With just two weeks to go, I thought I would plug the National Conference on Transition and comment on conferences in general. Ticket options are varied, so you can go for a day, or all three, stay 3 nights or 2 or 1 and so on. The date is July 8th to 11th if you don’t know already.
One way to ‘participate’ is to fill in their survey, so next year will be even better.
I can’t say it is the most exciting survey I have ever completed, but give it a try, we all need to help each other don’t we?
Now on to the main theme, why do we have conferences? Despite high costs, inconvenience and pretty negative feedback from most people about most events, in my experience anyway, they continue to exist with not a lot of change over the years. So now, for example, instead of planned short coffee breaks which went on longer than they should because everyone talked to each other for too long, you now have longer coffee breaks in which the same thing happens.
In preinternet days, one purpose was to learn from experts, but in these days of TED.com and general UTube expert, and of course non-expert knowledge and views can be shared liberally.
Some conferences, using things like Open Space and World Cafe, some processes here, become opportunities to learn from each other, in ways which allow the cross fertilisation of ideas and understanding to build opportunities in novel ways.
Meeting processes seem to be at the heart of the resilience movement, which is a natural part of Transition. From the simplest self Governance of Quaker meetings to the almost totally paralysing processes of Multinational bodies, from the anarchist rioting in Greece to the relatively peaceful self organising committees in Tahrir Square, how we come together, how we confer, how we listen and how we make ourselves known, has existed as an exploration from Greek and Roman times and most probably long before that.
But there is one more very important thing that for me is a must for conferences, and that is to celebrate success. Change, Transition, is never going to be easy, so we need to celebrate. So my suggestion for the National Transition Conference is to spend some time on creating things to celebrate and ways of celebrating.