Sunday, 24 May 2009

Sunday 24th May 09 Transition Network Conference (day three)

I was woken by Anna's sweet little girly, at about 8.30, a much more civilised time! Had a quick breakfast and tried to get all my stuff together and set off for the bus with Edward. I'm so glad I've stayed with Edward... we've had some excellent conversations. I'm also really happy to have introduced Anna to Edward, I love being a networker!

Arrived at the Battersea Arts Centre just in time to witness the 'Energising Group Activity' which some of the conference-goers were participating in, and then it was off to the workshops.

I participated in 'Making The Most Of The Media' facilitated by Catriona Ross, who has a lot of experience in dealing with publicity issues, newspapers, representing organisations, and I think is involved in some aspect/s of the Transition Network, although I'm not sure what.

However, the workshop was interesting, starting with a who's who, why were they there and what was their experience of working with the media?

The first 'link' Catriona gave us was to Rob Weston's Groundswell website.. I didn't see the relevance of it until I got onto the computer and found it. Very interesting! Well worth a good long read, probably more interesting than this blog!

Then we talked through what 'News' is, and why do we bother having relationships with the media, and we found out the newspapers and other media that the workshop delegates read, which was over 50% The Guardian. We looked briefly at where 'News' comes from and discussed using agencies and other resources such as the Guardian Media Directory and the Writers and Artists Yearbook.

We looked at some of the reports about traditional media going through its own transition, due to the rise of electronic media and the economic downturn and decreasing advertising revenue. However, we learned that this could also be an opportunity for us!

We undertook a rather hurried exercise which our little group didn't fully understand, but this may have been the speed at which the instructions were delivered. All in all, a really interesting session.

Following a short coffee break was the third 'Open Space' conversation tables time. I chose to go to a table with 'Working with Local Authorities' as it's title, but no-one turned up to host it, so I did, and did some of the 'scribe' work, taking notes on flipchart-sized sheets of paper. About 8 people contributed to this. Then I found another table with the subject of 'Garden Sharing' which was nice to go and listen to; I contributed my experience of having other people with no composting facilities using mine to dispose of their compostables... An excellent chat about EcoSchools and food growing and composting in schools. I decided not to say about the school I'm involved with taking advice from someone saying composting isn't allowed in schools.... after all, this conference is about positive solutions not steps backwards.

This was followed by the closing ceremony, done in a huge circle, with roving microphones allowing some individuals to pass comment, sing, offer thanks and more. I enjoyed this, and whilst the group photo was being taken, gave some pea beans to Alexis the Councillor, and several other people.

Finally, it was lunch, which I spent chatting to Mary Fee from LETSlink UK, very nice to see her and see how she felt about the YorkLETS delay over getting the software. She didn't have a problem with it at all, and respected our desire to do it properly!

I said my goodbyes and walked (with Mary) to Clapham Junction where there was a train very soon to East Croydon. I walked the route I'd memorised from Street View through Croydon and was at Beth's house in about 20 minutes, perhaps less. How wonderful to see her, after all this time, 28 years! What a lot of catching up to do! So many stories to tell and hear.

She showed me her garden and shared her dream of growing some foodplants, and cooked tea (spinach soup followed by risotto with roast butternut, red pepper and tomato) and I gave her the presents of pea beans and home made paprika, plus the remaining dried fruit.

At some time during the evening I realised I had lost my keys so I emailed Anna and she rang and said yes, I had left them at hers, duh! I said I could come and get them tomorrow, and she said she would meet me at Peckham Rye at 9.30am.

We talked til 1am, after which I tried to do my blog sensibly but not too sure how it's come out as I've several glasses of wine in me... what a day, what a weekend, what a life..................

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