Our academic staff research includes publications and research projects in contemporary arts practices and production, holistic science, innovative learning for ecological and social change, regenerative economics, and regenerative food and farming.
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Dartington Arts School Researchers
Bram Thomas Arnold
Dr Bram Thomas Arnold is an artist who started with walking and kept going into performance, drawing, installation, writing and academia. He is Associate Lecturer for our Poetics of Imagination programme.
His research interests include autoethnography, ecological arts practice, conservation and conversations around re/wilding, regenerative agriculture and the politics of being and selfhood in the Anthropocene. He is currently developing a number of projects on the Lizard in Cornwall at the intersection of contemporary arts research and re/wilding, conservation and the politics of land in collaboration with Professor Caitlin DeSilvey at the University of Exeter. He has undertaken post-doctoral research as a National Productivity Investment Fellow at Falmouth University in collaboration with the National Trust. Published papers include writing for the New Statesman, Digital Creativity Journal and the Living Maps Review.
As an artist he has developed a practice of Romantic Conceptualism that does not restrict itself to traditional boundaries, mediums or modes of practice, but rather develops a responsive way of being and making that is composed of and by its present context. He has exhibited internationally in exhibitions from New York to St. Petersburg.
Exhibitions include: This is The Future, Chiltern Sculpture Trail; British Art Show 6, Newcastle; Deptford X Festival, London; Conflux Festival of Psychogeography, New York; Artisterium, Tbilisi, Georgia; Performance Writing 12, Arnolfini, Bristol; Sideways: a festival of walking, Belgium; Remote Performances, Outlandia/Resonance FM, Scotland; Venice Biennale; HIDE, Secret Garden Party, Cambridge; Hermitage, Newlyn Gallery and Unbounded, Eden Project.
Alan Boldon is a practising artist and CEO of the Dartington Trust. He specialises in arts and ecology and systems thinking.
He has taught widely in higher education and was formerly Head of the School of Art, Design and Media at the University of Brighton.
Previous roles include: Associate Curator and the Head of Research at Arnolfini; Head of Arts and Ecology at Dartington College of Arts; Director of an International Arts Summer School in Luxembourg; Lecturer in Fine Art in Context at the University of the West of England. Alan has taught at and advised higher education institutions throughout the world including work at Trondheim School of Arts, University of New Mexico, Banff Centre for the Arts, LaSalle College of Art and Design, NTU Singapore, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Taylor’s University Malaysia, San Francisco College of Art and Design, University of The Fjords, Icelandic Academy of the Arts. He is on the board of MIT Press Leonardo Journal. He has worked with many Arts and Design organisations on strategy including the RSA, TATE, and the Tobacco Factory.
Dr Jo Joelson is Programme Lead for MA Arts and Place. She is a London based artist, researcher and writer.
Jo has been awarded International Fellowships and residencies to undertake research and fieldwork, including at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California; Headlands Center for the Arts, USA; Space Plasma Physics Group, Dept. Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester; Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts, Iceland; Vatnasafn/Library of Water, Iceland; Living Art Museum, Iceland; Northeast Greenland National Park; and Reserva Ecológica De Guapiaçu, Brasil. Her collaborative projects, films, artworks and architectures have received awards, honours and special mentions from Ars Electronica, VIDA International Art and Artificial Life, The Arts Foundation, AJ Architecture Awards and London Short Film Festival.
Jo has a Master’s (Distinction) in curating art, design and new media and completed her AHRC-funded doctorate in 2020, receiving her PhD for Library of Light: a framework to explore light, material culture and social experience from the University of Sunderland, UK.
Jo has co-edited a number of publications including Null Object: Gustav Metzger thinks about nothing, published by Black Dog (2012); Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture, a project centred on London Fieldworks’ Outlandia project in the Scottish Highlands, published by Routledge (2015). Her recently authored, Library of Light: encounters with artists and designers, was published by Lund Humphries (2019) and examines the role light plays in the new frontiers of art, design and technology and its impact on our cultural history. Most recently Jo has collaborated with writer and thinker Timothy Morton on a future documentary Confronting our Erasure Through Art for BBC4. She also recently contributed the essay Violence Power, Surveillance: From the Blind Lantern to the Searchlight for “White Torture” to a bilingual publication (German/English) published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König to accompany Power! Light! a forthcoming exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2021-22).
Martin is currently Reader and Programme Lead for our Poetics of Imagination programme. His work circles mythology and landscape, oral storytelling and poetics.
He founded both the Oral Tradition and Living Myth courses at Stanford University, and was Artistic Director of the Great Mother Conference in Maine for nine years, inheriting the position from Robert Bly.
