Festival of Ideas: Transition
The world faces unprecedented transitions with increasing speed and impact - some managed and some impossible to control or predict with certainty and subject to abrupt changes. While some planned, designed or governed transitions can be tolerated or are even desired, sudden disruptions cause uncertainty, unpalatable stasis or even regression.
Transitions happen at every level: individual, social, cultural, environmental and political. Dramatic transitions in climate, social justice, health, political structures, migration/displacement and biodiversity create increasingly complex difficulties for humans and other life forms’ survival. Intellectual work, focused on long-term thinking and support, for co-existence in transitional contexts is urgently required by academics and the public.
The concept of transition can be explained retrospectively as a period of identifiable change between one state of being and another significantly different condition or set of circumstances. Transitions of the past are identified by their residue in the natural world and in the evidence of global human cultures. Here transition is manifested in built environments, values and behaviours, political, social and legal structures, economic systems, and advances and changes in the arts, culture, technology and science.
Transitions, as the experience of change in the present, is a process that may or may not have a predictable future outcome. In some instances, it is not necessarily the transition itself that is so hard to "tolerate”, but if the new state that we transition to is less conducive to our wellbeing or even perceived as dangerous, then negative consequences are to be expected.
Festival of Ideas: Transition will be realised through an event where which brings together scholars, activists, artists and the public to critically examine crucial transitions and pave the way for more informed, cross-disciplinary thinking in order to enact change.