Response Ability: Fielding Feedback and Adjusting Course
Plans tend to change from solid to liquid as they fill with complexity. Sometimes you just have to throw out a rough sketch to get the shape in your head, knowing that most of the details will likely morph or melt away eventually.
As anticipated, the plan I previously divulged has already started transforming, and I suspect that will be an ongoing phenomenon. My initial attempt to contact some motherships went as well as I’d hoped, but I decided the site needed a few more technical tweaks before I really started blasting the masses.
Last week, I reached out to three of the most prominent motherships I’ll be looking to for guidance. Transition Network is a very broad-minded and global effort, while REVERB and Farm Aid are both music-driven organizations aimed at more targeted causes with operations mostly based in America.
I received an email reply from Marissa Mommaerts, Communications & Operations Manager for Transition US, who sounded very supportive of the project. She even attached a revised copy of my proposed tour schedule pointing out some of the most active initiatives I should definitely contact. Here’s her email in full:
Sounds like a sweet endeavor!
Since there are only 2 of us in the “mothership” supporting local Transition Initiatives around the US, unfortunately I can’t offer you too much help!
But I did make notes of which are the most active Transition Initiatives along your tour route (see attached doc). You should be able to contact them through the listing on our website or by googling them.
Many TIs already have their projects planned out for at least the next couple months, and like us do not have a lot of extra organizing capacity. It could help if you’re able to combine forces with an existing project or event – for example, playing at a community garden installation or work party. Maybe do some research beforehand to get a sense of what is already happening in the community.
If there’s a specific Transition Initiative you really want to connect with and can’t find contact info online, let me know and I will try to help.
According to Mommaerts bio on the Transition US staff page: “She is particularly excited about engaging Millennials in the Transition movement, a global grassroots network of communities that are redesigning themselves to be resilient and sustainable in the face of climate change, resource depletion, and economic instability.”
Millennials are why I have hope in this project and the broader movement it supports. They are the most informed generation in history and they understand and care about the many problems we face. I believe if we can find innovative and entertaining ways to engage and activate young people, they will be our redemption.
Needless to say, it is not only encouraging but essential to have the blessing of an official Transition team member prior to embarking on this journey. I’m going to be using the Transition “brand” a lot, and it’s nice to have some confirmation that I’m staying on message and saying the right things.
Of course, the beauty of Transition Network is that it doesn’t really “belong” to anyone. It’s a nonprofit set up to spread ideas and help others create their own initiatives to better their own futures. Transition is whatever you choose to make it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from REVERB or Farm Aid, but that’s understandable. I don’t have much going on here yet, and most of the things they could help me with involve details much further down the road.
Aside from that, I am fully aware that this whole touring project probably sounds a bit crazy at first, and that even the concept behind Transition might feel a little dramatic to some folks.
Honestly, there’s really nothing radical about it – it’s simply a mass-scale experiment with innovative ways of living that help to make communities more resilient.
There is no right or wrong way to Transition, and different people will be attracted to different aspects. It’s more about doing something than anything else. Pick your preferred actions and go take them. Get off the couch, and change the world.
Organizations promoting small-scale agriculture and greening processes like REVERB and Farm Aid are already part of the Transition Movement, whether they realize it or not.
Adjusting the Sails
Taking Marissa’s feedback into account, I have to acknowledge that many Transition Initiatives are likely short staffed and may already be juggling several other events throughout the year.
As I proceed to reach out to new people, I’ve decided to keep specifics at a minimum and just focus on making positive connections. If you happen to be the contact person for a Transition Initiative or similar local development effort, you might expect an email from me in the coming weeks that reads something like this:
Greetings Transition Rockstar,
I recently launched a blog called Musicianing that aims to introduce more musicians to the Transition Movement and encourage more Transition Initiatives to engage their local music communities to help raise awareness and bring people together.
Part of this project includes a tour of the US, where I plan to document a string of events across the country featuring collaborations between Transition teams, music artists, and other local entities.
I am currently reaching out to several Initiatives to ask if they might be interested in participating with this project by helping to coordinate an event in their area.
There is no set time frame at this point. I’m just trying to figure out how many Initiatives are open to the idea. The event would take place no fewer than six months from now, so plenty of time to plan.
I will be handling most of the booking, marketing and promotion for each show, but I’m looking for folks who know the town that can offer suggestions and possibly be my eyes and ears on the ground when needed.
Does this sound like a project you might be interested in bringing to your community?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks so much for your time, and keep up the great work.
Hopefully, I get some positive responses. I’ll let you know how it goes…