belonging and the natural world
an online learning course
Wikimedia Commons, attribution: Mountains-nature-person-hiking (23958935379).jpg
This online course supports individuals to learn and practice ways of relating with natural phenomena that honour the essential nature of living things and processes.
Lasting 9 weeks, and delivered through weekly group tutorials, the course aims to complement our understanding of the natural world with ways of participating with it. The practices we will explore are designed to support participants to perceive relationships and identify the inherent qualities in natural phenomena. This in turn can lead to finding balance between our questions around environmental ethics and the empirical facts we know about things.
The course weaves theoretical with experiential content, with the emphasis placed on experiential practice. Participants are given weekly reading material and/or experiential exercises to complete between meetings. Towards the end of the course, there is an opportunity to complete a short personal project with one-to-one support. This gives an opportunity to apply the course material to a topic chosen by the participant.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities, un-sustainability and fragility that are endemic to our society. Central to some of the important questions raised by the pandemic is our relationship to the natural world. The purpose of this course is to offer participants ways of engaging with the natural world that are ‘phenomenon-centered'; that begin with an understanding of the inherent and intrinsic nature of phenomena. This offers the possibility to reorient our thinking and actions in ways that are more appropriate to the natural processes and environments that we live in. It also provides a basis to reorient our work and life-styles towards more participatory ways of living with all things around us.
The term ‘delicate empiricism’ is borrowed from Johann von Goethe, the 18/19th century German poet and scientist who developed a rigorous and sophisticated way of participating with dynamic qualities in nature. This course is inspired by his work and draws on a body of practice rooted in his legacy.
The 2023 dates of next Delicate Empiricism course will be posted here soon.
If you would like to be kept informed about futures dates and events, please sign up to the email list on the top right of this page - or send me an email at the address below.
Please see the course information page for more details including the course content and schedule.
Feedback from previous courses:
The course…was really meaningful. Through the different observation exercises ….I really took time to understand, see and connect with nature around me - as strong as never before I felt and saw the similarity between Me as a human being and a plant as an alive being. That was incredible for me. Suddenly the world made more sense to me. Before this [I] was "understanding" it - but not really feeling and knowing it.
Louisa Himmelbach, participant Youth Initiative Programme
I’d like to say that this was a miracle experience and one of the best [summer schools] in my life….you’ve brought something new and wonderful in my life.
Fatima Firogatova, Biocultural Diversity Summer School participant
I can say that I could feel the Earth as a living organism.
Anara Dolotova, Holistic Science Summer School participant
This was a new kind of way to learn for me, and it was amazing. We did everything by ourselves and this was the most important and greatest part.
Hangoma Mamadsaidova, Biocultural Diversity Summer School participant