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Conflict, Change and Reconciliation: Learning from the Frontline

July 4-6, 2012

This course is open for bookings.

Teachers: Patrick Magee, Jo Berry & Andrew Woodward

Many people today feel their voices are not heard and that they are powerless to affect what goes on around them. This sense of powerlessness can lead to apathy or explode into violence: frustrated people blame others for their lack of power, and see themselves as victims of circumstance. It is a phenomenon that we are witnessing all around the world, from shanty towns and war-torn states to inner city housing estates terrorised by gangs, and it is one of the most difficult problems facing society today.

Course detail

This participatory workshop will hear from people who have dealt with conflict and violence at the most immediate, personal level and followed the brave and demanding path of reconciliation. They will open with a dialogue of their experiences surrounding the IRA’s Brighton bombing campaign against the Conservative Government. Jo’s father, Sir Anthony Berry MP, was killed in the explosion. Patrick planted the bomb at The Grand hotel in October 1985. He was a full member of the IRA. They will challenge the group on their ideas of who and what a terrorist looks like and who a victim might be, and will introduce and reflect on the value of dialogue.

Participants will be invited to explore their own fears and prejudice within a “council” setting which creates a momentum for personal conflict resolution through the art of dialogue. By turning our attention to those we feel are in conflict with us, we open ourselves to the opportunity for mutual understanding. During the workshop, participants will work with different issues to explore these challenges, and will bring them together to create their own set of personal goals based on insights they have gained.

Drawing on social theories of change and collective action, the sessions will grapple with questions of identity, resource mobilisation, organisational structures and the effectiveness of social movements. What kinds of people tend to join movements and why? What lessons can be learned for (and from) the green movement and others working for social change?

About the teachers

Jo Berry

Jo’s life is proof of the power of the human spirit in overcoming tragedy and is a demonstration of responding to violence with non-violence. When an IRA bomb, planted in the Grand Hotel in Brighton killed Sir Anthony Berry, MP, and Jo’s father, she was devastated. Rather than harbour hatred and anger, she determined to draw meaning from this tragedy, deepening not only her own understanding but also seeking to pass that on to others. She journeyed to Ireland to meet other victims of terrorism and finally, the man who planted the bomb, Patrick Magee. Jo has worked for over 10 years to resolve conflict around the world. She has worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Forgiveness Project), the All Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues, Combatants for Peace, The Basque Movement and campaigned against the death penalty. In 2009 Jo launched the charity Building Bridges for Peace. She is committed to see humanity in everyone and understand the roots of violence. She is Visiting Fellow at the Institution of Democracy and Conflict Transformation, University of Essex

Dr Patrick Magee

Patrick was born in Belfast but moved with his family to Norwich when he was two years old. He returned to Belfast at the age of 18 in 1969, and joined the IRA soon afterwards. By the height of the troubles in the 1970s, Pat had been made an officer and was responsible for the development of bombs. He was responsible for the Brighton bombing that killed 5 people and injured 34. Pat was imprisoned in 1985 but released as part of the Good Friday agreement in 1999. He has been working with Jo Berry to achieve reconciliation with opposing groups in Northern Ireland and Palestine. He has also worked with Desmond Tutu on the Forgiveness Project. Whilst in prison he earned a PhD in ‘Troubles’ literature.

Andrew Woodward

Andrew is interested in the art of dialogue and its uses in alternative forms of organizing. He has spent many years in the consulting profession working with people in Africa, Asia and Europe to attain greater levels of effectiveness through emerging social process. He started designing programmes that ‘provoked and challenged’ whilst at Alexander Proudfoot Consulting from 1999 and has continued in this vain with workshops for the Department of Health and various Adult Social Care providers across England. His approach normally challenges conventional wisdom and personal dogma bringing forward alternative ways of viewing the world.
Andrew is a Director of Faculty Partnership, a community interest company which aims to support social business growth and a Partner at Delta Economics LLP, a trade modeling and forecasting provider.

Course Fees


All course fees include accommodation, food, field trips and all teaching sessions.

For further information about Schumacher College please see About the College


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We will hold the place for five working days for reservations – three weeks before a course or earlier. After five days we will automatically offer your place to someone else if we have not received your application.

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Schumacher College is part of the Dartington Hall Trust, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and as a charity (company no. 1485560, charity no. 279756). Registered office: The Elmhirst Centre, Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL, United Kingdom