Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Changing the Frame (spring 2021)

Changing the Frame (spring 2021)

changing the frame graphic
Key Info: 
  • Join internationally recognised scientists, writers and artists in various media, into the science underlying the process by which we make sense of the world and how we can use this knowledge to become more effective communicators
  • Explore the importance of framing, values and metaphor in transforming individual and societal narratives
  • Learn how to harness modern vehicles of mythology: television, film, internet memes

With Kate Raworth, Rob Hopkins, Tom Crompton, Manda Scott, Jonathan Dawson, Jay Tompt and others (to be announced)

£ 1895.00
Course fees include all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Thursday afternoon the last week, and includes single accommodation with shared facilities.
This course is full.

We live in a precarious moment in the fortunes of our civilisation, and indeed in those of the many species, ecosystems and future generations that find themselves threatened by it. It is a moment where a deeper and broader understanding is needed into the systemic roots of the various crises converging upon us – as well as how we might creatively respond to them.

Politically progressive researchers and writers have often laboured under the illusion that providing ‘the strongest arguments’, substantiated by copious data, would be enough to win the day. However, it is becoming increasingly recognised that effective communication is a science as well as an art, and that at least as much attention needs to be devoted to the "how" of communication as to the "what".

Of particular importance is the growing understanding of the importance of values and frames in how people make sense of the world and in guiding their attitudes and behaviours. So, campaigns to promote pro-social behaviours that appeal to people’s extrinsic values (to do, for example, with economic benefit or increased social status) may in the long run have the perverse effect of diminishing motivations deriving from intrinsic values associated with love and generosity.

Similarly, skilful use of visual and verbal/written metaphor is increasingly recognised as central to effective communication.

The course will provide an exploration of:

  • insights derived from behavioural economics and neuro-neuroscience into the process by which people make meaning in the world and form (and change) their worldviews
  • the importance of framing, values and metaphor in transforming individual and societal narratives
  • a history of the rise of today’s dominant economic narrative, neoliberalism, and the role played by skilful communication strategies in its emergence
  • the framing of alternative models and how they might be constructed in different narrative and artistic structures
  • experimenting with creative expression in the company of a gifted, international, multi-modal learning community and teachers
  • how to harness modern vehicles of mythology: television, film, internet memes
  • personal life-frames and habits; how these are conditioned by the dominant societal narratives; and how to shift inner and outer frames as mutually supportive processes 

This course is a module of our Regenerative Economics postgraduate course. It is open to external short course participants who would like to deeply explore this subject material and who can join us for the whole five week programme.

For short course participants, the first two weeks of the course [1-12 March 2021] will be residential at Schumacher College. Participants will be in class for 12 hours per week, with design group break-out sessions for an additional 12 hours. There will, in addition, be various community-based activities during which short course participants will be able to spend time with students on the various Masters programmes that are running in parallel.

Week three, week four and week five will be taught online, with 6 hours per week spent together synchronously plus a range of group activities and supported independent learning.

The course is designed to support

  • socially engaged writers and artists seeking to make their work more effective, informed by the science of communication
  • writers and artists of all kinds seeking to collaborate across artistic forms
  • campaigners seeking to integrate the arts intelligently into their work to make it more effective, fun and engaging
This course is full.
With Kate Raworth, Rob Hopkins, Tom Crompton, Manda Scott, Jonathan Dawson, Jay Tompt and others (to be announced)
Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth is a renegade economist focused on exploring the economic mindset needed to address the 21st century’s social and ecological challenges, and is the creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries.  She is a Senior Visiting Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, where she teaches on the Masters in Environmental Change and Management. She is also a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.  Her internationally acclaimed idea of Doughnut Economics has been widely influential amongst sustainable development thinkers, progressive businesses and political activists, and she has presented it to audiences ranging from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement. Her book, Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist is being published in the UK and US in April 2017 and translated into Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and Japanese.  Over the past 20 years, Kate’s career has taken her from working with micro-entrepreneurs in the villages of Zanzibar to co-authoring the Human Development Report for UNDP in New York, followed by a decade as Senior Researcher at Oxfam.

Rob Hopkins

Rob Hopkins

Rob Hopkins is co-founder of Transition Town Totnes and the Transition Network. He has many years’ experience in education, teaching permaculture and natural building, and set up the first 2-year full-time permaculture course in the world in Kinsale, Ireland, which was also the first community to develop an Energy Descent Action Plan. Futhermore, Rob set up the Hollies Centre for Practical Sustainability in Ireland. He is author of The Transition Handbook and The Transition Companion, and publishes, recently voted the 4th best green blog in the UK.

Tom Crompton

Tom Crompton

Tom Crompton has worked on values and social change for nearly a decade, initially with WWF’s, whose work whose work in this area, Common Cause, started in 2008 with the publication of Tom’s report Weathercocks and Signposts. Currently, Tom is engaged in a productive collaboration involving WWF and Scope that is allowing them to test many of the principles advanced through Common Cause. Tom is now coordinating the establishment of The Common Cause Foundation.  His other publications include Meeting Environmental Challenges (co-authored with Tim Kasser).

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

Manda Scott is a novelist and spiritual teacher . Formerly a veterinary surgeon, she is author of the Boudica: Dreaming books and has taught for the past two years on the ‘Changing the Frame’ course at Schumacher college.  Since the publication of the Deep Adaptation paper in 2018, she has made it her focus to explore the ways by which we might make the next evolutionary step in humanity’s development, believing that a combination of the most recent neuroscience and ancient spiritual practice will provide us with a route to a different future.

Jonathan Dawson

Jonathan Dawson

Jonathan Dawson is a sustainability educator, currently working as coordinator of Schumacher College’s innovative Economics for Transition postgraduate programme. He has a deep fascination with the power of narrative and language to shape how we understand the world and as a potential source of radical change in the norms, values and behaviours of our societies.  Until recently a long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage and a former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, he has around 20 years’ experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia. Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum, drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. He has taught this curriculum at universities, ecovillages and community centres in Brazil, Spain and Scotland.

Jay Tompt

Jay Tompt

Jay is a co-founder of the Totnes REconomy Project, an associate lecturer in economics at Plymouth University as well as a regular teacher on our postrgraduate economics programmes.  He co-developed the Transition Network REconomy Project’s Local Economic Blueprint course and handbook, co-founded the REconomy Centre, and developed the Local Entrepreneur Forum model. He has worked with groups in many communities picking up these models. He has also developed a course on ‘Citizen-led Economics’, as well as led workshops and given talks in Europe, USA and Japan.

Before moving to the UK Jay was based in Silicon Valley in the US as an entrepreneur and consultant in the ‘green business movement’.  He holds an MBA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and a BA in Philosophy from San Jose State University. He’s also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

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.

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.