl …
And we’re back with a good reason, because we will have Filipa Pimentel with us, our Portuguese and currently based in Brussels, international coordinator of the Transition network of national hubs. In other words, she’s the responsible for providing support to national networks of transition initiatives. She tells us about experiences of Portugal’s network, about her decision to join and contribute to the Transition Network this way, but above all she offers herself, granting us her smile and openly love over two days.
After being with her, we give way to an Open Space session, to help find answers to the question of what needs the Spanish initiatives do have that a network could help to supply. Issues and groups are generated spontaneously, people can move freely from one to another. We chose to be butterflies and observe. Many proposals arise … We will use this work the next day as a starting point for the group that decides to participate in building the network.
The singer Rocío Madreselva, the drums of Tambores con corazón, and Rogelio with his guitar, put the icing on a cake in a day’s full agenda. Celebration is also a must, and the music and rhythms make us vibrate, beat …and dance!
Sunday: there is little left now. The latest round of workshops. Group shots, and photos for a crowd-funding campaign aimed at the Spanish translation of The Transition Companion. Over there, good people enjoying Biodance, inside the projection of the film Voices of Transition, and by the side, a not so small group gets together and commit to working for the Spanish national network. Little time and so much work to do, teams are generated to begin with the virtual network, and we date us again in two months time, having shared and discussed the experience with the respective local nodes, in order to continue weaving a network that is as vivid and bright as droplets reflecting light in a cobweb.
The hostel has become a welcoming, fun, delightful place. We change ourselves and our environment changes in return.
A late lunch. Gathering up our belongings, cleaning the space. Lots of hugs. Promises of mutual visits. And the way back. Reviewing the photos and recalling the moments lived.
More than a week has passed since goodbye time. After the emotional letdown that comes after, it’s time to give thanks.
The food, spectacular (I am not really into rice pudding but that was soooo good…). Zarzalejo’s women, men and children, were charming, ready to do anything needed, and without their involvement and love the conference as we have experienced it would not have been possible. The organization, Juan, Emilio, Susana, Javier and Antonio, for their time and energy and passion that overturned the idea and converted it in a reality, ubiquitous, immanent and transcendent at once. To Filipa, for being herself and for being there with us. To all the people who, individually or on behalf of their local initiatives, work in a daily basis to be the change, and to whom, during those days, planted even more seeds to make it happen. One can only wish for light and water and fertile soil. Rafa, Joan, Toni, Mathieu, Joseph, Stephan, Aniol, Tomás, Andrea and Loli, Paco, Pepe, Edurne, Judith and David, Cristina, Jorge, Paco Heras and María Sintes, Alejo, Raúl, Javier, Susana, Cecilia, Miguel, Lucia, …
I cannot remember all of the names. And you can never talk to everybody as much as you wish.
However, everyone, thank you. Also thanks to all the people who couldn’t get close physically, but who were there with their hearts nevertheless.
Lots of graphic material generated, shared ideas, information, political and mental maps, photographs, videos, audios … are being collected and shared on different channels.
Obviously, nothing ends here. Road goes ever on.
*original article: http://www.transicionsostenible.com/en-los-bordes-del-i-encuentro-iberico-de-transicion.htm
Also, you can read a round up and some voices from the conference over on Transition Culture.