DESIGN FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND TRANSITION
– an Eco-village Design Education ( EDE) programme at Nordfyns Højskole
Dates: 4th April till 26th June 2019 (12 weeks)
Venue: Nordfyns Folk high school, Fælledvej 11, 5400 Bogense (and 3-4 Danish Ecovillages)
This Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) is being held at the Danish Folk high school Nordfyns Folk High School, which is based on participatory learning and by forming community, living in a boarding school manner. In general, the folk high schools represent places of enlightenment, community, transformation and change making. No one will leave from there untouched. The same counts for an EDE. Therefore, the combination of an EDE and the folk high school environment form a good match.
The EDE and optional subjects form the core of the 12 weeks course and is taking up 7 modules (half days) weekly. The remaining 3 modules give opportunity for the students to integrate with the other folk high schools in regular and optional activities/subjects.
A qualified line up of facilitators from the ecovillage movement, transition movement and the permaculture association in Denmark make up the primary faculty for this EDE course. Apart from the EDE curriculum with the four dimensions and the integrated design, where each dimension includes and excursion to a Danish ecovillage, also a Permaculture Design Certificate Course will be integrated/added to the programme, as well as a three day Transition Training and an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. These different educational pathways are linked to the purpose of the EDE: to train change makers in taking lead in the transformation of their societies. Therefore, the application of design methods and processes into real-life scenarios will be of high importance and will in this EDE last for 3 months, which hopefully will give more solid design projects to be implemented.
The uniqueness of the course its blended form, having the folk high school as its primary base, but supplemented by a series of selected excursions (according to the dimensions in the EDE) to Danish ecovillages and transition projects, to give opportunity for place-based learning on site and seek inspiration from the Danish ecovillages. In that way, the students will experience the design and lived life 3-4 ecovillages through short stays (3 days) in each.
A special focus in this EDE will be to equip students with skills to mobilize, organize and inspire others, not only through their practical projects, but through Training of Trainer activities, enabling the students to train others in community building and design techniques. The course will include a 2 days multiplier training in the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDG), introducing the students to the SDGs as a shared framework for action.
Introducing Nordfyns Højskole
Nordfyns is a folk high school recognized and regulated by the law of folk high schools in Denmark. They conduct ‘enlightenment education’ for adults giving life skills and opportunities to people from Denmark and many other countries. An important feature is to empower people through interactive learning, story-telling, sports, playing and generally a range of participatory learning approaches, based on dialogue and explorative techniques.
One of the main values of Nordfyn Folk High School is to be “glocal”, which means to teach green and global skills at the same time as we try to implement as much as possible locally. (global/local = “glocal”). A motto for the school is ‘be the change’, indicating that students are meant to inspire by example and lead transformation processes, for themselves individually, for groups and for societies.
For some years, the school has focused on China, with special programs for kindergartens teachers and leaders about early childhood education.
The school is beautifully located in the country side, with a housing capacity of around 80 students and a group of core teachers/staff, who together form the folk high school living community – which will form a relevant setting for the community process in the group.
- To learn about the function and design of ecovillages, reinventing organizations, the ecovillage network and so-called “Evolutionary Teal” as pioneer aspects of social innovation offering sustainable and caring solutions to problems facing
- To gain necessary knowledge, skills and attitude required to successfully design, create, advise or participate in various forms of community and sustainability projects, thereby leading changes necessary in the transition to a more resilient and regenerative
- To engage in a design process clarifying how worldview/culture, social, ecological, and economic elements can be understood, practiced and reinforced within a community, by working in groups on specific, implementable design projects – thereby learning about vision, communication, group dynamics, planning and action skills while engaging in the process of creating actual
- To experience a sense of interconnectedness, personally and as a group, going through the processes characterizing the
- To create a living system through a self-management organization (Born Teal) in which the 12 weeks programme will be the starting The living system (Born Teal) aim to support increasingly more youth to assist people to become closer to and in connection with the sustainable network communities
- To interact and develop relationships with primarily the Danish Ecovillages, Chinese Ecovillages and the Global Ecovillage Network, but also the Folk High School movement, GAIA education, the Transition Towns and Permaculture Network, thereby strengthening support networks and sense of
- To get an overview of where to get further information and knowledge, networks and skills that may be lacking, to continue the lifelong learning
The programme offers an education – but not in the conventional sense of the word.
