An experiential guide for Transition Arenas

There is no shopping list for fundamental change. But if there were, it would certainly include: a compelling narrative, a critical mass, and a legitimizing analysis. And a transition arena is a key tool to generate all three of these. This experiential guide provides insights into the practical side of the transition arena methodology for partners of the ACES project.
To break away from business-as-usual requires new approaches and strategies. Transition management has been developed explicitly as such an approach and as a strategy to open up desired transition pathways in societal contexts that are ‘locked-in’, in which people and organisations are stuck into addressing persistent problems with improvements, instead of shaping transformative change towards new and desired futures.
To proactively support desired system change (transition), implies an approach that develops the necessary transformative power: a compelling narrative, the critical mass, and a legitimizing analysis that all combined can help guide and accelerate fundamental change.
This experiential guide provides insights into the practical side of the transition arena methodology (Loorbach, 2007), based on experiential knowledge with transition arenas facilitated by the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), mainly in the Netherlands.
The aim of this document is to provide insight into the application of the transition management principles in practice through the organization of transition arenas in a variety of contexts. The diversity of applications shows that each context requires a different operational design of the arena, thereby adjusting the transition management principles and the generic methodology to the local transition context, actor constellations and particular societal dynamics.
We aim to empower and stimulate readers to organize a transition arena in their own (local) circumstances, by providing a set of ingredients and how-to’s. Specifically, this guide is written in the context of the ACES project (Accelerating Energy and Sustainability transitions in ports; funded by the Norwegian Research Council) for our research partners and beyond.
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september 29, 2022