Posted by: Mike Grenville | 11 November 2008

World Transition Training Tour

It’s only a year since we ran the first Training for Transition in Totnes in the front room of the office. Now we are embarking on our most ambitious project yet, to bring the training to other parts of the world.

Sophy and I are traveling for the next four months giving talks, delivering trainings, meeting with people doing amazing things, and training others to deliver this training in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and probably China. And no we aren’t cycling or rowing or going by airship (sorry George Monbiot). We thought long and hard about the pros and cons and what swung us behind the idea was that many were coming from all over the world to do the training it made sense to us to have two of us travel rather than hundreds coming to the UK. I couldn’t swear that January in New Zealand didn’t enter at all into our thinking.

Paradigm or Principles?

It was and is a hard decision as many of us in transition know, to live in the existing paradigm or live by your principles. How do the two meet and how to live with integrity? The enthusiastic response from all over the world has added to our conviction that we are doing the right thing.

The trainings is a mix of the practical, theoretical, and the experiential. What confronted us when we sat down to design this two day fundamentals workshop in transition was how to you train someone to do something when you don’t know what it is your are actually training people to do. Training someone to be a doctor or a mechanic or an accountant, we know what each of these professions do there are clear competencies that they would have to know to be good at their profession. However with Transition, the field is so wide, just about anything can be included, and no one knows what a Transitioned Town looks like because nowhere has yet transitioned from an advanced industrial society into something sustainable.

Weaving Dreams

So how do you train someone to do something that is unknown and unknowable? Our formulation is to create a weaving. We weave together the inner and the outer, the personal with the social and the political. We weave together the theoretical with the practical, and information with experiential. We have designed the course to provide both a broadening and deepening for those who attend. To broaden people’s understanding of the times we live in and the conceptual thinking that underpins transition, and to deepen people into their own dreams and experience, reflecting the profound nature of the work.

We are bringing something tangible and intangible to other parts of the world, and most obviously we are bringing hope. I guess the message you are not alone is what we bring, along with the ideas, thoughts, and practice of all those who are embarking on this path of hope and inspiration. We are all inspiring each other, and certainly I am inspired by all that I see happening, all that participants bring with them on the many trainings we have facilitated.

Creating Hope

Some of the feedback we have received from the training is of the richness of the meetings that happen with other participants – for many a relief from the sense of isolation they reside in during their regular jobs, with family or friends who don’t share their worldview. I was talking to a journalist from the Times this morning who commented on how Transition Towns created hope in people who feel the futility of doing things on their own.

We think of our tour as acting like the bumblebees in Open Space – bringing ideas from one place and learning as they go, cross-fertilising evolving projects and discussions. Our intention is to bring the combined wisdom and practice of the Transition field to other parts of the world, and carry with us the ideas and wisdom of those who we are meeting and training. It feels an immensely satisfying and privileged role in these extraordinary times.

Sophy Banks and Naresh Giangrande

Training Schedule 2008/09

Training Schedule 2008/09

Training Schedule 2008/09



  1. Hi both

    Just read an article in The Times entitled So Happy Together (in the wake of the BBC report on UK loneliness levels) so was very interested to hear you comment on the sense of hope TT gives people. I’m studying for an MSc in Sustainable Development and, as TT hits the cities, would like to see more done in respect of the inclusion/diversity opportunity that TT, in fact, offers harder to reach groups, yet may be failing to reach.

    Looking at the BBC news report on loneliness in the UK and the subseqent report, ‘Happiness Rubs off on You’, perhaps TT should be looking at ways in which to reach these isolated people… of all nationalities and faiths, not just the usual white middle class! I don’t think the language ‘Great Unleashing’ for example works in an inner city environment as many won’t understand what this means so won’t come along to such a meeting. Nor, perhaps, might they be inclined to do public meetings full of people from only one ethnic background… So, let’s think more about outreach… But perhaps you already are?

    All the best with the trip – it sound fab.

    Best wishes
    Katy Hill

  2. Just finished Sophy’s and Naresh’s Traing for Transition workshop in San Francisco. Really good!

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