It is perhaps more appropriate to call it a learning experience of joining an intentionally different way of living, where care for people and planet is the main parameter.
The programme will be composed of three different categories of activities:
- The EDE, which will be spread over all three months. This gives a little more freedom to the dimensions and modules, as the learning can be consolidated over longer time, but the group still being together a s a learning
- Supplementary educational programmes – mainly the PDC, the Transition Training and the GAIA Education ToT including SDG multipler
- Folk High School subjects, which will go on every week, supplementing the EDE focus, but sometimes also completely different, which also equally be needed. This offers an excellent chance to meet and integrate better with the rest of the students at the
A draft programme has been made, spelling out the weight of the different activities.
Most of the educational programmes have exact expectation of hours to complete the content and attain certification – that have been lived up to, in the preliminary programme. Still, there is a little free space in the programme to follow the energy, needs and wishes of the group, even the programme have become surprisingly full.
The Chinese students are in Denmark also to gain inspiration from the lived life here. Therefore, apart from the modules being taught in the three different ecovillages, there will be excursions to different cities, where socioeconomic enterprises, community projects etc. will be visited.
This programme is different from a normal folk high school course at Nordfyns as focus will be the specific educational programs integrated – the EDE, a PDC and a Transition Training, but also a GAIA Education ToT, which includes a 2 days SDG Multiplier training.
These specific programs will therefore be led by certified trainers, within each their specific field. There is a file attached, with bios, and photos of the main faculty members.
- EDE: Trainers/facilitators need to have an EDE experience themselves, but preferably also the GAIA Education ToT. Three of the facilitators have, at the time of the EDE, gone through these steps (Camilla, Ditlev, Kristiane – the plan is also to involve Veljko, who has the same qualification). Both Ditlev and Camilla are founding members of ecovillages, Dada lives in an Ashram, a spiritual community, while Kristiane is in the process of establishing an ecovillage. They all are – or have been – involved in LOES, the Danish Association of
- PDC: Will be led by facilitators with the right certification, who can certify the students (Cathrine and Karoline from Permaculture Denmark)
Also Transition Training (probably Tina Clarke, Annette Buhl, but Transition Denmark will make their selection) and the Awakening the Dreamer (Jannick Claes Andersen) calls for certified trainers, both to implement the sessions at level, but also to certify the students, for their training to be recognized as a part of that specific educational programme.
Supplementing the faculty for the programme elements above, Nordfyn’s will contribute primarily with their teacher responsible for Sustainability and Global Issues (Alma), who will serve as the primary link between the specific educational programmes and the Folk High School setting, especially with the other teachers, students and subjects at Nordfyns.
In conducting an EDE, normally there will be a weaver function, joggling between the different dimensions and faculty members, ensuring the red thread in the programme, for the students, but also giving attention to group dynamics, learning progress and needs.
This is crucial, as strategy changes might be needed – a plan might be met with a different reality and this is a pilot project, that needs monitoring and attention. Also, it is a long programme with many elements, that have to be well coordinated and ‘synergized’.
In this case, Alma and Camilla will be the core team weaving the full programme together in a coherent way, utilizing the best of what each of the many different components can contribute with, to create the best synergy, but also wellbeing of both faculty, students and cooperation partners, maximum learning potential and impact.
This EDE is wanted and requested by youth from all over the world. Participants will generally be between 18-30 years.
The programme will be well linked to the existing EDE activities that GEN/GAIA Education is currently implementing in China.
Participants will be selected upon application, to ensure the right profile of the students. Here not only language level (all teaching will be in English), but also motivation and potential avenues for action/implementation will be assessed. Students who already have projects at home in mind, will be preferred. A selection committee will be set up, involving at least Nordfyns Folk High School and Fenglei Chen, who is Chinese and living in Denmark.