Schumacher College
Book Here

Ecological Facilitation: A gritty and creative approach to leadership

Photo: Steve Marshall

27 February – 5 March, 2011

Jenny Mackewn and Toni Spencer

This course is open for bookings.

A change in direction is what’s needed, and at the core of this course is the urgent question of culture change. Whether you are an experienced facilitator seeking a fresh approach or improved ecological awareness, or new to this field but wanting skills to lead and facilitate change in others – this course brings together the radical thinking that will enable you to be part of leading this transition.

Course Overview

This new kind of leadership requires questioning, reflection and adaptation. This practical and evocative course will enable students to better facilitate and lead groups to address the complex challenges of creating a sustainable future brings.

We invite individuals from community, business or educational settings to come together as a group where you will be encouraged and guided to find new and creative answers to questions like:

Together we will create a vibrant learning community, providing opportunities for you to practice and explore your own skills and qualities as an ecological facilitator. You will leave resourced and ready to make a difference.

Course Detail

Drawing from the fields of complexity theory, deep ecology, and participative democracy, we start with the assumption that our current ecological and social crisis stems from deeply embedded cultural habits and that we need new kinds of leadership and facilitation that is courageous in catalysing change: individual and collective.

Working with the real-life professional issues of participants, we will hold a collective inquiry into the practice of ecological facilitation and leadership.

Key themes to be explored are: working with uncertainty and the unknown, relational practice, working with / within nature, the unfolding of the sensuous field, and facilitation as leadership.

The programme will be practical, challenging and fun.

Areas covered will include:

Photo: Michael Beaton

We will work with our ‘many ways of knowing’ and engage our intellectual, somatic, emotional and indigenous intelligences.

The course will include:

The course will include some on-line engagement and reading before the start date and the opportunity to continue learning afterwards.

The course is intended for: Facilitators, leaders, educators, organisational consultants, artists, community leaders, change agents, activists, all those working with change within organisations and all those working with groups engaged with questions of sustainability. We welcome those with little experience alongside highly experienced practitioners wishing to refresh and advance their work. From this dynamic mix we will create a strong learning community.

What is eco-facilitation?

Our contributors tell us in their own words…

Jenny Mackewn: Ecological facilitation takes facilitator leaders beyond the individualistic and organisation-centred concerns which have come to dominate the 20 and 21 centuries, to attend to the wider and fundamental socio-ecological and cultural concerns which are now urgent.

Toni Spencer: The emerging field of ‘ecological facilitation’ looks to healthy, dynamic ecosystems for guidance in approaching change. It provides a logical and instinctive starting point for new leadership towards a sustainable world. In this work, we engage with participatory approaches that allow for the emergent wisdom of a group, and invite an interest in all aspects of the whole. We also engage with the idea of an ecological self as leader, bringing new experience and new insight to the process of change. This is wonderfully creative and deeply challenging work.


Jenny Mackewn regularly leads, facilitates and catalyses sustainable change in corporate, community and academic settings. She is a creative-catalyst in limitednowhere and is a visiting fellow at the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice (CARPP) where she was director of a unique programme in facilitation as a form of action research. She has written a chapter in the Sage Handbook of Action Research on facilitation and leadership as forms of action inquiry , and is a national trainer for the Transition Towns and Cities movement. She is currently co-creating a programme about developing resilience in organisations.

Photo by Mel Risebrow

Toni Spencer is on the Faculty at Schumacher College and has been leading on the innovative Schumacher Certificate in Education For Sustainability, designing, facilitating and teaching on the course using a wide variety of facilitation techniques and approaches. She has also co-designed and run a number of Schumacher Short Courses. Alongside this she is a freelance facilitator elsewhere including Embercombe and Transition Town Totnes. She is also engaged in a re-emerging art practice and a growing practice as a wild food forager and teacher.
She holds a BA in Fine Art and a MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice. Previous professional work has been with organisations including Goldsmiths, as a Lecturer in Eco Design, Forum For the Future, the Social Venture Network, Attainable Utopias, Wallpaper* Magazine as one of the founding editorial team, and Wink Media.

Toni’s facilitation and coaching practice is fed by both professional and personal experience in the fields of Art and Eco Design, embodiment practices, The Work That Reconnects, Deep Ecology, Permaculture and new social ventures.

What participants said about this course earlier this year

An experience of working with a group of peers who facilitate on ecological issues from a place of deep self-awareness.

It was a very full week – intense – I was saturated by the end but theis is exactly what I wanted.

Excellent. Inspirational and motivational. Well informed.

Very intensive course, good mix of experiential and theory both in group and as individuals.

Building consensus, exploring ideas, values and assumptions is critical to deep organisatinal change and achievements in marketing so this course feels so vital at this moment.

Course Fees

£850 (This course runs from Sunday PM to Saturday AM)
All course fees include accommodation, food, field trips and all teaching sessions.

For further information about Schumacher College please see About the College


Click here to access our on-line booking system

click here to find out how to book by fax or mail

Reserve your place now

To provisionally reserve a place for 5 days, email us your contact details and the name of the course

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.

Like us on Facebook Our Twitter stream Like us on Google+ Follow us on LinkedIn Flickr Photostream Schumacher College Soundcloud Donate
Sign-up for our newsletter...
DONATE Part of the Dartington Hall Trust
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