Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sacred Activism 2020

Sacred Activism 2020

Sacred Activis
Key Info: 
  • Fortify any engaged action with shared dialogue, experiential and intellectual engagement
  • Study the surprising work of a range of collectives and individuals
  • Be reinvigorated by this unique Schumacher experience

With Eve Annecke, Andy Letcher, Satish Kumar and Bayo Akomolafe via Skype

£ 749.00
Includes private and simple accommodation with shared bathroom, all meals, field trips, materials and teaching sessions from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.
We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details

Faced with the immediacy of the world’s social, ecological and political challenges many of us ache to act. With the best of intentions, we often unwittingly repeat en-trenched patterns, frequently hitting seemingly inevitable burnout. In harsh reality, we don’t change things and, worst case, we may even make them worse. In this course, we ask why. 

Are there different ways in activism that do make a fairer world? We explore nature, soul and spirituality in creating social and ecological justice.

Yearning for a better world but can’t quite see how to make a difference? The obvious ways show up as self-congratulatory, holier than thou and occupying an oxygen-sucking moral highground. Why is it that as activists we become the very thing we’re claiming to change? Does it make any difference if action is motivated by philosophi-cal, political or spiritual intention? As we change ourselves does the world change simultaneously, or is that a naive cliché?  Can spirit in activism exist without earnest and contrived sanctimony?

In this challenging and provocative course we address these questions, and more, to ask what it might mean to be a ‘sacred activist’.

Some of the most profound social, political and environmental changes have been achieved by people with compelling vision and/or practice: Greta Thunberg, Wangari Maathai, Petra Kelly, Slum Dwellers International, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Vandana Shiva and Nelson Mandela, to name a few. As vital as they are, are these now movements and individuals who have become palatable to the status quo, who we are to emulate if we are to be ‘good’ activists?

This course is disruptive. The subversiveness of silence. Quiet moments of spirit and soul. Uproarious laughter. Mystery. Recognising that perhaps the most endangered of all is a radically honest and simple life.

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 and knowing.

Can we face and integrate shadow sides of activism, and not let these turn us away from effective, grounded action? Could other ways of knowing and being alert us when we are unconsciously replicating existing and damaging systemic patterns?

Even wIthout labelling it ‘activism’, how might everyday work, communities, families and homes provide places for deeply significant change?

Rooted in walking the experience together, we'll look at how different spiritualities may guide activism in practical and particular ways. We'll study astonishing stories of spiritual activism. We’ll take a hard look at what makes us want to act and what makes us shy away. We’ll wander the River Dart and Dartmoor, learning nature’s ways. In exploring re-enchantment and beauty, we’ll warmly invite your stories as ma-terial for our discussions, weaving a learning community to hold each other through the unfolding process.

*The Booking Deadline gives us an accurate idea of course participant numbers at approximately 6 weeks before the course is due to run, at which point we confirm the course, add additional time for people to book on or cancel the course. We encourage people to register early for courses as places are limited.

With Eve Annecke, Andy Letcher, Satish Kumar and Bayo Akomolafe via Skype

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.

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.

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.

Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo Akomolafe (Skype)

Bayo Akomolafe (Ph.D.) considers his most sacred work to be learning how to be with his daughter and son, Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden - and their mother, his wife and "life-nectar", Ijeoma. "To learn the importance of insignificance" is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive and completely partial. Bayo was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the "heart of the matter" as a response to his painful loss. He sought to apply himself to the extremes of his social conditioning, his faith, and his eventual training as a clinical psychologist - only to find that something else beyond articulation was tugging at his sleeves, wanting to be noticed. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a "magical" world "too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it." A renegade academic, lecturer, speaker, and proud diaper-changer, Bayo curates an earth-wide organization (The Emergence Network) for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to civilizational crisis - a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art - exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with post-humanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival of radical silence on a street in London - and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a course (We Will Dance with Mountains) among other offerings. In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the "end-time" and is learning to live in the "mean time". In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is however learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India - "where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising." Bayo has authored two books, ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!’ and ‘These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home’. ,

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.

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