Some highlights from the first

Schumacher Ireland Summer School



From Crisis to Resilience: rethinking Ireland's economic future

at Camphill Community Glencraig, 11-15 June 2012


- a collaboration between Schumacher College in Devon and the

School of Law at Queen's University Belfast to bring the College's

unique brand of transformative learning to Ireland for the first time.




"...the whole Schumacher approach was for me something I so rarely encounter - creating a true educational experience." Peadar Kirby, Emeritus Professor of International Politics and Public Policy at the University of Limerick and guest teacher at the Schumacher Ireland Summer School.




What lies beyond growth?


Jonathan Dawson, Head of Economics at Schumacher College, confronted the difficult question, 'Why, when scientists are telling us that exponential economic growth is impossible in a finite planet do our politicians remain addicted to growth?' He quoted Hungarian philosopher and economist Karl Polanyi, whose name came up several times during the week:


"The control of the economic system by the market is of overwhelming consequence to the whole organisation of society: it means no less than the running of society as an adjunct to the market. Instead of the economy being embedded in social relations, social relations are embedded in the economic system." Karl Polanyi



How can we develop resilient local communities?


This short video

from NESTA

has one






















Danger and Opportunity: crisis and the new social economy


Robin Murray drew on his vast experience of social enterprise around the world to illustrate his view that social innovation will be at least as important as private innovation in the new economy.


He explained how the social economy has its greatest potential at the interface of the state, the market, the grant economy and households.


And what a terrifically engaging teacher Robin is with the conversation continuing through coffee breaks, meal times and late into the night.


Some of his social economy publications are available here.



Robin Murray on Co-ops


In 2010 Co-operatives UK asked Robin Murray to write a report about the future of the co-operative movement: the draft report was published last year. At the summer school Robin described some of the amazing things he has learnt and some of his thoughts on the future of co-operation. This was exciting stuff for all those who took part in the summer school.


Listen to what Robin said here and read his article on the cooperative movement in Resurgence magazine.



Peadar Kirby - which way forward for the island of Ireland?


Peadar Kirby suggested that we are engaged in a struggle of ideas, a choice between three different models of state/market relationships: the neo-liberal model that has dominated the last 30 years, the Nordic social democratic model, and a new ecological or ethical socialist model. Participants were challenged to think about how there own work fits with these models and under which one would it be most likely to thrive. His slides are here.



Peadar is also a teacher of many years experience and was vocal in his belief that the way we teach is failing our students. He believes that we need much more of Schumacher College's transformative education, "...the whole Schumacher approach was for me something I so rarely encounter - creating a true educational experience."



Hazel Henderson - transforming global finance


To be joined by video-link from Florida by Hazel Henderson, world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, a worldwide syndicated columnist and author, is a rare treat. Hazel has been at the forefront of new economic thinking for over 30 years and no more so than in her ideas for transforming global finance in the wake of the current economic crisis. Hazel spent two evenings in discussion with summer school participants and teachers. Recordings of the event and her presentations are available below:


Transforming Global Finance 1 Video (coming soon)

Transforming Global Finance 1 Presentation

Transforming Global Finance 2 Video (coming soon)

Transforming Global Finance 2 Presentation




Social Finance Seminar


The Building Change Trust organised a seminar on social finance with representatives from Ulster Communities Investment Trust, Charity Bank , the Ulster Federation of Creit Unions and the Irish League of Credit Unions.

A recent report on social finance in Northern Ireland provided background for the discussion.









Visit to the Ashton Centre, Belfast



The Building Change Trust also organised a field trip to the Ashton Centre in North Belfast was an excellent illustration of the kind of social enterprise of which Robin Murray is such a passionate advocate. The Ashton business model sustains childcare provision, employment and training schemes and youth clubs among many more initiatives including their latest initiative in partnership with MIT, the FabLab. This incredible facility illustrates the trend towards distributed production that Robin identifies as one of the defining characteristics of the new economy.





John Woods | Office: +44(0)28 9042 6513 | Mobile: +44(0)7712 843 213



Schumacher Ireland Summer School is a Holywood Transition Town project delivered in association with Schumacher College, Devon and the School of Law at Queen's University Belfast.


Holywood Transition Town Limited is a non-profit company limited by guarantee. Registered office: 133c High Street, Holywood, Co Down BT18 9LG. Company No. NI073681