Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we.
But are you also excited by the opportunities and prospects this opens up for us to create a better, brighter and more beautiful world? So are we.
Then join us in this innovative new postgraduate programme from Schumacher College in collaboration with the School of Architecture, Design and Environment at Plymouth University, the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, the Dartington Hall Trust and surrounding communities.
Never has there been a more important time for a new approach for engaging with the challenging situations we face from the local to the global levels. In a rapidly changing dynamic situation, solutions rarely remain optimal for very long and continuous active participation is a necessary ingredient for success. Growing resilience in individuals and communities is the way to keep going despite the continuous change around us.
Our programme in Ecological Design Thinking embraces and explores this complex world of interactions with lively engagement and an optimistic approach. It offers powerful, practical and ecology-centred skills and knowledge to apply to a diverse range of practices from design, education and business to the more specific roles of leadership, management and consultancy.
The Ecological Design Thinking programme is trans-disciplinary, insightful and universal in its application; pragmatic and integrative in its operation. It brings together theoretical and practical discourses on ecologically inspired design, with methods of design thinking that are merged with the latest developments in anthropology, psychology and socio- political economics. It aims to create a novel ground for change makers at the forefront of our transition to sustainable societies.
Ecologically inspired design includes the study of ecological worldviews, systems dynamics and applied complexity theory alongside the philosophies and practices of permaculture and biomimetic design.
Design thinking is a well-established participatory technique grounded in the empathic understanding of the feelings, experiences and emotions of others. It engages people in lively conversations, visually stimulated interactions and playful prototyping. It frames problems as opportunities, forms insights and generates creative and collaborative solutions in complex situations.
The Ecological Design thinking programme aims to provide a nourishing environment for participants by incorporating short-courses led by internationally recognised thinkers, place-making projects in collaboration with the Dartington Hall Trust, the home of Schumacher College, and short placements offered by external partner organisations.
This programme is the fourth radical postgraduate programme developed at Schumacher College and contributes to and enhance the College’s ongoing collaborative inquiry into sustainable living – a live and networked inquiry of practice underway around the world by the College’s 20,000 alumni and others.
We would be delighted to receive your application whether you are coming directly from an undergraduate degree, taking time-out to study mid-career or wanting an opportunity to develop your understanding of a practice that is of great importance to all of our futures. We encourage applications from community practitioners and activists as well as planners, educators, architects, politicians and policy makers. You do not necessarily need a first degree in design to apply for this course. You only need to be enthusiastic, resilient and committed.
We are looking for enthusiastic agents of change who are ready to co-design new approaches to the way we live that are socially just and ecologically sustainable. We are looking for those prepared to take risks and stand on the cutting-edge of new practices in this area.
Schumacher College welcomes students from all over the world in a diverse mix of cultural experience and age that allows for rich peer- to- peer learning.
An interdisciplinary programme integrating design methods with those of ecology and the social sciences.
An integrative design programme rooted in deep ecological understanding and practice and informed by cutting edge thinking in new economic approaches and social dynamics.
A balanced distribution of time and resources on skill-based and cognitive-based knowledge and between practice and theory.
Access to some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in design, Gaia theory, complexity, climate science, systems thinking, new economics and social change.
Short courses led by internationally recognised thinkers and researchers.
Short practical placements with a range of partner organisations operating at the leading edge of social innovation.
An immersive, integrative and transformational teaching and learning approach rooted in the principles established by Schumacher College and Dartington Hall, and engaged in a living and working community on and around the Dartington Estate in Devon.
Ecological Design Thinking can be applied to a wide range of contexts, from the personal to the societal. This programme aims to create a new generation of designers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, educators, researchers, consultants and activists. Graduates will have the skills and knowledge to work for sustainable change in the public and private sectors as well as in civil society, or to set up their own projects or organisations that will contribute to the transformation of society.
A ship is setting sail from England.
It’s a very old, very particular kind of ship.
It’s the magnificent, creaky timbered, curly roped, burgundy sail kind. You’ve seen bigger ships surely, and certainly more streamlined, but this one is hard to get over. It’s the kind that straightens your back and brings a tear to your eye as you shyly lift your gaze to its regal shape. This is the kind of ship that shouldn't exist anymore.
