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From 9 to 13 May 2016, members from four TESS partner organizations met in Rome, Italy, for five-day writing workshop on the analysis of community-based organizations in Europe. Kirsty Holstead and Anke Fischer from the James Hutton Institute, Scotland, Outi Virkkula from the Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland, Alessandra Prampolini from T6 ECO, Italy and Cary Hendrickson from the University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy, were hosted at T6 ECO in Rome, Italy for the five-day workshop in order to further examine the results that emerged from the qualitative interviews conducted in the TESS project’s WP3.

The analysis of the TESS project’s Work Package 3 (WP3) has generated a multitude of insights as to how community-based initiatives emerge, persist and grow as well as what the constraints for their continued work may be. The writing workshop in Rome aimed to dig deeper into the relationship between aspirations for change and rationalities in driving the work of five select case studies from the TESS project. The ‘aspirations and rationalities’ working group focuses on identifying and analyzing key themes related to varying aspirations and rationalities of five CBIs in Italy, Finland and Scotland in order to better understand how different understandings of societal change are expressed by CBIs active in the sustainability sector.

While much of the literature implies that CBIs are striving towards explicit visions for change, these may not be shared across or within different CBIs. This working group focuses on identifying the different motivations and objectives of how CBIs see the work they are doing, how they relate to one another and how they are negotiated within these four very different economic, social, political contexts.

 

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The first day’s session focused on recapping the comments of an earlier developed outline for the paper. This work has been developing since July of last year (see the February 2016 newsletter for a short description of the research leading up to the workshop). The workshop kicked off with a short recap of the literature on the role of community-based initiatives and what drives the work they do including some preliminary conclusions each partner had drawn based on the earlier data collection.

The second day focused more on refining the structure and outlining the key messages that have emerged from the individual case study countries as well as the experience of the individual CBIs. The process of drafting texts and selecting additional, illustrative quotes continued into the third day of the workshop.

 

 

Untitled-5Later in the evening, the working group was joined by the other Rome TESS team members from T6 ECO as well as the University of Rome La Sapienza for a social event at a local restaurant in the historic center of Rome. By the end of the week, a strong discussion and draft manuscript started to take form and the partners each returned to their respective countries prepared for the next steps towards finalizing the paper and submitting it for peer-review. A preliminary draft of the paper will be presented by Kirsty Holstead in a session titled, “Policies and practices of community-led environmental initiatives (3): Negotiation & Partnership” at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016 to be held at Imperial College London, UK, from 30 August to 2 September. 2016.