To do things differently, it helps to connect with new people and contexts. Universities and design schools seldom make that easy. Our xskool and City Eco Lab encounters aspire to meet this need – but there are many other experimental schools, courses and events out there. This handout contains the most interesting ones we’ve found so far. It includes [with their permission] the findings of a scoping study for Schumacher College in England. No quality judgment is implied by inclusion in (or omission from) this list. If we have made any mistakes here, or you would like to suggest an addition to this list, please email: john (at) doorsofperception dot com
The International Youth Initiative Program (YIP) is a new social entrepreneur training in Järna, Sweden, for youth aged 18 to 25 who want to create a positive social change in the world. A course in how to bring your own initiative into being.
Portugal, Tamera Summer University
The Peace Research Center Tamera in Portugal is “a test field for a new culture, a model community working on technological, ecological and social answers for global challenges…The draft of a desirable future, one that a growing number of people will find plausible and realistic, is the number one priority on today’s agenda”. This year’s theme: From Refusal to Re-Creation 01 – 10. August 2012
The KaosPilots aspires to become Scandinavia’s most attractive, modern, value-based entrepreneur educational program. A 3-year long education for young entrepreneurs and project leaders with a creative edge and a global mind. The school is located in Aarhus, Denmark making up the homebase of the Danish KaosPilot education while also being the international network of KaosPilot schools and educational programs.
Sweden, Blekinge Institute for Technology
The Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainabiltiy (MSLS] masters programme is founded on the basic premise that a whole-system, transdisciplinary approach is needed to deal with the sustainability challenge of meeting our society’s needs today and into the future. The programme is delivered in a non-traditional educational setting with experiential and holistic learning methods. Two integrated streams are the focus: 1) a framework for strategic sustainable development; and 2) organisational learning and leadership required for sustainability decision-making.
Denmark, International Centre for Innovation and Sustainability, Hornbaek
ICIS “educates creative professionals in the concept of radical, yet sustainable development, and how to implement its principles within design, architecture, industry, business and policymaking. The vision is environmental, economic and social wellbeing of individuals, groups of citizens, societies and the world at large.The mission is to stimulate new, innovative and more responsible ways of thinking, living and working”.
“As a school we educate young creative entrepreneurial spirits. We believe it is our job to enable, facilitate, empower and inspire our students to become change makers. As a platform we connect our students, partners, staff, advisory board and a wide network of professional and volunteer experts/contributors to share talents, creative ideas and inspiration. We aim to initiate positive change”
Italy, Damanhur (Valchiusella Valley, Baldissero Canavese)
Damanhur “promotes a culture of peace and balanced development through solidarity, voluntary work, respect for the environment, art and social and political commitment. It is a member of GEN (Global Eco-villages Network); the principal objective of these communities and research centres is to support and encourage the evolution of sustainable settlements throughout the world.
Italy, Officine Al Sole, Bettona
A multi-purpose space where sustainable ideas and practices are elaborated through three poles of activity, closely related to our daily lives: Nurture, Grow and Produce. “We offer a concrete initiative for working, researching, learning providing services aimed at shifting our society towards change, while retaining a holistic and balanced vision of living”.
Netherlands, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), Rotterdam
Transitions are structural societal changes resulting from interacting cultural, economic, technological, behavioural, ecological or institutional developments. Research about transitions and transition management focuses on the interconnected parts of this dynamic interplay, and addresses issues like: How do transitions come into being? How to recognise them in an early stage? How to envision and manage them? How to monitor them?
Netherlands, Nature College Foundation, Nijmegen
The NatureCollege Foundation offers a means towards reviving the relationship between humans and nature at all levels of awareness. This is achieved by drawing upon the healing power of the synergies between nature and humans, and by redefining the relations between all aspects of life within the eco-system. Equivalence is our starting point”.
Norway, Sunniva, Academy of Human Education, Oslo
Teaching in the holistic sciences and other subjects – including Gaia Studies - leads to a Bachelor and Masters of Arts in Holistic Leadership. Other courses include Human Power, a personal development course taking you from where you are and who you are. “We are also developing campus-activities, arts, culture, painting, talking and walking, discussions. The basic approach is to teach how to think using your conscious, your unconscious mind, your superconsciousness and your intuition. People of all ages and backgrounds are attending”.
Sweden, Holma College of integral Studies, Skane Lan
We provide a unique one-year program in integral education, studying Integral Philosophy and Spiral Dynamics, Dialogue and Transformative Communication, as well as Alternative Projecteering and Leadership. Through our innovative approach to learning, we foster the conditions for students to develop as agents of change. Holma College is also a community sharing the values of living sustainably and evolving spiritually. As part of our integral spirituality, we utilize yoga, meditation, and other contemplative practices.