Standing on the dock in the dusking light, you can hear singing carried over the waves, and excited laughter. Figures are calling to you from the deck, beckoning to you, calling to you in your old names. These are the names no one should know, the ancient names, how can this possibly be happening?
The evening moon is emerging from behind clouds. But let us lean forward, the captain is lifting her lantern: To all scholar-explorers and heretical investigators … there is something pressing to say, something urgent. This is an invitation.
We are setting sail to un-map the world.
Join us for this voyage … the world’s first postgraduate programme in Myth and Ecology – The Mundus Imaginalis.
In a time when every square inch of the globe seems to be neutered, quartered and googled, we intrepids are journeying out to glimpse the Otherworld that is secreted most wonderfully in this one - to peer into the steaming foliage and bright feathered world that still exists underneath the grid - whilst we still can. The hour is late.
This is an Otherworld that wriggles in your fist like the archaic trout of the smoky Thames and disappears (carrying all of Shakespeare in its scales) when we attempt to tell it what-it-is. This right-by-our-side Otherworld causes ink to slide off the page and evaporate when we produce the T-square too avidly.
We set sail to do nothing less ambitious than to court the mysteries: the small and gentle ones, the elaborate and complex gnashing teethed ones, the ones you glimpsed at the edge of your garden when you were little. We set sail to un-map our presumption that we know what the earth is.
When we un-map the world, we start the un-colonising of our own imagination and we move from personal fantasy to an imagination that is bigger than ourselves. We understand that psyches don’t only dwell within, we dwell amidst them, and their imagination help create our reality every day. When we un-map the world it starts to talk back to us, we begin to trail not trap. We start to witness not just thinking about the earth, but thoughts from the earth.
Our travels through the waters of time and place will bring us to people and traditions where the weaving of the human and non-human are at their most permeable, their most acute and most sophisticated. In the end, we will trade our tired maps for the best compass of all, the one that really matters - a truth north - what the Troubadours called ‘the educated heart’. It is time, as the poets say; ‘to think in ways we’ve never thought before’. It is time to trade comfort for shelter.
Make no mistake, study awaits. An un-gridded world reveals not just knowledge but wisdom, an un-mapped world will reveal not chaos but cosmos. With that wisdom, with that cosmos, comes tangible learning and focused application. Be prepared. This will be the most exacting journey. Take not one single step towards the gangplank without knowing that we take no passengers. So, here we stand on the dock. It is night, but the scholar-explorers are preparing to raise anchor. The captain leans forward with her lantern one more time, peers towards us and asks:
“Shall we go?”
This is a residential and immersive postgraduate programme that takes imagination seriously. It is delivered by Schumacher College, and is validated by University of Wales Trinity Saint David and led by mythologist Dr Martin Shaw and anthropologist Dr Carla Stang. Carla brings her knowledge of different cultures, her fieldwork and phenomenological study, Martin brings mythology and two decades of work as a wilderness rites-of-passage guide. As they rove through mythology, anthropology, philosophy and poetics, they will also invite guest teachers on a module by module basis.
This is a year-long programme where you will walk in and out of other centuries. It will be a deep and exacting study of image, cosmology, storytelling, myth and lived experience that reaches out to an earth that is profoundly more than human. From Amazonia to Siberia, from the Hermetic, Troubadour, Sufi and Romantic faiths and traditions, we are journeying out to study cultures that celebrate a world ensouled, alive and radiating intelligence.
The main counterweights of the year will be a progression through western mythologies (many hidden or barely remembered), and the lived philosophy of the Mehinaku people of Amazonia. There will be the study of many other lifeworlds, together with which we will learn how people in different times and places have and do respond to an earthy consciousness of extraordinary wonder, regarding such as both magical and utterly ordinary. Such experiential study is how we will begin to tune our ear.
Cloistered in the beautiful setting of the Dartington estate and upon the wild moors of Devon, England, is the chance to apprentice to subtle and often secret knowledge, the reason being that we are living in a time when many of these secrets need to become public, need to be practiced and need to be lived. In doing so we encounter the wonder of ordinary reality and that far from being a rarefied state available to only a few, we will find that a dynamic relationship to what the neo-platonists called the ‘Anima Mundi’- is our natural state.