Schumacher College
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Creativity and Social Innovation

20 – 24 September, 2010

Kate Davies, Jonathan Robinson

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The need to organise just about all human activities differently has never been more urgent, and yet our society seems stuck in a kind of inertia which prevents any substantial change in how it operates.

Course Overview

Established models of social change and activism may no longer be the most effective in a world of information overload, social alienation, gross inequality and massive – but barely understood – global interdependence. In such circumstances, it is vital to think creatively about new ways to engage people and new models of working together for a better future.

How can we create sustainable human systems – social, organizational, political and economic? What methods and processes help generate innovative social change? What are the skills of successful change agents? Kate Davies will introduce participants on this course to a range of techniques. They will consider and work with collaborative leadership, adaptive thinking, social reflection, experiential learning and other strategies necessary for addressing the complex challenges faced by our society. The focus will be on creativity as a social process rather than an attribute of individuals, and the group will work with improvisation, brainstorming, and other innovative practices.

Jonathan Robinson will discuss how people with good ideas can be helped to make their ideas actually happen. For this, they need access to resources, connections, knowledge and investment – and they need all this to be provided in a way that doesn’t crush their innovative spirit. The Hub concept has grown out of the need to move from a top-down state-led provision of enterprise support to an entirely new model – one that works with the “spaces in between”. Jonathan will describe the many different models of Hub – from global to neighbourhood – which are being developed to respond to a wide variety of social challenges and discuss with participants the potential for new ways to empower and support changemakers.


Kate Davies is on the core faculty of the Center for Creative Change at Antioch University. Originally trained as a biochemist, she also holds a graduate degree in cultural anthropology and social transformation. Her interests include social change and social movements, sustainability, environmental health, social justice and public policy. She has more than 25 years of environmental experience as a program manager, consultant and senior government adviser in Canada and internationally. She has taught at the University of Toronto and the Queen’s University.

Jonathan Robinson is a writer, strategist and entrepreneur working in the field of social innovation. His ideas have taken form in Johannesburg, New Delhi, Oslo, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Toronto and London. He is co-founder and executive director of The Hub, a multi-sited incubator for social innovation currently located in London, Bristol and Johannesburg. Jonathan is also co-author of the book Careers Un-Ltd and works with agencies including The Tate Modern, UNICEF, Barcelona City Council, FT Prentice Hall and the London Development Agency. He thrives on collaborations with a multi-disciplinary team of architects, scientists, investors, filmmakers and activists.

Course Fees

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


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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