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Transforming Cultures

Transforming Cultures: theory, methods and practice

Published 2020 by the Frank Fenner Foundation as an electronic web book.

Frank Fenner Foundation
PO Box 11
Canberra ACT 2601

Copyright Frank Fenner Foundation, 2020


Suggested citation:
Peter W Tait (Ed), 2020, Transforming Cultures: theory, methods and practice, Frank Fenner Foundation, Canberra ACT Australia

Citations for each section should acknowledge the presenter/author(s) and title of that section in addition to the above citation.

Art work: Samantha Towers, Auckland, New Zealand/Aoteoroa



Context and background to this project and how it fits into the Fundamental Questions Program and Frank Fenner Foundation.


The opening chapter draws together the key reflections on theory, methodology and practice.
Summarises the major themes about cultural change.

Context and Summary

Chapter 1

The main themes and lessons
In this chapter we outline the major returns emerging from the Transforming Cultures series. We provide a brief overview of the Transforming Cultures Framework. We the list the major assumptions and values that arose from discussions. Next we summarise what we have learnt about the major processes of transformation, using two different typologies.

Chapter 2

Transformation Literature Review
Places the presentations within the broader context of the culture transformation / change literature.
Literature Review Summary Table

Chapter 3

A framework for change
Bob Webb’s Kotter work.
Finally with the outputs from the typologies in Chapter 1 put into the Framework to explain how they might be applied.
Chapter 3 Appendix Cultural Transforming Frameworks and discussion.

Presentations and Commentary

Each chapter comprises the presentation(s) of each Human Ecology Forum session. Following the paper derived from each presentation is a brief editorial commentary linking them into the broader themes of the monograph (cultural transformation) and drawing out the key messages for the transforming culture project.

Chapter 4

Tim Hollo & Aileen Power: Cultural change is essential
How ‘culture’ as art, music, drama etc, is important for changing Culture.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 5

Barry Newell: The Transition to a Biosensitive Society
A systems approach to culture change. Transforming Boyden’s biosensitive triangle into a system approach.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 6

Tom Faunce: Towards Eco-centric Governance in the Sustainocene with Global Artificial Photosynthesis
Social change depends on having a technological pathway to permit the change. Artificial photosynthesis provides that path.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 7

Bob Douglas: Transformational Culture Change - lessons from Cuba
How Castro in Cuba generated a cultural and political transformation.
Paper and Commentary.

Chapter 8

Elizabeth Boulton: Philosophy tackles Climate Change the Hyperobject Narrative
Exploring how the Hyperobject narrative approach might be applied to cultural transformations.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 9

Val Brown & John Harris: Reshaping our minds - parameters of Transformation
How using a thinking methodology, the seven ways of knowing, can help facilitate transformations.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 10

Kevin Thomson: A Parliamentary look at Cultural Transformation
Parliaments are working badly. Specific practical reforms are needed to build them as a means for change.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 11

Mark Stafford Smith: Facing accelerating change - the role of research
Future Earth and the role of research in helping change society - summary.

Chapter 12

Bob Costanza: A theory of Socioecological Systems Change
How can scenario planning help create a new future?
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 13

Gill King: Using Marketing for transformation
Marketing as a tool for motivating and change to happen.
Summary and Commentary.

Chapter 14

Peter Tait: Governance for the Anthropocene
To make the decisions required for transformation to a biosensitive society, we need to understand governance and reform that to achieve the greater outcome.

Chapter 15

Val Brown: Collective Mind - Application to Transforming Cultures
Another look at how we apply seven ways of knowing to help make change.

Chapter 16

Tim Hollo: Music as a path to transformative cultural change.
Music speaks to the soul through the seven ways of knowing.

Chapter 17

Peter Tait: Wresting power transforming governance.
To bring about a cultural transformation, existing power structures which are both culturally determined and determine culture must be challenged and changed.

Chapter 18

Jodie Pipkorn, SEE-Change: Transforming Cultures Case - Transition Towns Canberra.
Looks at how the Transition Town Canberra is building connections to help transform Canberra society; with Commentary.

Chapter 19

Ian Morland: Transforming Cultures - Beginning with Individuals.
A demonstration of engaging people in a narrative; Commentary.

Chapter 20

Richard Denniss: Exercising Power for Cultural Transformation.
Cultural change is a matter of exercising power, But to exercise power for good one needs to consider who is exercising the power to what end; synopsis and commentary.

Chapter 21

Andrew Gaines: Communicating to accelerate the Great Transition.
A demonstration of a communications method.

Chapter 22

Trevor Hancock: Public Health in the Anthropocene.

Chapter 23

Lyn Goldsworthy, Frank Fenner Foundation: Biosensitivity - how does this help Transform Cultures
Biosensitivity – part of the new values narrative about what people can do to transform.


Appendix 1 HEF Transforming Cultures Series Contributors
Appendix 2 2014 Concluding Workshop Summary Outcomes
Appendix 3 TRANSFORMING Cultures 2015 Opening overview and summary
Appendix 4 Culture definitions
Appendix 5 Further reading on change: These are a few publications that came up or have been discovered in the process of formulating this Transforming cultures series. It is far from a complete or definitive list. I share it for your interest.