Courses Overview >> Short courses >> The Ecological Self - Three Week Intensive

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The Ecological Self - Three Week Intensive

With Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Jonathan Horwitz, Zara Waldeback, Stephan Harding and guests

£ 2 200.00
Course fees include all 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 twenty 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 Elmhirst Programme, part of Schumacher College at Dartington Hall Estate.

With Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Jonathan Horwitz, Zara Waldeback, Denise Rowe, Christopher Titmuss, Karen Stead-Dexter and Stephan Harding

This three week intensive will explore the philosophical basis, the history and evolution of two mutually exclusive narratives: the first, that humans are outside of the natural world and have dominion over it; and the second, that humans are part of an interconnected web of life.

It will explore the evidence for these conflicting narratives, from psychological, scientific and spiritual perspectives, and consider the implications each has for our relationship with the natural world, how we choose to live within it and our individual and collective actions for change.

During the three weeks we will experience and critically assess personal and group practices for developing the ‘ecological self’ and ‘reconnecting’ with the natural world, with each other and ultimately with ourselves. These will include the Work That Reconnects, Spiritual Ecology, Deep Ecology, Mindfulness, Eco-psychology and shamanic practice. 

We will also be developing dynamic and purposeful personal narratives based on our life experience, values, beliefs, and a sense of our own individual developing ‘ecosophy’ (ecological philosophy) and call to action.

The aims of this programme are to

•              understand the origin and evolution of our modern narratives about the place and relationship of humans within and with the natural world.

•              understand the implications of these narratives on our individual and collective actions

•              investigate the evidence for these narratives from within science and spiritual practice

•              experience personal and group methods of expanding consciousness from ‘I to We’

•              develop our own relationship and connection with nature

•              learn methods and techniques for an ongoing nature-based practice

•              explore the relationship between our own narrative, perceptions and actions

For this intensive, which is at the core of the learning provided by Schumacher College, you will be joined by a number of students from our postgraduate programme In Ecology and Spirituality which will allow for rich interaction between long-term students and short course participants.


Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has been featured on National Geographic, PBS, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Al Jazeera, exhibited at The Smithsonian and screened at festivals worldwide. Some of his films include: Marie’s Dictionary Isle, de Jean Charles, Yukon Kings, Path of Freedom, Elemental, A Thousand Suns, What Would it Look Like andBarrio de Paz. He is the founder and executive director of the Global Oneness Project, an award winning online educational multimedia platform focused on bringing the values of global citizenry into mainstream education.  He directs the Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, an innovative leadership and incubation program that works with emerging leaders to bring spiritual values into environmental work.  He is a Naqshbandhi Sufi and lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.

Stephan Harding

Stephan Harding is Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and resident Ecologist at Schumacher College teaching on the MSc core modules and on most short courses at the College. He holds a doctorate in behavioural ecology from Oxford University, and before coming to the college taught ecology at the National University in Costa Rica. He is a close associate of James Lovelock and an expert in the study of Gaia theory and deep ecology. He is the author of Animate Earth and Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College. 


Jonathan Horwitz

Jonathan Horwitz has been working with shamanism since 1972. From 1984 to 1993 he worked as a teacher and field researcher at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies with Michael Harner. In 1986, he founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies ( together with Annette Høst and has been teaching internationally ever since. Jonathan sees shamanism as a spiritual path and his main focus today is shamanic healing, spiritual ecology and shamanic community work, and how these three aspects can work together for the future of the Earth. He has a master's degree in anthropology, contributes regularly to Sacred Hoop magazine and was for several years the European Editor of Journal of Contemporary Shamanism. He has taught many times at Schumacher College.

Zara Waldebäck

Zara Waldebäck has been working with shamanism since 2005 and co-teaching workshops with Jonathan since 2010. Originally from Sweden, she spent 30 years in the UK, most of it as a writer and teacher specializing in creativity. She has 20 years experience as a screenwriter, filmmaker and university lecturer, and has run courses on shamanism for writers, presented papers on the shamanic journey as story, and written two books on screenwriting and creative practice. She has a deep interest in the role of story as a spiritual tool that helps us to hear life and connect to magic. She is a trained shamanic counsellor, and works regularly with place-specific ceremony and partnering with Nature for healing.

Together, Jonathan and Zara run the spiritual retreat center Åsbacka in the woods of southern Sweden, where they hold courses and offer shamanic healing, guidance and spiritual mentoring. They teach all over Europe, including UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Italy, Hungary, Belgium and Russia. The heart of their practice is shamanism as a spiritual path, finding healing in all they do, and working with the Spirits in a way that invites power, presence, joy and responsibility.

Denise Rowe

Denise is a dance and movement artist and facilitator with over 15 years experience in creating and holding safe spaces for powerful transformation.  Her work emerges from a creative movement practice and an intimacy with body, landscape, spirit and rhythm. Denise is associate lecturer in dance at University of Plymouth and director of dance at the Mhararano Mbira Academy.  Co-founder of Tolo Ko Tolo Dance Company, Denise also works as a solo artist on various cross-genre performance collaborations including the She Who Walks project and with the band Ombiviolum.  She has directed, produced and choreographed a diverse array of performances, films and events. Denise has trained in African dance in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Ghana, Gambia, Cameroon and the UK.  She has completed 3 years training in non-stylised & environmental movement with Helen Poynor, and has 2 years contemporary dance training.  Denise is also a student of Shiatsu, Aikido and women’s shamanism with The Sacred Trust. In 2012 Denise was awarded an ADAD Trailblazers Champions bursary in recognition of her work in the field of Dance of the African Diaspora.

Christopher Titmuss

Christopher Titmuss, a senior Dharma teacher in the West, offers retreats, facilitates pilgrimages and leads Dharma events worldwide. His teachings focus on insight meditation (vipassana), the expansive heart and enquiry into emptiness and liberation. Poet, photographer and social critic, he is the author of numerous books including Light on Enlightenment, The Mindfulness Manual and Poems from the Edge on Time.  A former Buddhist monk in Thailand and India, he is the founder of the online Mindfulness Training Course. He teaches in Australia, India, Israel, France and Germany every year. Christopher has been teaching annual retreats in India since 1975.

Karen Stead-Dexter

Dr Karen Stead-Dexter is an Energy Healer, Teacher, Environmentalist and passionate Falconer (Bird Whisperer). Academic work and Spiritual work, for a long time, were always kept separate but for Karen something was missing. Having spent the majority of her academic career learning the damage ‘we’ have done to the planet, the need to explore ancient ways of understanding our relationship with the Earth led her in to learn more of the ways of the Shaman. Karen now has a strong understanding of ancient healing modalities, bringing in Shamanic traditions of North America, South America and Celtic Shamanism. She runs a popular clinic in Somerset & East Devon for Energy Healing, Falconry at Trill Farm (East Devon), and runs regular Shamanic workshops in Energy Healing, Bird Spirit Medicine and Plant Spirit Medicine connecting people back to nature, back to who they really are and gets them to truly listen to the world around them.


With Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Jonathan Horwitz, Zara Waldeback, Stephan Harding and guests

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

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+ 44 (0) 1803 847212