DE/GROWTH: human ecology, solidarity, community

– application deadline extended to 30th August! –

2023 online and residential course
17th October – 9th December 2023

An invitation to take part in a participatory, transformative learning programme for social and environmental practitioners, (post)activists, change-makers and everyone else interested in exploring ideas and practices for economies of care, solidarity, belonging and social and ecological justice within planetary limits. The programme combines online sessions over seven weeks with a four day residential learning retreat at Whatton Lodge, Gullane, East Lothian. It is delivered jointly by Enough! Scotland and the Centre for Human Ecology.

Key components of the course:

• Weekly online sessions: Tuesdays 7pm – 9pm, Oct 17th – Dec 5th 2023

• A residential learning retreat and field trip, Whatton Lodge, Gullane, Nov 16th-20th

• Co-learning lab and gathering, 9th Dec (Central Scotland, venue tbc) : final event with sharing of participants’ learning

• Self-directed study: through a course handbook, online resources and a practice-based inquiry / study / creative exploration.

• At least three additional peer group meetings will be held over the period of the course (times to be agreed by participants)


In times marked by accelerating climate breakdown, and social ad economic volatility, uncertainty and complexity, the knowledge and skills required to understand and navigate the metacrisis call for new forms of education and community.

We will explore together where we are now, how we got here, and what we can do about it. DE/GROWTH means engaging with the framing and literature on degrowth: new economic thinking in response to biophysical limits – such as redistribution of resources, work and, global solidarity – while drawing on the deep roots of human ecology to explore belonging in relation to communities of place, climate justice and ecological sustainability.

During the course, together we’ll create a collaborative learning community around the core themes, and create ripples to embed principles and practices of degrowth and human ecology among community and climate activists across Scotland. We draw upon methods taken from popular education practice, building on a rich heritage of radical pedagogy.


The residential takes place at Whatton Lodge, Gullane, East Lothian, home of Lothian Mineworkers Convalescent Home Trust, which was set-up in 1948 to provide breaks and respite for ex-miners and their families after serious accidents or illness. Situated by the Gullane sand dunes, with a gate to the beach, the home of this year’s residential offers a beautiful and comfortable setting for learning, as well as a suitable venue to reflect on the meaning and memory of deindustrialisation in Scotland and its legacy of extractivism and inequality, which will be explored in the course content.

The residential is a transformative learning community in microcosm: designed to complement the online sessions with in-person collaboration and cooperation around the learning content and other group activities. It has four main components: learning sessions exploring human ecology, degrowth, the solidarity economy, and regenerative cultures, guided experiences engaging with land/waterscapes and each other,: peer groups meeting to discuss and inquire into their questions together, open space where participants self-organise sessions around specific topics or activities: and place-based learning from the community and bioregion. And no residential is complete without a self-organised ceilidh!

Please note that travel to and from the residential must be met by participants individually. If these are a barrier, please let us know when completing the application form below and we may be able to support your travel.

Who is the course for?

People normally based in (or with a connection to) Scotland who are active in their community and/or activist groups and keen to learn with like-minded peers. We encourage those who may not ordinarily have opportunities to take part in a course like this and will aim to accommodate barriers you may have to participating. Please get in touch and let us know if there is anything which might prevent you from taking part.

What you need to commit to:

We are making the course available for all to participate in, regardless of finances, but this does not mean that it is ‘free’ in an absolute sense. There is no charge for the course as it is fully funded by Enough! Scotland. However, delivering this course requires resources, labour and money; and places are limited. So please only apply for a place on the course if you can reasonably expect to be able to fully participate in all components for the duration of the course. The course comprises of 7 two-hour online workshops (delivered via Zoom), a four day residential, and an online virtual learning environment in which course readings and resources, and discussion threads are accessed.

As part of the course, participants will be asked to conduct a personal action inquiry into a question of their choosing related to the course themes, and to share the results of this inquiry with the course cohort in the final session, in whichever format/ creative medium they choose (for example, a poster presentation, a text, talk, artwork, or workshop). This will comprise a Co-Learning Lab and gathering on the 9th December 2023, in which the knowledge created during the course will be shared more widely.

Participants, upon completing the course, will be eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion. As part of our ongoing inquiry into co-operative and alternative economic practices, participants will have the opportunity to explore ways to contribute to the course, and associated activity by means of knowledge exchange, skillsharing and collaboration. This includes the opportunity to contribute to the educational charitable work of the Centre for Human Ecology by making a one-off or regular financial contribution of the education co-operative via our OpenCollective platform, 100% of which will go towards developing future educational work.

How to apply:

In order to apply, please complete a short form outlining why you would like to take part in the course. Our courses are generally oversubscribed, which means that we have to select participants. We select participants using the criteria of creating a diverse group of peer-learners based on the information you provide in the application form.

To apply, please fill in the application form by Wednesday 30th August, 2023:

Course Application Form

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