Movement, Mind and Ecology

MA | PGDip | PGCert
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overview

  • Be introduced to methods of practice led inquiry that involve physical engagement with the more-than-human world
  • Develop your own active, physical practice that can be used to help communities embrace their own connections with place

duration

MA: 1 year FT
Other routes are available, including online options – see ‘Learning Pathways’

department

start date

June. (Our master’s courses start at various points in the calendar year – find out why.)

full Term dates

2022-23 term dates: to follow.

next application deadline

March 2022

Learning pathways

Our degree programmes are designed to suit the complexities of modern life, allowing you to live where you live and work where you work, whilst studying the subject you are passionate about as a member of our wide-reaching learning community.

Some qualifications are offered part-time – these are indicated below.

MAster's (ft/pt; 180 credits)

A low-residency programme with 4 x 30-credit modules and 1 x 60-credit Dissertation or Major Project module.

The course is available full time over one year (UK, EU or international students) or part-time over two years (UK students only).

Postgraduate Diploma (ft/pt; 120 credits)

A full-time (1 year) or part-time programme (2 years, UK students only) with 4 x 30 credit modules. Students taking the full-time option will study all four modules during the first two terms.  For full details on part-time pathways, please contact us.

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits)

A full-time programme with 2 x 30 credit modules. Students will study both modules during term one.

First module only (30 credits)

Modules from this course can be studied on a standalone basis, with 30 credits allocated per module.

To apply for the accredited single module option, apply in the usual way, selecting the ‘single module’ option during the application process.

Online-only pathways

All options for this course are offered on a low-residency model, and are also available online-only. Please ensure you select the online-only option during your application as required.

More about flexible learning at Dartington >

course content

This programme explores the rich intersection of embodied practice, environmental philosophy, and ecological thinking. Literally grounded in the experience of its participants to place, this programme has the capacity to reshape our relationship to place, to nature, and to ourselves. We live in an era when climate change has become broadly accepted, yet the majority of economic, social, and legislative systems have not substantively changed to meet the challenges of a warming climate.

This programme gives students the tools to bring about that change, by helping communities and individuals reconnect with the places in which they live through physical activity, and through this fresh engagement with the lived environments provides opportunities to reframe our relationship with the more-than-human world.

By drawing on the expertise of existing faculty and staff at Schumacher College, specialists in movement ecology, critical mobility studies, embodiment and ecosomatics, systems thinking, and on world-renowned experts in a wide range of physical pursuits – from record-holding free divers, high altitude alpinists, long-distance walkers, ultrarunners, and many others – this course will braid together, for the first time in an MA programme, students’ physical, corporeal engagement with the world with diverse threads of ecophilosophy, mindfulness, and ecological thinking.

The location of Schumacher College nearby to both Dartmoor National Park and the South Devon coastline presents a range of outdoor opportunities for students enrolled in the programme including access to trail running, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, swimming, both within the Dartington’s 1,200 acre estate and the surrounding area. Partnerships with on and off campus organisations and individuals include Dynamic Adventures, Devon; TYF and Plas y Brenin in Wales; L’Orri Consiousness Centre in the Pyrenees; Wildwise, Devon; Rickey Gates (ultrarunner and author); Lizzy Hawker (ultrarunner, adventurer, author, race director); and Annelie Pompe (free diver, seven summits mountaineer, author).

We run regular online live chat sessions with the programme team, where you can meet the lecturers and ask them your questions about studying on the course. Register for a live chat via this link(link is external).

Who is this programme for: Runners, walkers, mountaineers, climbers, divers, movement-based artists, and anyone else interested exploring physical activities through a combination of practice and philosophy. The programme is open to everyone, with all levels of ability, experience, and comfort moving in the outdoors.

The course draws on a breadth of expertise and experience and on a diversity of perspectives and will focus on student’s personal embodied experience, helping them to develop their own movement practice.

Throughout the programme, students will:

  • Cultivate their relationship with place through movement
  • Write about immersive experiences
  • Interrogate their perceived boundaries
  • Develop resilience in their engagement with place, self, and others
  • Explore a range of techniques with which to mediate their relationships with self through action
  • Redefine adventure and embody practice

We anticipate students to go on to take up roles in the outdoor sector and have received feedback from a number of institutions that they are very interested in working with graduates from this kind of programme. The course will also help you gain practical skills in developing your own projects in the real world, working on ecological and activist issues that incorporate movement.

The programme team have created an introductory reading list for the subject, which we highly recommend to anyone interested in getting a feel for the kinds of ideas that will be explored on the course. Click here to browse the list.

programme structure & modules

Module 1: Movement and Mind – 30 credits
By foregrounding the embodied engagement of students with natural places through a variety of different physical means, this module lays the foundation for Movement, Mind, and Ecology. The rigorous intellectual and personal inquiry set the tone and rhythm for the entire programme. In this module, students will be introduced to methods of practice led inquiry that involve physical engagement with the more-than-human world. Workshops with some of the world’s leading athletes, adventurers, place-based practitioners, and thinkers will help students make connections between the body and the world around us.

Module 2: Ecology and Embodiment – 30 credits
This module foregrounds the role of movement in ecological systems, from migration to climate adaptation to ocean currents to isostatic rebound and more. Students will engage in guided individual projects throughout the module, culminating in a final practical project that interweaves an embodied connection to place with a deeper understanding of the dynamic nature of the systems in which we are all already a part. The physiology of movement will be an ongoing theme that grounds our conversations.

Module 3: Mediating Boundaries – 30 credits
This module emphasizes seminar-style student-led class sessions to explicitly bring student experience and expertise to the classroom. The focus of the module on exploring, understanding, and challenging boundaries (between self and other, human and non-human, individual and community, and between different ecological systems) is itself mediated by ongoing physical practice. Through this guided practice, students will use a phenomenological lens with which to explore the limits of the self.

Module 4: Performing Place – 30 credits
In this final taught module, students will develop their own community-based active, physical practice that can be used to help communities embrace their own connections with place through direct action and corporeal engagement. Examples could include: developing a community walking group, starting a meditation practice for a local gardening group, adding an element of ecological education to an existing athletic event, developing and deploying ways to challenge ableist conceptions of physical activity.

Module 5: Dissertation or Final Project – 60 credits
An individual project.

entry requirements

Qualification(s) required for entry to the MA

BA/BSc (Honours) Degree A first degree
Where the first degree is not a 2.1, or in an unrelated subject, further support of the application or experience may be required.

Other non-standard awards or experience
A willingness engage with the field of Movement, Mind and Ecology. Candidates will be considered with prior credited learning and prior experiences subject to interview.* Candidates will be considered with appropriate APL (UoP Regs) subject to interview.

Interview requirements
All applicants are required to attend an interview, either at the College or online. During the interview we will look for: evidence of intellectual clarity during interview; a clearly formulated purpose for taking the course; focused interests and a clear understanding of the ethos and philosophy of the College; readiness and ability to live and work in a communal setting.

*For further information please contact our admissions team at admissions@dartington.org.

fees

For full details on our fees, plus information about scholarships, student loans and bursaries, click here.

staff

Rachel Sweeney

Dr Rachel Sweeney

Rachel is Programme Lead and Senior Lecturer for Movement, Mind, and Ecology.

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Pavel Cenkl

Dr Pavel Cenkl

Pavel is Head of Schumacher College, and oversees Programme Development for Movement, Mind, and Ecology.

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Marie Metenier

Dr Marie Méténier

Marie is Associate Lecturer for Movement, Mind, and Ecology.

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