About Us

SWLfSC [the Coalition] is a Community Interest Company that is a network of over 130 organisations and individuals across the South West of England. Coalition members share expertise in sustainable development, education and learning, and understand that learning, viewed broadly, is crucial to the development of a sustainable South West.

The Coalition, which was established in 2004 and has grown through the voluntary efforts of members and supportive institutions, exists to champion education for sustainable development [ESD] in the region. The glue that binds SWLfSC together is, firstly, a shared conviction that sustainable development is a priority, and that learning is the key to this; and, secondly, commonly-held values around the importance of education, the need to promote systems thinking and active citizenship, and the central importance of co-operation across interests and communities.

For further information...
It is free to join. Please email swlfsc@gmail.com to become a member.

If you would like to advertise a regional event through our network please email Paul Vare (learning4l@aol.com) and he will add it to the monthly update.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Seminar 3 - The Transition Network

On Thursday, the 14th of February, twelve members of the South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition met in Totnes in Devon for a seminar about Transition Towns.  The day-long seminar was arranged by Isabel Carlisle and William Scott and was both engaging and informative.

Ben Brangwen introduced members to the work of the Transition Network.  He spoke about the how Transition Towns had developed from a small localized project based on the work of Rob Hopkins to a what it is today, a network of Transition groups, across Britain and Ireland. 

Although the same principles of community level responses to carbon reduction and building resilience and happiness apply to all groups, each group approaches these issues in a way that suits their specific local context.  Some groups have developed local currencies to help build and maintain local supply chains; other groups have different foci. 

Ben talked about the way that academic research is addressed by the Transition Network.  The protocol under development encourages an approach that aims to ensure that research that is undertaken is meaningful to both the researchers and the network.  The Transition Network has collated over 200 papers in an online transition research repository to provide interested researchers with relevant background reading and this is available from the website.  The concept of a Transition University was also discussed.

Isabel Carlisle talked about her work with Schools in Transition, which she initiated when she joined the Transition Network movement.  She is currently working with three pilot schools (Wellington College (Crowthorne, Berkshire), KEVICC Co-Operative Trust School (Totnes, Devon) and Crispin Academy (Street, Somerset).  The approach is to work with the school in a contextualised manner to identify what they need and to facilitate this.  The Transition Network has the potential to help the schools engage with and become a central part of the local community.    

‘Learning that leads to agency’ and ‘embedding in place’ are central tenets of the Transition Network’s Schools in Transition work.

Challenges identified by Isabel and Ben included the question of how to grow beyond the early adopters of the network and how to expand the Schools in Transition project. 
Points of discussion raised by members of the Coalition included:
·         how the network engages with other organizations with similar principles both in the community and in the schools it works with
·         how the network engages with members of the local community that do not share their commitment to the principles of a sustainable future
·         what the purpose of resilience is in the context of the Transition Network

The Coalition would like to thank the Transition Totnes for hosting this event that initiated frank discussions that were both thought provoking and informative.

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Members of the Board of Directors

Paul Vare - Executive Director
Professor William Scott - Chair
Mairi Kershaw - Treasurer
Elsa Lee - Secretary
Helen Adams
Rupert Bannister
Sarah Chave
Lynn Cutler
Jo Matthews
Professor Stephen Sterling

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