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Sacred Activism 2019

Sacred Activism
Key Info: 
  • Fortifiy any engaged action with dialogue, academic and experiential study
  • Study the work of a range of collectives and individuals as sacred activists
  • Become reinvigorated by the Schumacher experience and its unique learning community

With Eve Annecke, Nicola Peel, Ruth Potts, Rachel Musson, Lyla June Johnstone (via Skype), Satish Kumar, Faze Ali and Andy Letcher

£ 2 200.00
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 twenty nights private accommodation from the first
lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. This course is an elective on Schumacher College's MA Ecology and Spirituality postgraduate programme. It is open to external participants who would like to deeply explore this subject material and can join us for the whole three-week programme.

Some of the most profound social and environmental changes have been achieved by people with strong spiritual vision and/or practice: Slum Dwellers International, Mahatma Gandhi, Wangari Maathai, Martin Luther King, Vandana Shiva and Nelson Mandela, to name a few. At the same time, many activists regard spirituality as at best a side-issue, ineffective in action and an excuse for quietism, rejecting any appeal to other ways of being.

In this short course we will ask whether activism can be sacred, and what roles there might be in social movements for those with a defined spiritual practice. Can we face and integrate the shadow sides of activism, and not let these turn us away from grounded action? What is the role of protest, disruptive innovation and non-violent direct action? Could other ways of knowing and being protect us from burn out and unconsciously replicating existing and damaging systemic patterns? Even if we do not label ourselves as ‘activists’, how might our work, communities and homes provide places for extraordinary and significant change?

Together we'll explore some foundational texts of sacred activism. We'll look at how our different spiritualities may guide our activism in concrete and particular ways. We'll study case examples of spiritual activism done surprisingly well. We’ll take a hard look at what makes us want to act and what makes us shy away. In exploring re-enchantment and beauty, we warmly invite your stories and hopes of activist work as material for our discussions, building a learning community to hold each other through the process.

This is a masters-level short course, and participants will be joining students completing the MA in Ecology and Spirituality. However, no previous academic background is required as a short course participant.

With Eve Annecke, Nicola Peel, Ruth Potts, Rachel Musson, Lyla June Johnstone (via Skype), Satish Kumar, Faze Ali and Andy Letcher

Eve Annecke

Eve Annecke is a teacher, writer, and social ecologist. She works in transformative learning, exploring what it means to be human in the 21st century. In South Africa she co-founded Lynedoch Development, the Sustainability Institute and the Lynedoch EcoVillage. Her masters’ level teaching at Stellenbosch University is in sustainable development, leading transitions, ecological ethics and other ways of knowing. She is the co-author of Just Transitions: explorations of sustainability in an unfair world (2012). Her work at Schumacher College includes as participant, facilitator and teacher in Becoming Indigenous, and the MA in Ecology and Spirituality.

ruth potts

Ruth Potts

Ruth is a Senior Lecturer in Ecological Design Thinking at Schumacher College, co-editor of Red Pepper Magazine, a co-founder of bread, print & roses a collective engaged in anarchist baking, seditious pamphleteering and radical walks, a co-founder of Change in Practice and an artist and activist with a focus on climate change, social justice and migration. She was initiator of (with Gareth Evans) and Artistic Advisor to, Utopia 2016 at Somerset House; a year of events, activity and exhibitions exploring the importance of utopia in the twenty-first century at Somerset House, the Courtauld Gallery and King’s College London, and including collaborations with the British Library, LSE Literary Festival and Verso books.

Previously, Ruth was Campaign Organiser for the Great Transition at the New Economics Foundation where she co-developed a new model of campaign designed to kick-start the decade -long transition to a new economy and society. She is the co-author of The New Materialism, covered by the Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times, and a co-author of NEF’s Clone Town Britain reports.

