Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Enlivenment and Liberation: Bringing ‘Aliveness’ Back To Our World and Lives

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Enlivenment and Liberation: Bringing ‘Aliveness’ Back To Our World and Lives

£ 565.00
Course fees include basic accommodation, all meals, 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. We ask you to arrive between 11:30 - 1 on the first day of your course so that the group can begin the experience by dining together.

With Andreas Weber and guests David Abram, Stephan Harding, Satish Kumar. Sarah Corbett and David Bollier (by videolink)

The current ideology of dead matter, mechanical causality, and the exclusion of experience from descriptions of reality in ecology and economy are responsible for our failure to protect aliveness in our world. But this view is wrong, because it omits that which is central to existence and our own basic underlying experience.

We therefore need to install a new "bios" into our concept of reality, putting aliveness, the world as a living process of mutual transforming relationships, subjectivity, and expression, at its centre, thus bringing dualism to an end: an "Enlivenment” view. This activity can be seen an “enlightenment 2.0”, caring not only for the liberation of the rational subject (as the historical enlightenment intended), but for the liberation of feeling and embodied inter-being with life around us.

The biosphere is not just the result of various forms of blind competition, but springs from the activities of a myriad of individual agents that interconnect in diverse ecologies of relationships. Enlivenment supplements, but does not substitute rational thinking and empirical observation (the core practices of the Enlightenment) with the "empirical subjectivity" of living experiences, and with the "poetic objectivity" of meaningful expression.

The scope of the "Enlivenment" perspective equals the shift in modern physics, realising that any observer is entangled with the system being observed. Biological entanglement happens emotionally and experientially through sharing aliveness with and relating existentially to other living subjects. 

We need a "policy of life" as a new political–philosophical attitude to make "deep sustainability" possible. It will enlarge the idea of reality as iteration of "empirical facts" by sharing aliveness and describing and practicing relatedness and mutual transformation. Join us as we explore the concept of Enlivenment, how it impacts on the world and how we behave within it and how we can practice aliveness to find our own liberation.

What you will learn:

  • why modern biology is re-introducing feeling and meaning in order to counter-balance the prevailing view of organisms as machines

  • to look at and examine dualism in your own thoughts and actions  

  • to look at neo-darwinistic paradigms that have created the illusions of separation and optimisation

  • to become aware of the true economics of nature

  • to re-experience yourself as an embodied being

  • to reconnect with your emotions and the experience of your own aliveness

The week will include a workshop called 'Craftivism' - 'slow activism' that uses craft as a meditative tool to stop, reflect and act on injustice issues in a transformative and gentle way, a creative and thoughtful way of 'doing' activism

This course is intended for people who want to approach sustainability on an emotional rather than technical level, for artists who want to understand the relation between poetic expressivity and organism, for members of organisations stuck in administrative processes, for people interested in the commons movement, for people interested in how to become more “wild".


Andreas Weber

Andreas Weber, PhD, biologist and philosopher, has contributed extensively to developing the concept of enlivenment in recent years, notably through his essay Enlivenment. Towards a fundamental shift in the concepts of nature, culture and politics (published by the Heinrich Boell Stiftung in 2013), and through Dr. Weber´s new book, The Biology of Wonder. Aliveness, Feeling, and the Metamorphosis of Science (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Press, 2016). Subjective Feeling as the Moving Force in All Life,



Guest Teachers

Dr. David Abram

Dr. David Abram, cultural ecologist and philosopher gone wild, is the award-winning author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Described as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, David’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. Named by both the Utne Reader and Resurgence as one of a hundred visionaries transforming contemporary culture, David is co-founder of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), an organisation exploring the manner in which sensory perception, language, and wonder inform our relation with the rest of the animate earth. He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.

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. Click here to read his full staff profile >>

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. Download his full biography

David Bollier

David Bollier is an author, activist and independent scholar of the commons. He is Co-Founder of the Commons Strategies Group and the author of ten books, including Viral Spiral, Brand Name Bullies and Silent Theft. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts and blogs at


Sarah Corbett

Sarah, from the Craftivist Collective, grew up as an activist, working for Christian Aid, DFID and most recently Oxfam in the area of global injustice, before becaming a full time Craftivist. She has just finished a solo show called ‘Gentle Protest’ in Stockholm and is currently working on her new book. "Craft is about slowing down, staying focused. In a busy digital world that has to be a good thing. Change is the aim and craft is the tool," says Sarah. "By using the quiet, reflective time it gives us to explore global issues and how they affect the world around us, we can create something beautiful, considered, positive and potentially world-changing".


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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.