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Convergence - 15th Sustainable Living Festival


Wed. 26th May to Tues. 1st June 2010 | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map) • Tipperary Institute, Thurles • Cloughjordan Ecovillage, North Tipperary | BOOKINGS: 01 674 5773 | Save with a Full Festival Pass: €75 (No further discounts or concessions) | Covers entry to all Convergence events with the exception of the Resilience Tour (you may however have a 10% discount on the Tour)| Full Festival Brochure (pdf)  

The 15th Convergence Festival features talks, conferences, workshops and world café discussions on how urban and rural communities can adapt and thrive in these uncertain times. This festival brings together people from a wide variety of sectors to strategise on how we develop the resilience of our communities. The events explore new ideas for going 'green', demonstrating local food growing projects, and best practices in reducing our fossil energy use and carbon emissions. There will also be opportunities to learn from the global South and from innovative Irish and international initiatives. Discussions will be hosted on energy smart communities, smart grids, smart transport systems, energy efficiency, carbon reduction and community energy supply. The festival will also explore how sustainable regeneration, energy descent, the green economy, low carbon cities, and transition towns can all contribute to the development of local resilience and community based livelihoods and jobs.

Collaborators: Tipperary Institute, Carnegie Trust UK, Irish Development Education Association, RealEyes Sustainability Ltd, ESD Training Ltd., Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd., Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland, Near 90FM, ECO-UNESCO, and Re-Dress



Global Communities

Ideas and Technology from the South

Wed 26 May |13.30 – 16.30 | €Free | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map) | Poster (pdf)

Hosted by Irish Development Education Association and Cultivate with support from Trocaire.

Technology transfer has been traditionally focused on what the South can learn from the North yet with the coalescing of the economic, climate and energy crisis it is time we appreciated the wealth of knowledge and techniques accumulated in the South in relation to coping and adaptation strategies. Our particular focus will be cultivating reciprocal learning exchanges to build local resilience and adapt to climate change through the use of appropriate technologies and community organisation techniques.  

This event will take the form of a facilitated inquiry using a World Café format hosted by Eimear McNally, IDEA and Davie Philip, Cultivate. There will be a number of brief provocations to ignite the conversations from Cultivate, Trocaire, Trinity International Development Initiative and the Latin America Solidarity Centre.


Planning Our Retreat from Fossil Fuels

Exploring the Ramifications of Peak Oil

Wed 26 May | 19.00 – 21.00 | €10 | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map)

John Gibbons leads a discussion with with Minister Eamon Ryan, David Korowicz from FEASTA (The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) and ASPO Ireland Director, Richard O'Rourke, on the ramifications of Peak Oil and what we can and should be doing to prepare for it.


Greening Our Communities

An EPA Sponsored Green Communities Network Event

Thurs 27 May | 13.30 – 17.00 | €Free | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map) | RSVP 'alice [at] cultivate . ie' to confirm your booking | PDF

The Green Communities Network is a joint initiative of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the EPA and An Taisce to encourage the growth of green communities in Ireland.  The objective of the network is to radically increase the numbers of individuals and communities living, working and playing in a more environmentally sustainable manner to bring about real and measurable reductions in environmental impact in areas such  as waste, energy usage, water usage and carbon footprint.

But what are the hallmarks of a green community? There may already be communities in Ireland that are well on their way to being ‘green’ and environmentally sustainable.  This half day session will bring together community and environmental initiatives from around Ireland to enquire into what it means to be a ‘green community’ and explore strategies for our communities, in the broadest sense, to become green, smart and sustainable.


Home - A Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Home - A Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Thurs 27 May | 18.30 - 20.30 | €Free - booking essential at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Light House Cinema Smithfield

Home offers us unique footage from over fifty countries, all seen from the air, sharing the filmmaker’s wonder and concern.  Home aims to help people understand and share the issues facing our planet and to provoke a general raising of awareness on the stakes of social and environmental responsibility.


The Green New Deal From Below

Cooperative and Bottom-Up Opportunities of the Green Economy

Thurs 27 May | 20.00 – 21.30 | €10 / €5 | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map)

Gavin Harte the former National Director of An Taisce and the founder of the eco-village in Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary will facilitate this panel discussion and conversation into the potential for grassroots, community and cooperative approaches to a Green New Deal. Panelists include Duncan Stewart, broadcaster and environmental activist; Ann Irwin, the National Co-ordinator of the Community Workers Cooperative; Ray Doyle from ICOS, the umbrella organisation for co-operatives in Ireland; Shirley Gallagher, a social entrepreneur and manager of the Cleantech Network supporting SMEs in Ireland; and Chris O’Leary, a former Cork City Councillor with a background in cooperatives and community organising.


Rethinking the City

'The Resilient City'

How Do We Creatively Transform Our Cities to be Green, Smart and Sustainable?

Friday 28 May | 09.00 – 17.00 | €60 / €40 | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map) | Full Schedule & Registration Form

This conference brings together stakeholders from a wide variety of sectors for a radical rethink on how we transform our cities to be green, smart and sustainable in these challenging times.