Lyla June Johnston

Lyla June Johnston

Lyla June Johnston was raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways. She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico. She is a walker within the Nihigaal Bee Iiná Movement, a 1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo homeland) that is exposing the exploitation of Diné land and people by uranium, coal, oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert which gathers native and nonnative musicians to pray for the return of guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota nations. She is the also the founder of Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September. In 2012, she graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. During her time there she wrote the award winning papers: Nature and the Supernatural: The Role of Culture and Spirituality in Sustaining Primate Populations in Manu National Park, Peru and Chonos Pom: Ethnic Endemism Among the Winnemem Wintu and the Cultural Impacts of Enlarging Shasta Reservoir. She is a musician, public speaker and internationally recognized performance poet. Lyla June ultimately attributes any achievements to Creator who gave her the tools and resources she uses to serve humanity. She currently lives in Diné Tah, the Navajo ancestral homeland which spans what is now called New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. She spends her free time learning her engendered mother tongue, planting corn, beans and squash and spending time with elders who retain traditional spiritual and ecological knowledge.

Rachel Musson

Rachel Musson

Rachel Musson is an English teacher, traveller and writer with extensive experience teaching and working in schools in the UK, in Tanzania, Nepal, Peru, Ireland and Australia. Her work and experiences as a teacher and teacher trainer led her to set up ThoughtBox Education – an integrated connected learning programme for schools to support young people with key life skills to face an uncertain future.

Originally working as a Secondary English teacher, Rachel left the formal profession in 2012 to spend time researching and writing on connected learning in schools across the world. Using her own experience as a classroom teacher for 13 years and the experience and knowledge gained from time living and working in a range of countries and cultures, Rachel developed a series of programmes to support schools and young people in feeling more connected to their futures and the world around them. 

Bringing methodologies learned through immersive time in a range of pedagogical systems and time studying innovative education, her work and practice explores connected learning, focuses on innovative ideas in education, and examines ways to nurture emotional health.

Nicola Peel

Nicola Peel

Nicola Peel is an award winning environmentalist and solutionist. She has been working primarily in the Ecuadorian Amazon for the last 18 years. Nicola work includes founding The Amazon Mycorenewal Project ( bringing scientists together to work on remediation of oil spills using fungi and bacteria), building rainwater systems for indigenous families who are currently drinking contaminated water due to the oil industry, teaching agroforestry to stop the slash and burn of the rainforests and showing how to deal with plastic by turning rubbish into a resource.

Nicola travelled down the Amazon river from the headwaters in Ecuador to Brazil filming and producing the documentary Blood of the Amazon. This film shows the contamination caused by the oil industry and the effect on the indigenous people and the environment.

As a self confessed solutionist her focus is on discovering practical solutions and inspiring others to take action. She is a full time environmentalist and speaks at numerous events nationally and internationally.

For more information see and

Satish Kumar

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. Satish has authored numerous books including No Destination: Autobiography of a Pilgrim, Soul, Soil, Society: a new trinity for our time and most recently Elegant Simplicity: The Art Of Living Well.

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.

Faze Ali

Over the last 4 years, Faisal has developed a close connection with Schumacher College, having been a short course participant, a volunteer, a postgraduate student, a member of staff and facilitator, which has given him a unique perspective on college life and nurtured an intimate bond with the college. His academic studies have included Neuroscience, Digital Media, Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology, permaculture, Ecological Design Thinking. He has also spent a year immersed in the Myth & Ecology MA programme, as a course facilitator.

Faisal regularly holds Gong Meditation sessions, focused on wellbeing through relaxation using sound. He creates and holds a space for people to drop into deep states of relaxation, often with quite profound effects. He is also trained in the energetic healing modality of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and makes and works with labyrinths – sacred spaces used for contemplation and relaxation. In addition, Faze has been co-designing and running Fermentation workshops as part of the Craft Revolution at Dartington for 2 years, teaching the art and culture of fermentation. He also works with a local Devon-based social enterprise called The Woodland Presents which is working to revitalise British Woodland Culture.

Of his many varied interests, Faisal is particularly interested in the two-way relationship between individual wellbeing and collective wellbeing; the space and tension between poles, and the creativity that can and does come out of that space; and what living with a holistic worldview actually means and might look like. He is looking forward to welcoming people to the magical place that is Schumacher college, and accompanying them on their immersive journey here.

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