With a new era of climate and ecological breakdown well and truly here, the path towards a just and ecological transformation might seem impossible and overwhelming. Yet, accepting that the status quo is not OK can also be empowering. It is an opportunity to re-examine ourselves, our societies, and our relationship to nature.
This course is for anyone interested in coming together with others to contemplate the opportunities that the new era of planetary crisis offers to re-imagine ourselves, our families and communities, our careers and businesses to unlock the potential for positive change. And it’s for people that are (already) on the frontline of climate change – in communities bearing the brunt of global social and ecological misconduct- and seeking more immediate coping mechanism, and strategies that can sustain their activism.
Rooted in BMC’s unique educational approach, this residential experience will harness the neuroscience of how humans learn, change, and adapt. Understanding and unlocking these faculties can be transformational in equipping us with the tools to unleash the hugely resourceful human in us all. The best way humans have found to train those capabilities – our sensory and cognitive circuits – is through the arts.
Creative practice is a method of provisional progress; it is how artists approach complex problems, enabling them to make sense of unfamiliar and uncomfortable things and navigate uncertainty. Without needing to be or become ‘An Artist,’ we will apply both creative and cognitive experiences to the complex problems of the warming era.
Carefully designed to generate highly collaborative learning spaces, we will unpick the stories that we tell ourselves about climate breakdown, re-imagine what we thought we knew, and create new connections together. A final set of sessions will help you apply these new stories in your life, home, community, and workplace.
What will I do and learn?
- Take an unflinching look at the latest science of ecological change.
- Explore the long natural and cultural history of the earth and how things have come to be, whilst unpicking the stories that we tell ourselves about climate breakdown.
- Understand both the cultural and neurological processes that underlie our individual and collective response to the enormity of the ecological crisis and challenge ahead.
- Immersion in creative practice that will help you to overcome feelings of paralysis, and approach problems in new ways.
- Explore what the new era means for you, and brainstorm practical strategies for meaningful action in every sphere of your life.
- Acquiring methodologies that you can apply in your life to manage anxiety, develop mental clarity, improvise and adapt in order to navigate an uncertain world.
- Co-create knowledge by drawing together ideas and expertise from renowned scientists, creatives, and the other participants.
- Cook and eat together, spend time on the land and in nature, swim in streams, sleep under the stars.
Who will I learn from?
Dr Hanna Poikonen
Hanna is a researcher in neuroscience of movement, dance and music, and she applies her knowledge in higher education at ETH Zurich and in rehabilitation at Örebro University Hospital. Based on her academic work and education in dance and somatic methods, she has created the WiseMotion method on neuroscience and creative movement which she has taught in North America, Europe, Asia, and on different online platforms.
Zena is a professional writer/poet performer, radical educator and creative project developer. She studied storytelling and performance at The London International School for Performing Arts and is founder of Verse in Dialog – an arts and engagement CIC that champions arts that serve. She regularly curates independent events advocating for climate and environmental justice, equity and decolonisation. Zena is a mentor in professional artist’s development and creative campaigning and is a leading advocate for diversity for Culture Declares Emergency Movement. You can find more of Zena’s work here: thefuryproject.com and createtotransformcoaching.com
Mark is the author of several books on the environment, including High Tide, The God Species, Seeds of Science, and Six Degrees which won the prestigious Royal Society science books prize. He also received the Breakthrough Paradigm Award in 2012. He advises former Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed on climate, and works with the 48-member Climate Vulnerable Forum in this capacity. Mark is currently a visiting fellow with the Cornell Alliance for Science at Cornell University, which engages in pro-science advocacy and research around the world on issues ranging from GMOs to vaccines to climate.
Heather Ackroyd / Ackroyd & Harvey
Heather is internationally acclaimed for creating works that intersect art, activism, architecture, biology, ecology and history. In 2019, she and Dan Harvey co-founded Culture Declares Emergency as part of a core group in response to the climate and ecological emergency. They have been recipients of prestigious public art awards including a commission for the inauguration of the David Attenborough Building in Cambridge 2016.
Ben is co-founder and director of the Black Mountains College. He is also an award-winning writer, activist, former speech writer to Sir Menzies Campbell and Charles Kennedy. His latest book The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth, describes some of the large earth systems changes underway and what this might mean in human time-scales. It has some significant lessons for how we imagine and prepare for the future.
Dr Natalia Eernstman
Natalia is an artist, academic, educator and activist, working across the Arts and Sciences to build community resilience in the face of a climate changed future. She worked with theatre companies, creating large scale outdoor productions, and has done various community projects where she uses art to create spaces where people can learn our way into an unknown future. She has a PhD, is an experienced facilitator and currently leads the MA Creative Education at Plymouth College of Art.
Dates and booking – 23rd – 26th June 2022
Time – Arrival on the 23rd at 4pm
Departure on the 26th at 4pm
Location – Troed yr Harn, Hospital Road, Talgarth LD3 0EF
Apply for a bursary before 15th June!