Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Acting Bioregionally: Skillful Interventions for Regeneration of Place and People

Acting Bioregionally: Skillful Interventions for Regeneration of Place and People

Course dates: 
Monday, 8 January, 2018 to Friday, 12 January, 2018

With Raul de Villafranca and Isabel Carlisle

Early Bird Rate

Join Ecological Architect, Raul de Villafranca, and Activist, Isabel Carlisle, as they explore the power and potential of the bioregion for social and ecological transformation. Over the course of your week together, you will work bioregionally; thinking and acting systemically at the scale of the bioregion.

At A Glance

  • Learn to think and act systemically at the scale of the bioregion
  • Learn how to identify regional acupuncture points with leverage
  • Focus in depth on one practical local project

About This Course

Working with Raul and Isabel, you will explore the nested systems of watershed, micro-watershed and nano-watershed. By working at these three scales and seeing them as nested systems you can begin to capture the uniqueness of the full system and understand how the nested systems relate. From this broad understanding, you will focus in depth on one practical local project that is an ‘acupuncture place’ in the Bioregion. This will enable you to explore the power of watershed regeneration in a small snapshot of local place that embodies the essence of the bioregion.

Together, you will walk and sketch the local environs, looking for patterns and developing understanding to map the narrative and essence of the place. People from the Dartington community will join your conversation along the way to help shape the narrative and give a clearer sense of the place. Having mapped the bioregion, you will learn how to identify, and then focus on acupuncture points in the three scales and nine layers for transformational change.

The course will leave you with a new understanding of how to understand the bioregion, identify transformative interventions that leverage the power of acting bioregionally and a set of tools to make change happen.

What will you gain?

• An experience of working with Regenerative Design from the inside: acquiring this tool as a lens and practice for your own work.
• A practical understanding of how to move from Story of Place to stakeholder engagement and mutualism.
• The skills needed to enrol both place and people in the shared enterprise of regeneration; a process that is not imposed but arises from place.
• Experience of a live project: an acupuncture point that has leverage.
• An understanding of the role of the designer as a mediator, facilitator and enabler who catalyses will in community and place.
• You will become alive to bioregional thinking, by embodying it in the South Devon Bioregion.

Who is this course for?

• Designers, architects and planners looking for new ways of understanding how to work with complex systems;
• Community activists working for social and ecological regeneration and transformation;
• Environmentalists and conservationists looking for systems-based approaches to their work, and new ways to engage the public.
• Entrepreneurs keen to explore how bioregional enterprise can transform people and place.


Raul de Villafranca

A regenerative architect, socio-environmental activist, educator and lover of nature, Raul de Villafranca has led numerous transformative projects across Latin America. He brings cutting edge thinking and regenerative practice to the design table as well as in the teaching arena & development groups. His work is characterized by re-emerging and energizing the unique vocation and potential on teams and community groups on behalf of an autenthic holistic wellbeing. He integrates Deep Ecology, Ecological Literacy, Holistic Systems Thinking, Integrated Design Process, Biomimicry and Regenerative Design and Development.

Raul is specialized in bamboo architecture, Biomimicry and Regenerative Design. He has 35 years of professional practice, with ample variety of scale and type of projects, including housing, master plans and strategic connectivity plan for the Mexico-USA border and bioregional regeneration proposal of the Tarango rivers and micro watershed in Mexico City. He is a Professor at Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City and a member of the sustainability and the eclogocal movement groups inside the architectural programme at the Universidad Iberoamericana. Raul is the founder of Ecología y Habitat; NGO creator of Filobobos Natural Protected Area and doers of social equity and conservation work. He is a collaborator in Regenesis Group and a founding member of the Regenesis-Mexico development community, practicing this discipline in professional and academic arenas. He is a speaker at  national and international forums, mainly in Latinamerican universities in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador and lately at Schumacher College co-teaching with David Orr at the Ecological Design Thinking shortcourse.

Isabel Carlisle

Isabel is an animateur, someone who creates openings into which life is invited to take new forms and new expressions. (To animate means literally to “breathe life” into something.) One dimension of this art is the facilitation of groups in finding shared meaning, another is revealing the potential towards which people and places can grow.

Isabel Carlisle leads the team that is bringing the Bioregional Learning Centre into being in South Devon. She is also Education Coordinator for Transition Network and is co-founder of the Community Chartering Network She lives in Totnes, Devon.

Following a long career in the art world (in art publishing; as an art critic for The Times; and exhibitions curator at the Royal Academy of Arts in London) Isabel set up and directed the Festival of Muslim Cultures that took place across Britain throughout 2006. Over 120 events in almost every conceivable art form brought audiences into contact with the Muslim world in order to build bridges of understanding between cultures. After that Isabel became a Creative Consultant to the University of the Arts in London and developed education strategies for sustainability with schools in the east end of London. She moved to Totnes in 2010 and created two blueprint education programmes for Transition Network: Schools in Transition and One Year in Transition (1YT). 1YT is a sustainable livelihood-creation programme for over 20s that is now being replicated abroad. Isabel is also a member of the European Commons Assembly.

£ 550.00
Course fees include private accommodation, all vegetarian meals and snacks, field trips, materials and teaching sessions. This course is shared with Schumacher College's MA Ecological Design Thinking postgraduate students. It is open to external participants who would like to deeply explore this subject material. Early Bird Rate: £550 expires 20 November - Fee will increase to the normal fee of £595