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Culture Repair – Rebuilding Community


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Course dates: 
Monday, 6 March, 2017 to Friday, 10 March, 2017

With Jon Young, Deborah Benham and Peter Cow

Many of us believe that humanity is at a time of mass social and ecological emergency. The ‘business as usual’society of capitalism, materialism and individualism is felt by many to be at the root of these problems.

Disconnection from self, others and nature, added to the fragmenting of meaningful community structures is leading us into a massive mental and spiritual health crisis in the Global North and increasing inequality, injustice and environmental destruction, mainly in the Global South.

Jon Young is joined by UK 8 Shields leaders and experienced community builders Deborah Benham and Peter Cow to share the wisdom teachings of 8 Shields Institute, California and show how they can help us to invigorate and repair our culture, setting up patterns and processes that support us all to know ourselves, help each other and bring our gifts to the world.

This work stems from the premise that Western Society has degraded healthy meaningful communities into conglomerations of co-located but disconnected people. We no longer know our neighbours; our young people are often alienated and hopeless, our working age adults are stressed from juggling demanding professional and family lives, whereas our elders sit alone or in care homes with no sense of meaningful contribution to society.

These days we often define Culture as Art, Music, Literature etc. However, Culture can more importantly be defined as the processes which create connection in Communities. In order to address the social, spiritual and ecological crises of our times, we believe that a new (or perhaps very old) understanding of Culture and community building is needed. This course provides insights and tools to support this.

By bringing people together to use and explore these methods we have the opportunity to co-creatively develop solutions and emerge the culture we want. Participants can expect to leave the course with new ways to bring abundance, gratitude, care and connection into their daily lives, work and Communities.

During this course we will ask the questions:

– How can we facilitate cultural change?

– What do we want the new culture and new story to look like?

– What part can we play in helping it to emerge?

This course is for anyone who longs to support their group, family, household, community or organisation to unleash its collective genius and gifts as part of a collective process of Culture Repair.


Jon Young

For over 30 years, Jon Young has been a leader in the field of village building, nature-based education, Permaculture and cultural mentoring, implementing vital advancements in the understanding and benefits of effective nature- and people-connection modeling. Jon is a deep nature connection mentor, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, village builder, consultant, inspiring public speaker and storyteller. He has appeared as an expert in numerous documentaries concerning nature and ecology and travels to teach widely throughout North America, Europe, Australia and southern Africa. He has authored and co-authored several seminal works on deep nature connection and connection mentoring, including What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007) among other titles in print and media. As a founder of the 8 Shields Institute, Jon Young has established best-practices process for cultural modelling and nature connection mentoring. He is actively promoting village building globally as a nature-based model of cultural regeneration for the benefit of current and future generations.

Dr Deborah Benham

Deborah has been a student of Jon Young’s, and involved with 8 Shields and Art of Mentoring since 2011. She is currently part of the 8 Shields Global Leadership Programme; and closely involved with setting up 8 Shields UK. Deborah has a PhD in wildlife conservation, environmental education and the people/nature interface. After 15 years working in this field she moved into broader areas of regenerative culture and design for sustainability; with a particular interest in social sustainability and social enterprise. She is Managing Director of the Newbold Trust, a retreat and education centre for sustainable living and wellbeing in NE Scotland. Prior to this she founded and ran Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes, ecotourism consultancy and wildlife guide trainings. She now offers consultancy, trainings and workshops in nature connection, regenerative culture, sustainability and youth empowerment.


Peter Cow

A cutting edge, heartfelt facilitator and culture designer, Peter has been involved with 8 Shields programs and events since 2011, and is part of the UK team currently setting up the national network in Britain. He regularly helps run weekend 8 Shields introduction courses in Devon. Peter has been teaching and facilitating Permaculture courses since 2007, with a specialism in social and personal regenerative design. He has led Permaculture Design Courses and ‘People permaculture’ courses around Europe and beyond, including running facilitator training courses with Looby Macnamara, He is also trained as a Work That Reconnects facilitator.

Peter is passionate about co-creating immersive community learning experiences, and their power to transform and empower people - connecting participants to nature, themselves and the wider community. Peter also co founded a sustainable community in a Devon woodland in 2000, and lived, designed, learned and played there in deep collaboration for 7 years.



£ 695.00
Course fees include all meals, Earth Talk ticket, 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. This course is expected to be held at The Old Postern.