What are the converging challenges facing our cities? What actions and changes do we need to make to future proof our buildings, develop smarter transport systems, and heat and power our neighborhoods? How do we reduce our energy dependency, reduce carbon emissions and build resilience in our cities? How do we motivate people to participate in addressing the ever more complex problems facing us today?  All of this requires a systemic and multi-disciplinary approach to enable the development of sustainability and resilience in our communities. This Convergence conference brings the ideas and people together to explore how we do this.


The Creative City

People and Places: With David Engwicht - Creative Communities International

Friday 28th May | 19.30 – 21.30 | €5 | Wood Quay Venue

Ever wondered what it might be like to live in a city that encourages people to reach their fullest creative potential? What would such a city look like? How would it feel to live in such a city? David Engwicht, artist, writer and street philosopher, unpacks what it takes for a city to become a creative city and why every resident
has the power to make their city a place that nurtures the creativity of its residents.

The Wood Quay Venue is located in Dublin City Council Civic Offices in the heart of the city. The entrance to Wood Quay Venue is from the walkway directly behind the amphitheatre in the Civic Offices Park.


A Day in Transition

From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

Saturday 29 May | 11.00 – 18.30 | €10 - only 100 places | Cultivate, The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map) | Full Schedule (pdf)

Hosted by Cultivate and Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland in association with ECO-UNESCO, Re-dress and Near90FM

Transition Towns is an inspirational process, conceived in Ireland in 2005 and now adopted by communities all over the world. The model aids communities in finding new ways of coping with the challenges we face, together. By localising our food production, developing renewable energy sources, enhancing our
local economies and future proofing our buildings, communities develop the resilience to weather the storms of these challenging times.



The Resilience Tour

A Bus Trip from the Greenhouse to Cloughjordan Ecovillage and Back

Sunday 30 May | 10.00 – 19.00 | €50 | Starts at The Greenhouse, St Andrew St, Dublin 2 (map)

This is an opportunity to visit and experience the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, one of Ireland's most exciting ecological projects. The ecovillage will include 130 homes, renewable energy for heating, land for growing food and trees, an enterprise centre, community buildings and a vibrant environment for living and working. The tour will be focused on the elements that can be replicated in any community or neighbourhood to strengthen its resilience. The bus trip starts at the Greenhouse in Dublin and the day will feature films on the bus, a presentation of the project, a tour of the ecovillage, a light lunch and is back in Dublin by 19.00.


Rethinking Education for a Sustainable Ireland

Monday 31 May | 09.00 – 17.00 | €Free | Tipperary Institute, Thurles, Co Tipperary | Full Schedule (pdf)

What are the models of education we need to meet the challenges of today?
How do we transform our education system to help us move towards a sustainable Ireland?
How can we ensure that learners and educators are equipped to deal with future shocks?

This conference brings educators, learners, state and civil society organisations together to…

  • Challenge the dominant educational paradigm
  • Explore the education needed for developing resilience and sustainability
  • Highlight and promote innovative and successful approaches to learning

The outcome from the day will be a draft declaration on sustainable education that the delegates can sign up to. This declaration will then be used to stimulate conversation, debate and ideas for change in the curriculum and the way education is delivered. It is proposed that a ‘guardian group’ be established to develop this project and to pursue its implementation.


Reflecting on Resilience

Monday 31 May | 20.00 – 21.30 | €Free | St Kieran’s Hall, Cloughjordan

Our resilience can be described as our ability to deal with trauma, tragedy, and all kinds of threats. The more resilient we are the faster we bounce back from difficult experiences. The term ‘resilience’ is also widely used by ecologists and is defined as the ability of ecosystems to maintain themselves in the face of disturbance. Resilience from a community point of view refers to the capacity of a community to cope with stress, overcome adversity and adapt to change positively. The current economic and spiritual difficulties, along with the unprecedented floods and freeze that Ireland endured recently, highlight how unprepared we are to cope with any unexpected incidents and the level of our vulnerability.

Facilitated by Professor Peadar Kirby, this event brings a number of churches and faith groups together in Cloughjordan to explore the importance of nurturing resilience in these challenging times.

Featuring Noirin Ni Riain, theologian, musicologist and internationally acclaimed Irish spiritual singer; Sean McDonagh, Columban missionary priest and author; from Cloughjordan, Rev. Brian Griffin, the minister at the Methodist Church; Fr. Tom Hannon, a priest from the Catholic Church; and the Reverend Stephen Neill, Rector at the Church of Ireland.


Investing in Ourselves

Realising Jobs and Capital for Communities

Tuesday 1 June | 10.00 – 16.00 | €30 | St Kieran’s Hall, Cloughjordan | Full Schedule

This event explores how to enhance community assets and create jobs and livelihoods in our localities. Topics covered include social finance, mutuality, cooperatives, community land trusts, asset development, energy bonds and other ways for communities to invest in themselves and become economically viable.   Programme includes:

  • Designing Financial Institutions for a Shrinking Economy, Richard Douthwaite, FEASTA
  • Identifying, Utilising and Optimising Community Assets, Kate Braithwaite, Carnegie UK Trust
  • Development of Community Land Trusts, Bob Paterson, Community Finance Solutions, UK

... plus case studies, the launch of the Carnegie Manifesto for Rural Communities and a tour of the Cloughjordan Ecovillage

Presented by Cultivate, Tipperary Institute, Sustainable Projects Ireland Ltd. and Carnegie UK Trust


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