Student Profile - Evelyn Roe

1. What had you been doing prior to beginning your PG course at Schumacher College?

Prior to coming to Schumacher College, I had been doing ethnobotanical research in southern Africa. This was raising a lot of questions for me about methodologies and ethics, so I signed up for an ethnobotany Masters course at Kent...meanwhile dreaming of Schumacher College, as you’ll read below! The way things worked out – through a rich combination of synchronicity and bursaries – I was able to join the Holistic Science programme in 2012.

2. What was it that made you want to take the programme?

I first heard about the course from the late Frank Cook, an inspiring herbalism teacher and researcher. He wandered by my home in rural Zambia and talked about studying at a special college in south-west England. It caught my attention because Frank was from the USA (or Turtle Island, as he called it), and I was curious why, of all the international colleges he might attend, he would choose one in Devon. I had a look at the MSc programme online in my reed hut on an island in the Zambezi River, printed out a copy, and read it every year for five years.

I felt the programme would allow me to explore deeper relationships between ‘green beings’ (as Frank called plants) and ourselves. Conventional ethnobotany invites inquiry into human-plant relationships, but its approach tends to be reductionist and utilitarian. It was a decision made by my heart, not my intellect, to come to Schumacher College.

3. Describe your time at the College.

My time at the college was a rare period when I felt utterly held, inspired, challenged, moved, and expanded (and I’m not referring to the amazing food, by the way!).  I grew, and am still growing, from the continuing exchange of ideas and experiences with the wonderful tutors, fellow students, volunteers, and all the staff.

4. What have you gone on to do since leaving the College?

Since completing my Masters, I’ve had opportunities to be involved with the work of Schumacher College in various ways: as Learning Facilitator for the MSc programme in 2014; facilitating short courses; general volunteering; and now I’ve taken on the role of Coordinator for the First International Gaia Symposium and Festival, which is planned for June 2018.

I’m also continuing to explore plant-human relationships, particularly through Goethe’s way of science, a phenomenological approach which I learned about at Schumacher College.

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