Held on Sat 13th March at the Friends centre, Brighton, this conference was billed as: ‘Throwing fun and collaboration at Climate Change and Peak Oil – Your unique chance to gather, join, learn, and share tales about the Transition Towns adventure so far in the South East.‘ John Kapp reports:
Previous TT meet-ups in the South East took place in Forest Row in 2007 and Lewes in 2008. Each time increasing in size, this third event attracted over 100 people, with many from Brighton, Lewes, Shoreham, London, and even several visitors from Germany. Ed Mitchell came from Bristol representing the Transition Network. As we entered the hall, we were greeted by a big poster: ‘BE PREPARED TO BE SURPRISED.’
The keynote speeches were kept to a commendably brief half hour. Conference organisers Martin Grimshaw and Ian Lawton invited us to ‘unleash our collective genius,’ Ed spoke of ‘the joy from working with communities’. Thurston Crockett (sustainability officer for Brighton and Hove council) his voice cracking, echoed Satish Kumar: ‘reconnect with what makes you do it,’ and said that the Transition movement has the greatest potential to tackle climate change. This set the tone for the day, which lived up to its promises with active participation and obvious enjoyment on the faces of everyone.
Morning breakout into six groups were led by Elin Lindhagen on ‘Introduction to Transition,’ Ali Cambell on ‘Forum Theatre’, Howard Jones on ‘Energy Service Company model’, Simon Parker on ‘Composting’, Josh Collins on ‘Brixton Pound’, Ali on ‘Consensus decision making’, and Clare Devereaux on ‘Food Mapping’.
From 12 to 2pm we had ‘Open Space’ sessions. Using the breakout rooms, speakers were invited to lead discussions on subjects that they spontaneous billed on the notice board. About 15 did so. Participants were free to dip in and out and bring their lunch from the delicious food served in the kitchen. The rules were:
1. When you stop learning or contributing, you are needed somewhere else.
2. The right people will be there.
3. What happens is the only thing that could happen.
4. When it starts is the right time.
5. When it’s over, it’s over.’
Subjects discussed ranged from ‘Inner Transition’ to ‘Free Complementary therapy on the NHS.’ Afternoon breakouts were: Natasha Munoz on ‘Honouring our Elders’, Peter Brinch on ‘Seeds of Resilience’, Emma Bloom on ‘Wool Spinning’, Pippa Johns on ‘Permaculture’, Hilary James and Lucy Neal on ‘How to do an EDAP in 1.5 hours’, and Mark Skipper on ‘Carbon Conversations.’
Photos of the flip chart notes from the Workshops and Open Space are here:
The day finished with a plenary open space of feedback, a song (Give peas a chance), and thanks to the organisers, and spontaneous billing of future actions and events. We all went away inspired with actions that we can’t wait to get on with.
Join the Transition South East website
Photos: Mike Grenville
And here’s a fantastic video from our friends at Act on C02: