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Shadowed Ecology: Into the Depths of an Animate Earth

Course dates: 
Monday, 26 March, 2018 to Tuesday, 3 April, 2018
Shadowed Ecology with David Abram, Stephan Harding and Martin Lee Mueller

With David Abram, Stephan Harding and Martin Lee Mueller

At a moment when so many ecological limits are being breached by a civilization largely oblivious to its own embedment within the biosphere, how can we swiftly catalyze a collective recognition of our thorough dependence upon the animate earth? How can we open a fresh and unshakeable solidarity between humankind and the other animals, plants, and elemental forces that compose this breathing biosphere?

At A Glance

  • Learn fresh geo-philosophical, anthropological and animistic perspectives on the transformations now upon us
  • Take part in powerful experiences of immersion, connection, and participation with the more-than-human terrain
  • Experience fresh ways of speaking, of thinking, of articulating our interbeing with other species and the living land
  • Participate in a rich and lively interchange with other activists/artists/scientists/educators and find energy and inspiration for your own work

About This Course

The climatic changes now underway ensure that civilization will suffer dramatic transformations in the immediate future, indeed that human cultures are about to undergo a sea change of immense proportions. How will we cope with such torsions, and how can we help such metamorphoses unfold in a manner beneficial not to moneyed interests, but to the greatest possible diversity of cultures, creatures, and ecosystems?

A new awareness of sentience unfolding wherever we train our attention, a new humility in relation to other earthborn beings, a growing recognition of the primacy of place, a wilder and richly grounded sense of the sacred: such are a few of the qualities struggling to take root in the era now upon us. How can this dawning awareness settle deep into our muscles, and how can it come most powerfully to expression and broad articulation?

We will draw fresh clues from the natural sciences, while drawing animistic insight and wisdom from several indigenous, oral, place-based cultures. We will feel our way toward the uncanny craft of creaturely shapeshifting, and lean into the ancestral arts of oral storytelling and poetics.

This course is a chance to join three of the world’s finest ecological educators as they interweave their gifts to engender a new experience of the enveloping earth in its outrageous multiplicity, as an exuberant, improvisational, and sentient reality — and of ourselves as full-bodied participants (along with oak trees and spiders, salmon and storm-clouds) in the dynamic emergence of that reality.


David AbramDavid 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 organization 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.

Dr Stephan HardingStephan Harding

Stephan coordinates the MSc Holistic Science, and will teach on the Economics for Transition programme. Stephan 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, and his scientific cast of mind 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 has been involved in ecological research, expedition and teaching in Zimbabwe, Peru, Venezuela and Costa Rica. Stephan became a founder member of Schumacher College in 1990. The College’s first teacher was James Lovelock, with whom Stephan has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration that culminated in their joint appointment as chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo. Stephan lives on the College campus with his wife Julia Ponsonby and their son Oscar, and is the author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia published in 2006.

Martin Lee Mueller

Dr. Martin Lee Mueller was born and raised in Germany but has found his place in Norway, home both to deep ecology and to great runs of Atlantic salmon – two passions explored at depth in his writing and teaching. Martin's groundbreaking book Being Salmon, Being Human: Discovering the Wild in Us and Us in the Wild was met with a storm of praise when it was published at the end of 2017 ( The book has also inspired an acclaimed three-person stage performance, which Martin and his fellow storytellers are now touring in several countries. Currently, Martin divides his time between developing a new Masters of Ecological Education at the Rudolf Steiner University College in Oslo, and creating the Circumpolar Salmon Forum – an organization dedicated to building bridges between the various place-based Atlantic and Pacific salmon cultures of the northern hemisphere.


£ 1 390.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to the following Tuesday afternoon and fee includes simple, private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details.