Transformations events

A series of events in 2016-2017 to explore the possibilities of rapid transitions and other transformations, through a series of case studies and public discussions.


Booklet: How did we do that? The possibility of Rapid Transition

how did we do that? book cover
Download the booklet (PDF, 1 MB)

by Andrew Simms and Peter Newell
STEPS Centre & New Weather Institute, 2017

Is rapid transition possible? Sometimes events or new knowledge throw up reasons why we must make change happen quickly. At the present moment, climate change and chronic social inequality seem to demand radical change – but what kind of changes will work, and how can they be achieved?

This booklet collects stories of rapid transitions and different kinds of transformations to show what we can learn from history and the present day about how people adapt to rapid change.

Download the booklet (PDF, 1 MB)

Launch event: Rapid Transitions: how did we do that?

This interactive event in Brighton on 24 April 2017 featured speakers and discussion with activists, researchers and citizens interested in transformative change.

In the video playlist, we asked speakers to share their views on rapid transitions, including Caroline Lucas, Rob Hopkins, Richard Murphy, Andrew Simms, Andy Stirling, Pete Newell, Paul Allen and Molly Conisbee.


About the Transformations series

Hosted by the New Weather Institute and the ESRC STEPS Centre, the Transformations events aim to change the conversation about transition in the UK. Through a series of public discussions, we will gather opinions and provoke debate about how to facilitate the speed and scale of transitions to more sustainable futures.

The world is not short of transitions in action. But many remain sceptical about whether current efforts can meet the scale of the challenges we collectively face. When have transitions in energy, food, finance and transport come about before at a rate demanded now by climate science, and how would they be brought about again? What can we learn from the past rapid transitions to help us tackle climate change, unsustainability and global inequality? How can we do this in a fair and democratic way?

Are there lessons from previous periods of rapid economic re-engineering that tell us otherwise? Join the debate.

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Past events

'Revolutions in Rojava' event in Brighton
‘Revolutions in Rojava’ event in Brighton, 2016

Transforming innovation: addressing nexus challenges with radical change

London, UK
17 March 2017

Organised in collaboration with The Nexus Network.

Can rapid transition happen? A current and historical evidence dialogue

University of Manchester, UK
12 December 2016

Accelerating the transition to a decarbonised society

Sigtuna, Sweden
22-24 November

Speakers: Kevin Anderson (Upssala University/University of Manchester), Anders Wijkman (Chair, Swedish Environmental Goals Commission), Andrew Simms (New Weather Institute)

Hosted by the Zennström Climate Change professorship and Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the Sigtuna Foundation, What Next Forum and The New Weather Institute

Emancipatory Transformations: Engaging Radical Democracy in Kurdistan

Brighton, UK
3-4 November 2016

3 November: public event from 4pm to 8pm in Brighton (film screenings + talks)
4 November: invite-only workshop at University of Sussex

Find out more about this event

Who is the digital revolution for?

Lighthouse, Brighton, UK
28 September 2016

Part of the Brighton Digital Festival 2016. Speakers: Ann Light, Tim Jordan, Caroline Bassett, Kat Braybrooke, Adrian Smith.

Find out more about this event

Rapid Transition in industry and infrastructure

Manchester Tyndall Centre
4 July 2016

Transition Design symposium: Can design catalyse the great transition?

The Great Hall, Dartington
17-19 June 2016
A three-day programme of talks and discussions on transitions.

View event details (Dartington website)

Rapid Transition in finance and economics: historical and recent perspectives

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
15 June 2016

With Alan Rusbridger, Danny Dorling, Mary Mellor, Peter Newell, Lindsay Mackie, Victoria Chick, Geoff Tily, Maurice Glasman and Andrew Simms.

Hay Festival debates

Hay Festival

How Quickly Can We Change…Culture?
31 May 2016 at 8.30pm
with Clare Brass, Molly Conisbee and David Boyle

How Quickly Can We Change… Economics?
1 June 2016 at 8.30pm
Andrew Simms and Richard Murphy

How Quickly can we Change… the Built Environment?
2 June 2016 at 8.30pm
Howard Johns, Lindsay Mackie, John Barrett, Andrew Simms

29 April: Rapid Energy Transition

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Machynlleth, Wales
Friday 29 April 2016, 9am to 4pm
Free of charge – all welcome

View event details

Video: Zero Carbon Conversations

Despair is often a barrier to action, so Mike Erskine made a a series of films with participants at the event about what gives them hope for more sustainable futures, what the barriers to change are, and what actions we might take.

View the set of 3 videos on Mike Erskine’s website.

Project team

Andrew Simms, New Weather Institute

Peter Newell, Centre for Global Political Economy, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex / ESRC STEPS Centre

Andy Stirling, SPRU / ESRC STEPS Centre

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