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Designing For Peace

With Jon Young, Deborah Benham, Root Cuthbertson and Satish Kumar

£ 595.00
NOTE: Course fees include all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions.
The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Friday afternoon the last week, and includes four nights private accommodation from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.

With Jon Young, Deborah Benham, Root Cuthbertson and guest tutor Satish Kumar

At A Glance

  • Learn from experienced peacemakers how to introduce peacemaking into your group or organisation
  • Develop constructive communication processes
  • Cultivate positive governance and leadership
  • This course will take place at the Elmhirst Centre on the beautiful Dartington Hall Estate

Non-Residential Places Only, please use voucher code 'DP-NON-RES-150' upon checkout and £150.00 will be deducted from the residential fee.

About This Course

We live in times where polarization, separation and fear can seem rife. The media paints a picture, which extended into the future, appears bleak. How we respond to this is a choice. We, as human beings from any background, can create the society and culture that we want to live in. How would it be if we chose to consciously create communities where Unity, Peace, Communication and Healing were central? How would it feel if all people, in our glorious similarities, differences and gifts, were welcome, included and valued?

Over 35 years ago Jon Young was approached by an indigenous elder who passed him the responsibility of carrying a bundle of peacemaking teachings. For the next 20 years Jon worked closely with peacemakers from a variety of traditions, including elders from the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation's Tree of Peace Society. They shared a prophesy that the Tree of Peace, raised over 1000 years ago by the Peacemaker of the Haudenosaunee (6 Nations/Iroquois), was falling, held up on the arms of the chiefs. They spoke of a day when the grandchildren of the European settlers would become the ones to help stand the tree up again, and spread peacemaking teachings around the world.

We, and the generations who will inherit from us, can learn and share tools to consciously design for Peace and Healing. We can develop the skills to transform conflicts into stronger relationships, trust and even innovation. We can build our courage, reduce shame, learn to forgive and collaborate. In this time of change and disruption, we can learn how to build, and rebuild, a sense of Village, wherever we may come from. 

Even within well intentioned families, communities or group systems, the difficulties between us can create the biggest challenges in our lives.   Many important projects, which would be of great service to the world, have collapsed under escalating disharmony.  The bad news: we all carry echoes of historic trauma, from our own lives and from our family lines.  The good news: we can empower ourselves to heal it, and we are not the first to have done so.  When we openly recognise the historic or family wounds we carry, we can normalise the friction that inevitably arises from our personal sensitivities. 

We will share with you design tools and processes for creating peaceful, supportive, resilient social systems. These proven methods have been developed using both contemporary and ancient social technologies. We will provide references for further study and relate first-hand experiences from our global network of practitioners who are applying these peace-making practices in modern times.

Please join us if you:
• Are part of a group of any size, a couple, family, neighborhood, grassroots group or large organisation, wanting to live or work together more harmoniously and effectively.
• Are curious about ways to address the “culture wars” raging in many parts of western society.
• Would like to restore a thriving culture of appreciation, where every person is respected, included, and valued, growing into their true genius, potential, and brilliance. 
• Are engaging, or planning to engage, in dialogs across differences in worldview, background, or preference. 

Aspects we will take home include:
• How to introduce Peacemaking into your group or organization, step by step, in a collaborative and safe manner.
• Cultivation of positive governance and leadership; integrity of principles over personalities.
• Cultivating unity in groups, and personal peace in individuals.
• Reducing shame and fear around tensions or differences and creating both increased safety and courage in addressing interpersonal situations.
• Developing clean clear communication processes: at the group and systemic level.
• Understanding personal patterns and healing across generations.
• Creating Anchoring processes to support individuals and leaders in their work.
• Developing people and relationship as a key pillar in organisations.
• Planning reflection and renewal cycles which support your group or organization to learn, evolve and thrive.

Apply For A Bursary




Jon Young

Jon’s work has been the researching, collecting, universalising and applying of models for re-Connection. For over thirty five years, he has collected, tested, trained and led Connection models that have proven dependable and predictable in their effectiveness. Drawn from earth-based approaches, these models are ergonomic in their application—they are neither philosophical or based on any one belief structure. These approaches meet us at our most basic neurological and biological foundations, and are a way of learning and developing in nature that is universal to our “blueprint” as human beings.

Jon started studying peacemaking cultural systems in 1979, applying them first to a project co-founded with M. Norman “Ingwe” Powell in 1983. From 1990 to 2000 he worked directly with highly experienced peacemakers, who became his teachers and friends, the founding members of the  Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) Tree of Peace Society. Together, with many others, they developed the 8 Shields model, integrating peacemaking practices and processes that apply in modern times, whilst remaining respectful to the original teachings.

Deborah Benham

Deborah is part of the 8 Shields global leadership programme; co-founder of 8 Shields UK and a mentor to ‘Village Builders’ all over the world. She was a student of Jon Young’s for several years and is now part of the 8 Shields strategic and design team. 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, peacemaking and social enterprise. She was until recently Managing Director of the Newbold Trust, a retreat and education centre focusing on sustainable living and wellbeing. She is now freelance, working closely with 8 Shields; teaching, providing facilitation, consultancy, trainings and workshops in regenerative culture, sustainability, nature connection and youth empowerment. She is an experienced facilitator, and dedicated Possibilitarian, carrying a positive vision of the future, and creating connective, uplifting and transformative programmes in support of healthy communities and ecosystems.

Root Cuthbertson

Root Cuthbertson is currently a writer, hopemonger, and ecosocial designer with a consulting consortium delivering trainings on social sustainability and culture repair.  Since 2008 he has been a group facilitator, presenter, and wordsmith. He is the former education coordinator at the Newbold Trust (, a sustainable living and retreat centre in Forres, Scotland.  He holds a Master's degree in Environmental Education from Vermont College of Norwich University and a Certificate in Ecovillage Design from Findhorn College. He leads courses on sociocracy, designing for peace, contact improvisation dance, and has designed programs for JourneyDance™ (, Lost Valley Education Center (, Sunseed Desert Technology (, and D’Acres Permaculture Farm and Educational Homestead ( With a background in theater, dance, and music, Root advocates raising awareness to regenerate resilient communities and ecosystems. His interests include cross-pollinating ideas, Non-Violent Communication, traditional celebrations, cooking & nutrition, monofloral honeys, matching needs with resources, the healing power of forgiveness, and the Art of Mentoring (

Satish Kumar

Satish is a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist. He has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.

In 1973 Satish settled in the United Kingdom taking up the post of editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he has held ever since, making him the UK’s longest-serving editor of the same magazine. During this time, he has been the guiding spirit behind a number of now internationally respected ecological and educational ventures including Schumacher College.


Non-Residential Places Only, please use voucher code 'DP-NON-RES-150' upon checkout and £150.00 will be deducted from the residential fee.

With Jon Young, Deborah Benham, Root Cuthbertson and Satish Kumar

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

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.