Courses Overview >> Postgraduate Programmes >> Movement, Mind, and Ecology

Movement, Mind, and Ecology

Key Info

  • Be introduced to methods of practice led inquiry that involve physical engagement with the more-than-human world
  • Develop your own active, physical practice that can be used to help communities embrace their own connections with place
  • Draw from the surrounding landscape of Dartington and Devon in your work

About this course*

This programme explores the rich intersection of embodied practice, environmental philosophy, and ecological thinking. Literally grounded in the experience of its participants to place, this programme has the capacity to reshape our relationship to place, to nature, and to ourselves. We live in an era when climate change has become broadly accepted, yet the majority of economic, social, and legislative systems have not substantively changed to meet the challenges of a warming climate.

This programme gives students the tools to bring about that change, by helping communities and individuals reconnect with the places in which they live through physical activity, and through this fresh engagement with the lived environments provides opportunities to reframe our relationship with the more-than-human world.

* This course is subject to final approval from the University of Plymouth. Expected early 2021.

Applications are open for a June 2021 start. Click below to apply online (form opens in new window/tab).
Application deadline: 1 May 2021


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By drawing on the expertise of existing faculty and staff at Schumacher College, specialists in movement ecology, critical mobility studies, embodiment and ecosomatics, systems thinking, and on world-renowned experts in a wide range of physical pursuits – from record-holding free divers, high altitude alpinists, long-distance walkers, ultrarunners, and many others – this course will braid together, for the first time in an MA programme, students’ physical, corporeal engagement with the world with diverse threads of ecophilosophy, mindfulness, and ecological thinking.

The location of Schumacher College near to both Dartmoor National Park and the South Devon coastline presents a range of outdoor opportunities for students enrolled in the programme. Access to trail running, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, and other resources abound in the area on and around the Dartington estate. These exciting physical challenges will be complemented and extended by opportunities to reflect and reconnect with environments in order to reassess our relationship with the natural world.

Who is this programme for: Runners, walkers, mountaineers, climbers, divers, movement-based artists, and anyone else interested exploring physical activities through a combination of practice and philosophy. The programme is open to everyone, with all levels of ability, experience, and comfort moving in the outdoors.

The course draws on a breadth of expertise and experience and on a diversity of perspectives and will focus on student’s personal embodied experience, helping them to develop their own movement practice.

Throughout the programme, students will:

  • Cultivate their relationship with place through movement
  • Write about immersive experiences
  • Interrogate their perceived boundaries
  • Develop resilience in their engagement with place, self, and others
  • Explore a range of techniques with which to mediate their relationships with self through action
  • Redefine adventure and embody practice

We have developed this course with input from a range of partners in the outdoor sector including TYF adn Plas y Brenin in Wales; Dynamic Adventures in Devon, as well as athletes Lizzy Hawker and Rickey Gates.

We anticipate students to go on to take up roles in the outdoor sector and have received feedback from a number of institutions that they are very interested in working with graduates from this kind of programme. The course will also help you gain practical skills in developing your own projects in the real world, working on ecological and activist issues that incorporate movement. 

Programme information / apply now

IMPORTANT: Please ensure you consult our Applicant Information for full information on tuition fees and other key information about our courses.

You can then return to this page for programme-specific information and to make your course application.

Movement, Mind, and Ecology

Click below to apply for this course online(form opens in new window/tab).
Last chance to apply; applications will soon close for this course


Click here to download a checklist to help you with your application (pdf).

Additional Documentation in Support of your Application

After you have submitted your application, please send all necessary supporting information listed below as soon as possible to allow us to process your application. As our staff are mostly working from home at present, please send scanned copies or electronic versions of the below to:


1) Certificate(s) or transcript(s) of first degree or equivalent qualifications: these can be Original or certified copies:

Photocopies MUST be certified by a public notary or solicitor (with contact details provided for them).

Any documents that are not in English MUST be accompanied by a full translation then certified by a public notary or solicitor. All translations must be accompanied by the certificate or transcript in the original language.

Important notes for students requiring a Student Visa

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will only accept original copies of your documents during the visa application process. We are happy to accept originals, but it is safer to post certified photocopies which meet the above guidelines. Please bring the originals with you to enrolment if offered a place.

UKVI also require a full translation of any documents that are not in English.

Schumacher College is licensed under Dartington Hall Trust as a Student Visa Sponsor. To comply with our sponsorship duties, we are required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements. We will look at previous studies in the UK and other aspects outlined in UKVI guidance for sponsors. Information you provide on your application form will be passed on to the UKVI once you have been offered a place and Schumacher College agrees to sponsor you. 

2) A recent passport-size photograph

3) A copy of the front cover and information page of your current passport (inform us immediately if you get a new passport before you come to the UK to study).

4) A copy of any previous or current UK visa.