His areas of interest are Irish myth and folklore, the philosophy of John Moriarty, the Grail legend of Parzival, Siberian folk tales and indigenous culture, contemporary Romanticism, Ethnopoetics, the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and Ted Hughes.
His work has ranged from writing the 2019 catalogue for Ai Weiwei, Life Cycle, to a 101 day vigil in a Dartmoor forest, which became the book Wolferland. He has been awarded the Price, Bretherton, Elgood Award for outstanding achievements in the arts, and the Summerfield Scholarship to the British School in Rome. His first book, A Branch from The Lightning Tree, won the Nautilus Book Prize. Amongst others he has been published in The Mississippi Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry International, Orion, Poetry Magazine and the New England Review.
His books are Bardskull (2022); Elk Bone is Bright Owl (2022); A Hut at the Edge of the Village: The Beauty and Trouble of John Moriarty (2021); Smoke Hole (2021); Red Bead Woman (2020); All Those Barbarians (2020); Wolferland (2020); Courting the Wild Twin (2020); Wolf Milk: Chthonic Memory in the Deep Wild (2019); The Night Wages (2019, 2020); The Five Fathoms (Hedgespoken Press, 2018); The Mythteller trilogy: Scatterlings (2016), Snowy Tower (2014), A Branch from the Lightning Tree (2011).
His translations are Poems of Lorca: Courting the Dawn (with Stephan Harding) (Cista Mystica Press, 2019); Cinderbiter: Celtic Poems (with Tony Hoagland) (Graywolf Press, 2020).
His essays include Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle (Marciano Art Foundation, 2019); An Earth That Thinks in Myth: Temenos Academy Review (Temenos Academy, 2019); Ted Hughes: Etiquette of the Uncanny (The Ted Hughes Society Journal, 2018); Small Gods: Oikosophia, From the Intelligence of the Heart to Ecophilosophy (Associazione Culturale Mimesis, 2017).
Tracey is a fiction and non-fiction writer and also works with text in the vicinity of art. She is an Associate Lecturer on our Poetics of Imagination programme.
Her recent fiction includes the future fiction, The Water Age (Meanda Books, 2018) and five historical novels set in medieval Europe. She was shortlisted for the Impress Prize for Fiction and is currently working on a biography of three medieval sisters, entitled Three Female Lords, which received an Authors Foundation grant. She was awarded a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary and a Santander Research Award.
Tracey was Director of the Arts and Cultural Management programmes at Dartington College of Arts from 2002–2006. She was co-curator of the Edge Biennales in London, Newcastle and in Madrid European Capital of Culture. She was Combined Arts Officer at Arts Council Great Britain and Gallery Publications Officer at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. As an independent curator, she worked with a wide range of international artists including James Turrell, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Marina Abramovic, Cornelia Parker, Helen Chadwick and Isaac Julien. Her books on contemporary art include The Midden (Garret, 2018), Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture (Routledge, 2015) and The Artist’s Body (Phaidon, 2000). She has published numerous catalogue essays and journal articles on a wide range of contemporary artists including Christian Thompson, Hayley Newman and Marcus Coates.
schumacher college Researchers
Dr Pavel Cenkl
Pavel is Head of Schumacher College, and oversees Programme Development for Movement, Mind, and Ecology.
Having taught and served as Dean for nearly 15 years at Vermont’s Sterling College, Pavel brings a depth of experience to Schumacher College’s unique approach to experiential learning. While pursuing research in ecologically-minded curriculum design and teaching courses in environmental philosophy, Pavel is also a passionate endurance and adventure runner. Over the past five years through a project called Climate Run, Pavel has covered hundreds of miles in the Arctic and subarctic on foot in order to bring attention to the connections between our bodies and the more-than-human world in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Pavel holds a Ph.D. in English and is the author of many articles, chapters, and two books: Nature and Culture in the Northern Forest: Region, Heritage, and Environment in the Rural Northeast. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010; and This Vast Book of Nature: Writing the Landscape of New Hampshire's White Mountains, 1784-1911. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006. He is currently working on a book titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, which threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy and reflections on what it means to be human.
Jonathan Dawson is a Regenerative Economics Fellow. For many years he was Programme Coordinator and Senior Lecturer for our Regenerative Economics programme.
Until recently a long-term resident at the Findhorn ecovillage and a former President of the Global Ecovillage Network, he has around 20 years’ experience as a researcher, author, consultant and project manager in the field of small enterprise development in Africa and South Asia. Jonathan is the principal author of the Gaia Education sustainable economy curriculum, drawn from best practice within ecovillages worldwide, that has been endorsed by UNITAR and adopted by UNESCO as a valuable contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. He has taught this curriculum at universities, ecovillages and community centres in Brazil, Spain and Scotland.
