TTK’s Great Unleashing / Big Launch Party

by | Apr 20, 2010

So the big day finally came and went, and glorious it was too. I’m still smiling from the wonderful energy of it all. Pause a moment to take in the brilliance of the TTK cake (TT Kake?) before clicking through to a peek at the many-splendoured event itself, including a chance to see the accomplished and inspired short movie of TTK‘s story to date that premièred on the night.

The energy levels never dropped after the buzz of the children’s hour that kicked the day off, with gleeful kids seeing a real bee hive, making puppets out of plastic bags, writing poetry, getting faces painted etc etc while the parents browsed the stalls of local green businesses and organisations…

Face painting

Next, local inspiration Robin Hutchinson entertainingly introduced talks from our local MPs (although this close to the election he had to describe them as “Parliamentary candidates who you may remember from their previous jobs”!), our mayor, the head of the Council, me and the ever-entertaining David Fleming, back by popular demand, who hesitated to despoil the cake by doing us the honour of cutting it.

David Fleming at TTK Unleashing, with Robin Hutchinson

We also received a congratulatory video message from Rob Hopkins before a planned Open Space session, in which we faced the real challenge of getting everyone to stop having passionate, deeply involved conversations long enough so that we could explain to them how wonderfully Open Space could facilitate such conversations.

With Prisca Baron singing to a rapt audience of children and adults alike, DJ Matt providing the soundtrack late into the night and Toni Izard and family laying on an amazing spread of food and refreshments, it felt like a real triumph of community spirit, with smiles on the faces of old stalwarts and total newcomers alike.

I didn’t manage to get a handle on the numbers there (perhaps 250??), but it was great to see so many unfamiliar faces mingling happily, and contributing to the Kingston Timeline that we pinned to the wall (see some of the ideas it produced here).

Even the venue itself felt like a new ally, as almost everyone attending had never set foot in Kingston Working Men’s Club before, despite its location tucked away right in the heart of Kingston. A great many more people know it’s there now, and hopefully a few lasting connections have been forged.

For me personally, the two particular highlights in a night of delights were the deliciously brilliant (and brilliantly delicious!) cake – or actually three cakes – and the TTK movie. Credit for the first, and for the photos featured here, goes to our talented trio Libby, Jonny and Maria, AKA Caking Agent.

The full TTKake

The second was the work of Elise Toogood and Nick Barron of Tenth Egg, and you can see it in all its glory below. As both cake and film were only finished in the early hours of the morning of the event, both were genuine surprises even for those of us heavily involved in pulling the event together.

Films at their best have a wonderful way of evoking a sense of overarching narrative, and for me personally it was a delight to feel this as I watched it. Despite knowing all of the projects featured – or perhaps because of that – it was deeply satisfying to see the different threads pulled together into this tapestry.

Many thanks too to those who organised the surprise for the six of us on TTK’s Temporary Steering Group, pulling us on stage to present each of us with our very own blueberry bush! It would be impossible to mention everyone who made the event possible, but hopefully they all enjoyed it as much as I did.

I will add more photos below as they come in, including the happy crowds and impressive before and after pics from the decoration efforts on Friday evening.

My apologies if this post is rather excitable – I can only confess that I’m still excited! Just as an Unleashing should, this has reminded me what a marvellous community I live in, and feels like a historic launchpad to a happier, more thrivacious Kingston!

picture courtesy of Simone Kay


Poetry workshop


Bags created on the day, picture courtesy of Simone Kay

Making puppets from plastic bags

Stalls and info from TTK groups, local businesses and organisations

Me speaking about the origins of Transition and TTK

Our local MPs, Ed Davey and Susan Kramer

David Fleming speaking

Cake - left segment

Cake - central segment

Cake - right segment
Closeups of the magnificent cake

David Fleming does the honours

Rob Hopkins’ video message

Kingston’s Mayor addresses the crowd

Organising the Open Space, raffle etc.

The fantastic spread put on by Toni Izard and family

Prisca Baron singing

Visitors from other Transition initiatives

TTK give a gift to the Steering Group – thanks all!

Libby and Maria – two of the cake conjurers!

Dancing late into the night

Photos from TTK’s history to date, mixed with relevant and inspiring quotes

The Kingston timeline, created by Big Launch attendees


  1. Jean Vidler

    Well it was a fittingly fabulous night. The timeline is particularly interesting & I wonder if you looked & compared with your own timeline Shaun? I noticed we found it easy to envisage 5 or 10 years from now but much more difficult to assign events to 2030 or 2050. “It all depends”.
    Still, another tipping point in a weeks time when we have the #ukelections. A hung parliament would be a great opportunity for change!

  2. Shaun Chamberlin

    Thanks Jean, it was great wasn’t it? 🙂

    At a quick look the local Kingston timeline seems to broadly fit quite well within the national Transition timeline outlined in my book. I also took both up to a workshop I ran at Transition City Lancaster at the weekend, and after they had done their visioning and backcasting, we found that their vision, ours and that of Totnes (which I also took along – their Energy Descent Action Plan is launched next week) were remarkably consistent.

    I suppose the question now is how widespread the desirability of that vision is in the general population? The main objection I seem to meet is one of feasibility rather than desirability, which might be a good sign.

    Regarding the difficulty of visioning further ahead, that is where diverse scenario planning comes in of course, but a bit hard to achieve that in such an informal process stuck up on the wall during a party!

  3. Jean Vidler

    Readers of your blog might be interested in “futuresedge” a futures based news service by permaculturalist Jamie Saunders. I have attended a fascinating talk by Jamie and realised there is quite an industry behind future forecasting. And that if we don’t help design our own sustainable future somebody out there will be busily making sure we get the unsustainable one.
    Jamie’s website is

  4. Transition as a Pattern Language: Unleashings

    […] YouTube film 7. A film about Transition Town Kingston’s story so far 8. Shaun Chamberlin’s write-up of TTK’s big launch party 10. See more on TT Tooting’s Unleashing 11. A review from the local media of the Sandpoint […]



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