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

Status message

This event has now passed

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

Anne-Marie Culhane, Ruth Ben Tovim and Lucy Neal

£ 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.
This course is full.

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”

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

This course is full.
Anne-Marie Culhane, Ruth Ben Tovim and Lucy Neal

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 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 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.

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847212