Professor Roberto Fraquelli
Roberto is Senior Lecturer for MA Ecological Design Thinking. He is interested in Holistic Design and the dilemma many designers face between the pressures of economic growth and an empathy with all living systems.
Dr Stephan Harding
Stephan is a Deep Ecology Research Fellow and has been teaching on the MSC Holistic Science programme since its inception in 1998.
In 1990 Stephan became one of the founding members of Schumacher College where he worked closely with James Lovelock, with whom he has maintained a long-lasting friendship and scientific collaboration. As a result of this, they were jointly appointed as founding chair holders of the Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo.
Stephan led and lectured on the college’s MSc Holistic Science for nearly two decades, teaching on the core models of the programme, as well as on several short courses at the College. At Schumacher College Stephan has taught alongside many of the world’s leading ecological thinkers and activists, including Arne Naess, Fritjof Capra, Brian Goodwin, Vandana Shiva, David Abram, James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. He is now Deep Ecology Research Fellow at Schumacher College, where his interests are the intersects between scientific ecology (especially Gaia theory) and the world of psyche and soul.
He plays classical guitar and the Venezuelan cuatro and loves to speak Spanish, his native tongue.
Stephan is author of Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia, as well as Gaia Alchemy and Poems of Lorca: Courting the Dawn, translated with Martin Shaw.
Dr Sarah Elisa Kelly
Dr Sarah Elisa Kelly’s background is in cultural theory and critical thinking, with interests spanning the arts and environmental humanities.
Sarah draws on subversive arts thinking, alternative practices of imagination, forms of unknowing and non-dominant cultural cosmologies, with a particular emphasis on everyday creative resistance. She endeavours to work within a care-led, slow scholarship framework that gratefully acknowledges indebtedness to the activism of academics of colour, indigenous, minority, feminist and queer knowledge. She has also trained extensively in somatic and movement practices and is passionate about embodiment politics. She spent several years working as a hand paper maker, developing a haptic, text-based arts practice in the process that has been exhibited internationally.
Dr Andy Letcher
Andy is the programme lead for MA Engaged Ecology at Schumacher College.
Andy has doctorates in Ecology (Oxford University – studying patterns of distribution of mammals at the continental level) and in the Study of Religion (King Alfred’s College, Winchester – researching bardic performance within contemporary Druidry and radical environmental protest movements). Consequently, he is especially interested in the intersection between ecology and worldview or spirituality.
He taught for many years as an Associate Lecturer in the Study of Religion at Bath Spa University and Oxford Brookes University (Research Methods, Issues in Contemporary Religion, Contemporary Paganism and Festivals in Religion and Culture). Andy is third supervisor for a PhD student at the University of Sydney, who is researching the experiences of participants at the Synthesis psilocybin retreat centre in the Netherlands.
Andy’s areas of expertise include neopaganism, shamanism, the new animism, and psychedelic spiritualities. His current research focuses on the proliferation of both scientific and religious interest in psychedelics, and the assumptions, sympathies and antipathies between the various discourses by which psychedelic experience is interpreted. Current papers include a study of the use of psychedelics within contemporary Druidry, an investigation of the purported ability of psychedelics to engender an ecological self, and a co-authored paper on the significance of the Green Man in contemporary alternative spiritualities. He is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom and a range of papers, many of which can be found at independent.academia.edu/AndyLetcher.
Dr Mona Nasseri
Mona is Head of Research at Schumacher College and Programme Lead for MA Ecological Design Thinking. She joined Schumacher College in 2014 and been involved in the delivery and development of the programme since its inception.
Mona has a background in craft and design. After doing an undergraduate degree in Craft and Material Culture at the University of Art, Tehran, Iran, she completed MDes and PhD in Design at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Her doctorate thesis is an exploration of the role of unmediated relationship with the environment in the evolution of human consciousness. Her aspiration is to reintroduce the embodied and relational qualities of craft practice into regenerative design processes, particularly in participatory approaches to Transition.
Dr Rachel Sweeney
Rachel is Head of Schumacher College Programmes and Programme Lead and Senior Lecturer for Movement, Mind, and Ecology.
Rachel has worked as Head of Dance Studies at Liverpool Hope University (2010-2021), as a Visiting Fellow for the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, and as Centre Fellow for the Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Plymouth. She is a current member of the European experimental heritage project Karum Creevagh and her research has been supported internationally through the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, Creative Ireland and CSIRO Australia, and locally through Dartmoor National Park Authorities, Teignmouth County Council and Dance in Devon.