Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Ecology & Economics (Online Course)

Ecology & Economics (Online Course)

wind turbines
Key Info: 
  • Online course
  • A great way to 'sample' our Regenerative Economics MA

With Eve Middleton-Kelly, Andy Letcher, Stephan Harding, Allan Kaplan, Jay Tompt and Jonathan Dawson

£ 1 000.00
There are 3 spaces remaining

We are in the midst of a grand civilizational paradigm shift. Old ways of seeing the world based on Newtonian physics and neo-Darwinian notions of competition and ‘survival of the fittest’ are being transcended by new insights emerging from holistic science. These emphasise the importance of cooperation within networks and of symbiosis as a driver of evolution and characteristic of healthy ecosystems.

There is a recognition that the currently dominant paradigm emerging from the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution have generated substantial technological breakthroughs that have enabled significant progress in terms of longevity, health, mass education and quality of housing among others – for at least some of its members.

This however, has come at a heavy cost in terms of ecological dislocation, inequality within the human family, reduced resilience and a generalised loss of meaning, evidenced by unprecedented levels of depression and suicide.

This course arises from the hypothesis that at the root of the various crises converging on our civilisation is the gulf between how human and other-than–human systems self-organise. To be clear, this is a hypothesis rather than an assertion; human culture is a powerful mediating factor in the translation of ‘natural’ patterns into human design. The course will invite participants to actively engage critical thinking as we explore the relevance and applicability of insights emerging from holistic thinking to the design of socio-economic systems.

Among the various new approaches and theories that we will look at in depth are systems thinking, complexity and phenomenology. In each of these fields, we will trace and build upon the ideas of thought-leaders, drawing not just on our cognitive faculties but also on our emotional, embodied and spiritual intelligence.

The core objective of the course is to generate fresh thinking that will translate into more elegant, just, robust and ecologically- informed socio-economic design.

This is a 5-week online course for short course participants. There are three synchronous (live) sessions 1.00 – 3.00pm UK time on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday comprising lectures and discussion groups. Wednesday is a day for independent study, Monday there is a pre-recorded audio or video. The chat room is open 24/7. Participants are invited to see this as being a full-time commitment. That is, there will be lots of written and viewing material and all participants will be expected to have read/viewed these in advance of sessions so that the flavour of classroom interactions will be more conversational than lecture-based.

Short course participants will have two one-to-one tutorials with faculty and will not be expected to submit any written assignments. Participants will be guided through nature-based activities.

Please note this course is unaccredited. In addition to being a 5 week online stand-alone short course, this constitutes the first module of the Masters programme in Regenerative Economics.

There are 3 spaces remaining
With Eve Middleton-Kelly, Andy Letcher, Stephan Harding, Allan Kaplan, Jay Tompt and 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.

Eve Mitleton-Kelly

Eve Mitleton-Kelly

Professor Eve Mitleton-Kelly is a Fellow in the Engineering Department at Cambridge University (2017-); was Founder and Director of the Complexity Research Programme at the London School of Economics (1995-2017); visiting Professor at the Open University; member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Complex Systems (2012-2014); SAB member of the ‘Next Generation Infrastructures Foundation’, TU Delft; on Editorial Board  of ‘Emergence: Complexity & Organisations’; Policy Advisor to European and USA organisations, the European Commission, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the UN OCHA and UNEP, several UK Government Departments; an Indonesian Government Agency on deforestation; Scientific Advisor to the Governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands, Singapore and UK.

Eve’s research has concentrated on addressing apparently intractable problems at organisational, national and global levels and the creation of enabling environments based on complexity science. She has led, and participated in 45 research projects funded by the EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, the European Commission, business and government to address complex problems. She has developed a theory of Complex Social Systems and a methodology to address complex problems. She has edited, co-edited and co-authored 6 books and has written extensively on the application of complexity theory to address complex problems. Her latest edited volume, the ‘Handbook of Research Methods in Complexity Science: Theory and Applications’ was published by Edward Elgar in January 2018. It includes 26 chapters written by over 50 international authors. The chapter by Eve, describes the EMK Methodology that will be taught on the course. One case study, with the Rabin Medical Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICu), was presented at the International Complexity Conference ICCS2018 in Thessaloniki, Greece in September 2018. The sponsor, senior physician and senior nurse from the ICu, presented the practical impact of the Multi-Dimensional Workshop with nurses and physicians, which took place in March 2018.

Dr Andy Letcher

Dr Andy Letcher is writer, performer and scholar of religion who began life as an ecologist, completing his D.Phil in Ecology at Oxford University. After a spell as an environmental activist during the 90s, especially during the anti-roads protests, he moved across to the humanities, completing a PhD at King Alfred’s College Winchester. He is an expert on contemporary alternative spiritualities, especially modern Paganism, neo-shamanism and psychedelic spiritualities. A writer known for his critical approach, he is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom and a range of academic papers on subjects as diverse as fairies, animism, folklore, bardism and Druidry. He wrote the companion volume to The English Magic Tarot. A folk musician, he plays English bagpipes and Dark Age lyre, and for ten years fronted psych-folk band, Telling the Bees.

Dr Stephan Harding FLS

Stephan Harding

Stephan coordinated and lectured on the college’s MSc Holistic Science for nearly two decades, teaching on the core models of the programme, as well as on several short courses at the College.  He was born in Venezuela in 1953, and came to England at the age of six.  Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world which led him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University.  He later returned to Venezuela where he was a field assistant for the Smithsonian Institute, studying mammalian diversity in the rainforest and in the lowland plains. He also spent two years as Visiting Professor in Wildlife Management at the National University in Costa Rica.

In 1990 Stephan was one of the founding members of Schumacher College where he worked closely with James Lovelock, with whom he has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration.  They were jointly appointmed as founding chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo.  At Schumacher College Stephan has taught alongside many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Brian Goodwin, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis.  He is now the Deep Ecology Fellow at Schumacher College.

Allan Kaplan

Allan Kaplan

Allan Kaplan is a development practitioner, teacher and writer. He is the author of The Development Practitioner’s Handbook, Artists of Invisible, The Developing of Capacity, Dreaming Reality – The Future in Retrospect, and with Sue Davidoff, A Delicate Activism. He works internationally out of The Proteus Initiative (based in Towerland, SA), founded as a vehicle for developing the organic and holistic methods of JW von Goethe into a new understanding and approach to the sphere of social renewal.

His work is an attempt to realise the full consequences of true participation, of socio-ecological complexity, and of an emerging consciousness which holds freedom and responsibility as a generative polarity in the quest for wholeness. He has also established the Towerland Wilderness in South Africa as a space for nature and for the learning that may come through immersion in, and communion with, nature.

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.

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