Israel, Lotan Center for Creative Ecology – Kibbutz Lotan, Eilat
Kibbutz Lotan is a young community situated in the Arava Desert in the south of Israel. “We are far away from urban Israel in a quiet area in beautiful desert surroundings. Hebrew is the commonly used language but English is also spoken. Our economy is based on date plantations, dairy, tourism, holistic health center, field crops, mariculture and various professions held by members who work outside of the kibbutz. Presently we number 55 adult members and around 60 children”.
England, Schumacher College
Schumacher College “educates for sustainability”. The design-related courses we run deal with design for sustainability in general, biomimicry and systems thinking. Things, projects, systems, activities, processes that help recreate or maintain balance between the natural habitat and the way we live. Keep diversity in design, and make sure that lives are enhanced and the resource platform is not depleted or damaged in the process. Offers a MSc in Holistic Science, a Certificate in Education and transdisciplinary short courses. Worldview: “we have globally reached a pivotal moment where we have to address the need for sustainable lifestyles and more positive human relationships. Unique because of its community life and being the first with a postgraduate degree in Holistic Science”.
England, Centre for Human Ecology
The Centre for Human Ecology offers a unique and globally recognised MSc in Human Ecology. Ffounded in 1972, CHE is an independent academic institute, network and registered charity based in Glasgow, Scotland. It exists to stimulate and support fundamental change towards ecological and social justice through education, action and research, drawing on a holistic, multidisciplinary understanding of environmental and social systems. Its approach “engages head, heart, and hand – integrating reason, passion, and action for a better world”.
The Ashridge MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility is a two year part-time Masters programme based on a series of eight intensive residential workshops, each of five days’ duration. Six workshops are based at Ashridge and two are usually offsite. Gill Coleman, Chris Seeley and Tim Malnick were all involved in the New Academy of Business founded by Anita Roddick and were part of the team running the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice at Bath.
“We have discovered that the environment in which teaching happens is as important as the teaching itself”. At the cutting edge of the sustainability global movement, Findhorn offers accredited courses in a truly holistic learning environment that facilitates balanced development of mind, body, relationships, emotions and spirit. Unique for its partnerships with other institutions (University of Massachusetts; Gaia University; Living Routes; CAT and Schumacher College). Recognises the interdependence of all life is at the heart of education here. Experiential, living, and transformative education.
Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
CAT is concerned with the search for globally sustainable, whole and ecologically sound technologies and ways of life. CAT explores and demonstrates a wide range of alternatives, communicating to other people the options for them to achieve positive change in their own lives. Courses offered in the Graduate School of the Environment examine environmental issues, energy and buildings. Unique for its large number of people of all ages that it reaches, teaches and inspires.
England, Forum For The Future
The Masterclass focuses on the role of leaders in mainstreaming sustainable development within an organisation. Jonathon Porritt will guide you through the key issues –providing provocation, insight and experience in equal measure. The Masterclass is designed for leaders from all sectors and all functions including strategy, HR, marketing, business development, finance and customer relations. It provides the ideal opportunity to share learning on UK, sustainable development and develop contacts with other leaders.
England,Embercombe, Exeter, Devon
Embercombe – Inspiring Committed Action for a Truly Sustainable World – is “a charity established to champion a way of living that celebrates the opportunities inherent in this challenging time and that inspires people to energetically contribute towards the emergence of a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling human presence on earth.We run inspiring programmes for schools, families, individuals, businesses and organisations, and currently hire Embercombe out as a venue”.
Wales, Gaia Coach Institute, Abergavenny
The Gaia Coach Institute, based on a 136-acre farm in the beautiful Black Mountains of Wales, focuses on the twin themes of personal and planetary renewal. “Our deepest concern is leadership. We seek to model three vital aspects of 21st century leadership – respect for Gaia the living Earth, coaching skills and being rooted where you are.
London, South Bank University, Education for Sustainability
Make a difference by becoming an agent for change through studying on the Education for Sustainability (EFS) post-graduate programme. The programme has 13 years of experience in enabling participants to take education for sustainability theory and apply it to practical contexts. Choose the speed at which you wish to study; two or four units per year distance learning, or eight units in one year on the fast track course.
Scotland, Pishwanton – Life Science Trust, Gifford, East Lothian
The Pishwanton Wood Project is a place of learning with a difference, set in 60 acres of semi-woodland at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian, Scotland. A centre for environmental education offers research and therapy, creating opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to renew and deepen their relationship to nature. Our work is inspired by the methodology pioneered by the German poet, playwright and natural scientist, J. W. v. Goethe whose work in integrating science and art points the way towards a more holistic understanding and sense of connection with nature.
England, Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF), Plymouth
Students across the University and its network of 18 partner colleges will be provided with opportunities to engage critically with sustainability agendas and their social, ethical, professional and personal implications. The impact on student learning will be reinforced through opportunities for action research projects into the greening of the campus and into community and regional sustainability initiatives. A key criterion for evaluating the CETL will be the level of sustainability literacy achieved across the student body, so that they leave the University equipped with the values, skills and knowledge to drive the sustainability agenda forward in their personal and professional liveshttp://csf.plymouth.ac.uk/
England, Language & Ecology, Cheltenham
A fifteen week module taught by Arran Stibbe begins with a description of what happens when oral languages, fine-tuned to local ecological conditions, are displaced by the global spread of written languages. This is followed by sessions which investigate the potential ecological harm caused when certain discursive constructions of progress, economic growth, material consumption, success and convenience are spread on a global scale. The course then looks at discourses such as environmentalism, ecology and wildlife conservation, asking whether they can provide genuine alternatives to destructive discourses or whether they are are based on similar assumptions. The last part of the module involves exploration of a range of very different discourses, from the lyrical science writing of Rachel Carson, to romantic poetry, haiku and documentary films in a search for alternative discourses which have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable society.
England, Natural Change Project
The Natural Change Project explores how experiences of the natural world inspire people to live sustainably. In addition to this personal process, Natural Change also equips participants with the skills, insights and motivation to lead others towards a more sustainable future.The Natural Change Approach brings together a small, influential group of people to participate in a programme of wilderness workshops. These combine personal development, experiential learning, mentoring, reflection time, group discussion, and a deep exploration of leadership and social change processes.
England, Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development
At the heart of the 10-month programme is the link between learning about the concept and practice of sustainability and applying those ideas in the real world. Students take up placements in various sectors including NGOs, Local/Regional and Central Government, leading Businesses and the Media.
England, Zone 5, Sustainable Land-Use
Observation of the natural world is the starting point of permaculture design.Whitefield helps us gain an insight into the myriad of the many natural and human processes that make up our landscape, and how to interpret their hidden indications. Permaculture means learning from nature. The aim is to make our lives more sustainable and more productive while reducing the work and energy required. We do this by taking nature as the model for designing our own houses, gardens, farms, woodlands, towns and villages.
England, HRH Prince of Wales Business & the Environment Program
Developed and run by the University of Cambridge BEP is the premier international forum for executive learning on sustainable business. The Program helps senior executives explore the business case for sustainable development and integrate sustainability principles into their organisations. The Program has introduced over 1,000 executives from over 400 organisations in more than 30 countries to the sustainability debate. They then become members of an active and influential alumni network.
London, School of Life
“We are based in a small shop in Central London where we offer a variety of programmes and services concerned with how to live wisely and well. We address such questions as why work is often unfulfilling, why relationships can be so challenging, why it’s ever harder to stay calm and what one could do to try to change the world for the better. You’ll meet other curious, sociable and open-minded people in an atmosphere of exploration and enjoyment.
England, Reset Development
RESET’s purpose is to expand the awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity of communities and professionals in the resilience of our built environment. RESET does this by: providing practical hands-on training for a range of beneficiaries; running an advocacy campaign (running competitions, conferences, events & exhibitions); promoting low-carbon sustainable design conducting research and producing reports that support our other activites supporting community groups that wish to help improve their built environment by embarking on their own sustainable building project
England, School for Social Entrepreneurs
SSE exists to provide training and opportunities to enable people to use their creative and entrepreneurial abilities more fully for social benefit. SSE supports individuals to set up new charities, social enterprises and social businesses across the UK.
Sunrise Off-Grid Festival
Not too big, not too small and with lots of interesting people and stuff going on. As well as the Transition Tin Village with a host of talks and workshops, here are some of the other delights at Sunrise Off-Grid: The Off-Grid College (a 12 module course covering all the essentials for Off Grid living) • Live music in the Solar Main Stage • Open Discussion Hub • The Post-Economic X-Change • Transition Towns Tin Village • Leading Off Grid Experts • Sustainable Communities Hub • Avalon Rising & Ancient Futures – talks and workshops • Buddhafield Café • Solar Cinema • Kids Area – Feat. Forest School • Traditional Fair • Healing Area • Permaculture Garden • Mass Sitewide Games • Luxury Camping with Hearthworks • Medical Herbalists • Temple Spaces • Green Crafts & Alt technologies • Practical Activism • Crop Circle/Henge • SOL Sunrise Complementary Currency • Hot Showers • Sauna
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