Dreaming of Transition

It’s been a busy week. I spent a couple of days mid-week last week in Oxfordshire at Braziers Park. Transition Network were running a “Dreaming Circle” that drew together facilitators from across the UK and further (Norway, Germany). The common bond? Wanting to support transition initiatives in creating good group process.

Like so many other networks, a few years in, some transition groups are struggling. And group process has been identified as one of the major reasons why initiatives are crumbling, and in some cases collapsing.

With such a diversity of facilitators in one space it was always going to be interesting, exciting and challenging in equal measure. I’ll post something soon about the way this group interacted and what I learnt from that. But for now I’ll focus on what it was all about and what came out of it.

The first day was spent getting to know each other, sharing our understanding of the symptoms and needs of struggling transition groups and talking about what we could bring to the network.

Day 2 was more practical – we used a variation of Open Space to set an agenda which was a mix of facilitators sharing their ‘trademark’ ideas and techniques and some practical planning around the type of support that we could offer transition groups and how it could be delivered.

The support topics that were proposed included sustaining involvement, effective meetings, choosing an appropriate organisational structure, starting an initiative and conflict resolution. A very long list of ways of delivering support was created, with quite a lot of energy around using humour, animation, video and cartoons to demonstrate some of the pitfalls of groupwork in an accessible way.

There was also talk of how to support individuals who want better process for their whole group to access support and then be effective changemakers within their group. This was a thread of conversation I initiated, so I’ll put down some thoughts on this blog soon.

Sadly I had to leave a day earlier than planned, so missed Day 3. But I understand that a working groups was formed to take the practical task of planning and delivering support further. Everyone was invited to sign up to both the support and the delivery mechanisms that most interested them.

Why the small ‘t’?

Whether we were together to support Transition initiatives (ie formally affiliated to the Transition Network) or any initiative doing the work of transition was a contentious issue. It wasn’t resolved whilst I was there. For the sake of inclusion I’m opting for language that allows for the latter. I know that here at Rhizome we’d be willing to support either.