Translations of documents which are not in English

The original translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator/translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of the translation
  • the translator/an authorised official of the translation company’s full name and signature, and
  • the translator/translation company’s contact details.

Documentary requirements for Student Visa applicants can be found here. Please read the Guidance and Appendix at the bottom of the page.  

Module 1: Movement and Mind – 30 credits

By foregrounding the embodied engagement of students with natural places through a variety of different physical means, this module lays the foundation for Movement, Mind, and Ecology. The rigorous intellectual and personal inquiry set the tone and rhythm for the entire programme. In this module, students will be introduced to methods of practice led inquiry that involve physical engagement with the more-than-human world. Workshops with some of the world’s leading athletes, adventurers, place-based practitioners, and thinkers will help students make connections between the body and the world around us.

Module 2: Ecology and Embodiment – 30 credits

This module foregrounds the role of movement in ecological systems, from migration to climate adaptation to ocean currents to isostatic rebound and more. Students will engage in guided individual projects throughout the module, culminating in a final practical project that interweaves an embodied connection to place with a deeper understanding of the dynamic nature of the systems in which we are all already a part. The physiology of movement will be an ongoing theme that grounds our conversations.

Module 3: Mediating Boundaries – 30 credits

This module emphasizes seminar-style student-led class sessions to explicitly bring student experience and expertise to the classroom. The focus of the module on exploring, understanding, and challenging boundaries (between self and other, human and non-human, individual and community, and between different ecological systems) is itself mediated by ongoing physical practice. Through this guided practice, students will use a phenomenological lens with which to explore the limits of the self.

Module 4: Performing Place – 30 credits

In this final taught module, students will develop their own community-based active, physical practice that can be used to help communities embrace their own connections with place through direct action and corporeal engagement. Examples could include: developing a community walking group, starting a meditation practice for a local gardening group, adding an element of ecological education to an existing athletic event, developing and deploying ways to challenge ableist conceptions of physical activity.

Module 5: Dissertation or Final Project – 60 credits

An individual project.

Term One (Modules 1 & 2)

Welcome week: 17-18 June
Residential teaching: 21 June-24 July (5 weeks)
Off-site teaching: 26 July-3 Sept (6 weeks)

Term Two (Modules 3 & 4)

Residential teaching: 13 Sept - 1 Oct
Off-site teaching: 4-9 Oct
Field trip on location: 11 - 18 Oct
Off-site: 19 Oct - 27 Nov
Residential teaching: 29 Nov - 10 Dec

Term Three (Module 5: Dissertation/Final Project)

Off-site teaching: 10 Jan - 1 April


Dr Pavel Cenkl

Pavel has worked for more than two decades in higher education in America and has always been drawn to colleges and universities whose curriculum fully integrates learning with practice and thinking with embodiment.

Having taught and served as Dean for nearly 15 years at Vermont’s Sterling College, Pavel brings a depth of experience to Schumacher College’s unique approach to experiential learning. While pursuing research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teaching courses in environmental philosophy, Pavel is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner. Over the past five years through a project called Climate Run, Pavel has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic on foot in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

Pavel holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of many articles, chapters, and two books: Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010; and This Vast Book of Nature: Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire's White Mountains, 1784-1911. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006. He is currently working on a book titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, which threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy and reflections on what it means to be human.

Rachel Sweeney

Rachel is a practicing movement artist whose research actively seeks our transdisciplinary approaches to decolonizing body-place relationships, engaging creatively and imaginatively with cultural heritage and sustainability discourses. She is a graduate of the BA Theatre Degree at Dartington College of Arts and holds an AHRC funded PhD from Middlesex University exploring site based approaches to movement training.

Rachel has worked as Head of Dance Studies at Liverpool Hope University (2010-2021), as a Visiting Fellow for the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, and as Centre Fellow for the Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth. She is a current member of the European experimental heritage project Karum Creevagh and her research has been supported internationally through the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, Creative Ireland and CSIRO Australia, and locally through Dartmoor National Park Authorities, Teignmouth County Council and Dance in Devon.

Qualification(s) required for entry to the MA

BA/BSc (Honours) Degree A first degree
Where the first degree is not a 2.1, or in an unrelated subject, further support of the application or experience may be required.

Other non-standard awards or experience
A willingness engage with the field of Movement, Mind and Ecology. Candidates will be considered with prior credited learning and prior experiences subject to interview.* Candidates will be considered with appropriate APL (UoP Regs) subject to interview.

Interview requirements
All applicants are required to attend an interview, either at the College or online. During the interview we will look for: evidence of intellectual clarity during interview; a clearly formulated purpose for taking the course; focused interests and a clear understanding of the ethos and philosophy of the College; readiness and ability to live and work in a communal setting.

* For further information please contact our admissions team