CTRLShift 2 - "An Emergency Summit for Change", kicking off in Stoke-on-Trent this week


Part of our commitment in A/UK is be involved in “networking the networks” - making many connections with like-minded groups and individuals, either convening ourselves or strengthening the convening of others, who are interested in power and citizenship from the ground up.

We were honoured to be part of the original founding of the CTRLShift event in Wigan, 2018 - and we are delighted to be a core partner in CTRLShift 2019, taking place in Stoke-on-Trent this week.

The title of the event is “An Emergency Summit for Change”, and the programme is rich with expertise and methods for empowerment from below (tickets still available here).

Extracts from the briefing paper below set out the ambition:

We are in a time of great uncertainty and unfolding crisis

The social, economic and environmental failures of the current system are being cruelly exposed by rising inequality, social division, increasingly precarious and insecure employment, an alarming loss of biodiversity and accelerating climate change.

On a personal level,  an increasing number of people are struggling to meet basic needs of food and housing and maintain positive mental health.

A better future exists

Across the UK individuals, organisations and networks are working to create a future that is inclusive, collaborative, and creates shared benefits.

We are creating affordable low carbon housing, local food, renewable energy, sustainable transport, and alternative finance systems from the ground up.

Co-operative solutions, entrepreneurial innovation and new forms of democratic and social change are showing ways forward and in some places building local partnerships with the public sector. But these public social partnerships are relatively rare and need greater investment and support.

We have the research and policy proposals, campaigns and participatory processes to support new forms of social innovation.

But we lack voice and coordination

Whilst many of the people working for a more participatory, inclusive and regenerative future share a set of values, and are working towards similar goals, our work remains fragmented and siloed.

We have yet to demonstrate that we can bring together the different components we are each engaged in to create an alternative system, and our advocacy and policy work lacks voice and coordination.

We struggle to work across identities of class, race, culture, nationality, gender, politics and religion, even when we share values and aspirations for the future.

In the (possible) departure from the EU and its aftermath, there will be unprecedented opportunities to shape the future of the UK. Will our collective voice be heard, or will the alternatives we have developed be ignored?

Help shape a positive future

CTRLshift seeks to catalyse a network of change-making organisations, networks and independent practitioners, to work together to form a broad campaign for positive social, economic and environmental change.

Our purpose is to create the spaces where we can ‘shape our future together’ locally, regionally and nationally.

We believe that the best way to effect change is to bring together those working to reform the system with those actively building practical radical alternatives on the ground.

We want to bring together activists, organisers, commoners and entrepreneurs to develop a shared agenda to shift power over our democracy, economy and environment, from Westminster and multinational corporations, to people and communities across the UK.

By bringing these solutions together and mobilising people for local and regional action we can make ‘taking back control’ a positive reality.

Four sectors and the new municipalism

To make the society level changes that are needed,  it is essential that the four main sectors - Civil Society, (local) Government, (social) Business, and Academia - can all bring their special contribution. We also have to work across the political spectrum.

Action at the local level is where much of this can come together, hence the recognition and support of the growth of localism and the ‘new municipalism’, and the critical search for supporting effective economic, democratic and environmental change within towns and cities.

National policy change is clearly needed too, and again we are stronger if we work together.

What we learnt in Wigan, March 2018

At our first event in Wigan over 100 organisations and networks came together to identify key issues and themes, map strategies and approaches, and learn more about each other’s work. It was a rich two and a half days and many initiatives and projects grew from the relationships that were formed.

Since then we have attended events and held a number of workshops, built the framework for collaborative action between events and developed proposals for funds that will enable a significant increase in the work.

Until now, much of what has been achieved has been done by a small group of organisations and committed individuals. There is wide support from many organisations.

With funds in place we are confident that CTRLshift can be a very significant opportunity to bring together our collective work.

The headlines make the event’s aims even clearer:

CTRLshift’s purpose is: “Shaping our future together”

Our aim is to: Create spaces and processes that enable collaboration, alignment and action between changemakers, locally, regionally and nationally.

In a way that:

  • Makes use of our existing strategies, models, projects, policies, events, skills, toolkits, knowledge and resources

  • Involves all sectors of society, without bias

  • Connects local, regional and national initiatives

  • Is led by values of inclusion, diversity, equity, participation and co-creation

  • Responds to the many interconnected challenges such as social and economic justice, racism, poverty, biodiversity and the climate emergency

  • Removes barriers to action

  • Develops solidarity, mutual trust and understanding

  • Builds a collective vision and capacity for action

So that we can:

  • Build agency and power in local communities

  • Shift power from Westminster and corporations

  • Tackle the growing social, democratic, environmental and economic challenges, in order to create a just, inclusive, equitable, ecologically wise, socially regenerative, economically re-localised, adaptive and resilient society, together.

Our co-initiator, Indra Adnan, is speaking at these times on Thursday, as part of the Solution Sessions day:

We look forward to meeting you all there!