The Arena: exchanging ideas and experiences across boundaries

5 januari, 2018

DRIFT is changing. The combination of scientific research, reflective advice and innovative education for transition is and will be our foundation. Those who take a closer look at our website will however notice a new, fourth pillar: the Arena. Why? Because sharing, inspiring and connecting are key for transition.

Our starting point is a brand new website and this newsletter, that open up possibilities to share our projects and ideas, and a more active online and offline role, to connect directly with those who work on and for transitions. These connections are important to us: as transition researchers, we feel the responsibility to be open to knowledge, opinions and ideas from others.

At the same time we want to share our own knowledge, expertise and experiences: knowledge and experience that is deepened through coordinating and conducting international scientific research projects and developing transition analyses, educational concepts and learning processes – but also through our work for transitions in practice, ranging from projects regarding car-free streets to support for vulnerable youth.

By sharing, we hope to go beyond the exchange of ideas and beyond interaction: we aim for inspiration and action. In order to accelerate transitions, we have to learn from each other, cross the boundaries of our own organisations and domains, and to start speaking a shared language. We have to step outside of our own ranks to initiate and motivate change, based on radical and long-term ambitions. These goals ask for openness and for a critical eye; a need we want to address by leading by example. Moreover, these goals ask for a safe space for experimentation and exchange: a space we heartily offer.

´By sharing, we hope to go beyond the exchange of ideas and beyond interaction: we aim for inspiration and action.´

The Arena is both means to and symbol for these changes. The name of our fourth pillar refers to the transition arena, one of the instruments for transition management. In an arena, a diversity of perspectives, solutions and values from one domain or organization are gathered in order to develop a new perspective or vision. This instrument, which we use on a regularly basis, is grounded in scientific research on comparable processes in society. We are -naturally- unable to organise this process for society as a whole, but we can broaden our instrument and its reach to other advocates or opponents of sustainability transitions.

As DRIFT, we help to create the conditions needed for these transitions. Right now, people are working on new ways of thinking, doing and organising, in all kinds of domains and at different levels. With the current crises and expected tensions at regime level, room is made for acceleration and upscaling. This offers tremendous opportunities for transitions. In light of these opportunities sharing, connecting and inspiring becomes even more important.

After all, transition knowledge and insights help to think and work differently, and to challenge the status quo. Too often, I have noticed, it is hard to oversee what kind of initiatives other organisations, municipalities or domains develop. By discovering new initiatives and gaining new insights, people get motivated and become part of the transition movement. While doing so, they ramp up the pressure on the regime and increase the pressure to change. By exchanging knowledge, inspiration and ideas, people connect domains and movements into a shared perspective for the future, which inspires fundamental change.

This makes the Arena both a step and an invitation. It is a step forward and outside for us, and an invitation to you: an invitation to connect online and offline, to challenge one another, and to accelerate the transition. I am looking forward to exchange knowledge, ideas and inspiration, and to support each other in our common goal: a sustainable, just, resilient society.

Derk Loorbach

What keeps you busy? We are curious about you – and hope you are curious about us. Subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, or join us at one of our upcoming events. Let’s join forces for transition!