Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Art of Invitation: Activating Ourselves and our Communities through Creative Engagement in Challenging Times

Art of Invitation: Activating Ourselves and our Communities through Creative Engagement in Challenging Times

Course dates: 
Monday, 26 February, 2018 to Friday, 2 March, 2018

Anne-Marie Culhane, Ruth Ben Tovim and Lucy Neal 

The Art of Invitation team shows you how to engage different communities to become involved in creative projects; bringing people together to make social, cultural and ecological change happen

At a Glance

  • Explore strategies of collective engagement and agency for change
  • Explore the relationship between imagination and transformation
  • Learn how to use artistic approaches to engage communities in active participation

About This Course

This course was so rich and powerful. It was a gorgeous, plentiful delight on all levels. The facilitators and teachers were quite remarkable and this week was without doubt the most powerful educative experience I have ever had.’  - Past Course Participant

Our facilitators are all artists who have developed groundbreaking approaches to inviting people to share a collective creative responses to systemic challenges facing their communities
The week includes inspirational case studies, specialist workshops, practical group work, 1:1 mentoring to develop your own practice and time to reflect on your work.
We will explore the importance of careful and creative project design as an integral part of the course and we will allocate time with you to exploring new ideas or to developing ideas you are already working on.

Who is this for?

The Art of Invitation is open for anyone looking to engage people collectively in responding creatively to social, cultural and ecological challenges. The course appeals to people from a range of backgrounds from social enterprises, community and co-operative workers to grassroots activists, artists and campaigners as well as researchers, teach-ers, academics and management consultants.

What will you gain?

We can help you develop new skills to foster and influence the process of change.  We show you how to turn ideas into creative ways to engage your community.  You will come away with fresh insights to resource your current projects and launch new ones.

What will you be asked to think about?
• How can we bring people together who are diverse in age, experience and background?
• How do we reach out to new groups and invite people to join in?
• What issues concern our community?  What skills do they people already have?
• How do participants create ownership of their work?

Feedback from previous participants:

‘This course was so rich and powerful, It was a gorgeous, plentiful delight on all levels. The facilitators and teachers were quite remarkable and this week was without doubt the most powerful educative experience I have ever had.’

“Excellent/amazing course, carefully and skilfully crafted and hosted.”

“The course exceeded all expectations. The range of tutors created a very rich content yet with lots of space for us to contribute and have that contribution valued”

A little bit about the team:

Anne-Marie Culhane

Anne-Marie creates events, performances and long term projects that invite people into an active and enquiring relationship with each other and the land working as artist, activist and collaborator across a range of disciplines. Projects include Abundance (co-created with Stephen Watts), winner of Observer Ethical Award Grassroots project, 2010 and Eat Your Campus working with the School of the Arts & the Sustainability Team at Loughborough University, winner Guardian University Awards Sustainable Project 2014 and A Little Patch of Ground with Encounters Arts in 4 different UK cities. She has recently worked on residencies for CCANW (Soil Cultures), Exeter University on a residency with Professor Tim Lenton (Chair in Climate Change/Earth System Science) and a year-long project with 42 people exploring the food system from multiple perspectives by growing a 22-acre Field of Wheat together.

Ruth Ben TovimRuth Ben Tovim

Ruth is the founder of Encounters and since 2003 has used the transformational power of the arts to work creatively with thousands of people across the UK.  Ruth has delivered over 40 projects with Encounters, including representing the UK at the Venice Bienale of Architecture and creative projects for Liverpool Capital of Culture, inaugral commission for the Arts for Social change programme in Peterborough delivered by the  RSA, Creative Engagement for Atmos Totnes the UK’s first Community Right to Build Order, and Ageing Well Creative Consultation for Torbay Community Development Trust, commended in the 2016 Arts and Health South West Annual awards. Ruth also works as a freelance dramaturg and group facilitator.

Lucy NealeLucy Neal

Lucy Neal is a theatre maker and community activist, interested in how celebratory events act as a catalyst for change. Co-founder Director of the influential London International Festival of Theatre - LIFT (1981-2005), she has been an active player in the global grassroots Transition movement since 2008 and initiator of Transition Town Tooting.  Her recent book Playing for Time - Making Art As If the World Mattered, published in 2015, and co-written with 60 artists and activists, maps collaborative arts practices emerging in response to planetary challenges. Lucy is Happiness Associate of the Happy Museum Project, ( co-author of MMM’s Sustainable Ability ( and co-founder of The Case For Optimism ( She is co-author of The Turning World - stories from the London International Festival of Theatre (Gulbenkian) and was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to drama.

This course is delivered in Association with the MA in Ecological Design Thinking

£ 595.00
Course fees include private accommodation, all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon, and includes four nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. We ask you to arrive between 11:30 - 1 on the first day of your course so that the group can begin the experience by dining together. We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details. This course is part of Schumacher College's MA Ecological Design Thinking postgraduate programme and is open to external participants.