Dartington Trust Researchers
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.
Dartington Arts School
Bram Thomas Arnold
walking, writing and performance
Dr Bram Thomas Arnold is an artist who started with walking and kept going into performance, drawing, installation, writing and academia.Read More
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.
art and play, public art, interactive art
Dr Tine Bech is Senior Lecturer in Arts and Place.
Her PhD thesis ‘Playful interactions: A Critical Inquiry into Interactive Art and Play” was completed at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, University of the West of England.
Tine has exhibited eloquent, playful and meaningful artworks in galleries and museums, in public spaces transforming urban landmarks around the world including European Capital of Culture – Aarhus 2017; London Cultural Olympiad; The Playable City Brazil and in Bristol; Team London Bridge; Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon; Victoria and Albert Museum; The Science Museum in London; The Whitworth Gallery in Manchester; Israel Museum; Aarhus Centre for Contemporary Art; China Science and Technology Museum; the Royal British Sculptors Gallery and at Light Festivals in Baltimore, Riga, London, Reykjavik, Australia and many more. She is in demand as a public speaker and her work has appeared in the Guardian, Wired, the Leonardo Journal, Design Week, Art of England, on TV: BBC; London Live; Ch4 and more.
arts and ecology, systems thinking
Alan Boldon is a practising artist and the Managing Director of the Dartington Trust.
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.
architectural ceramics and glass; crafts and sustainability; cultural production and policy
Full bio to follow.
the role of light in the new frontiers of art, design and technology and its impact on our cultural history
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).
rites-of-passage, myth and metaphor; Siberian and Irish folklore; the poetry of Lorca; contemporary Romanticism
Dr Martin Shaw’s work circles mythology and landscape, oral storytelling and poetics.Read More
He co-led with Dr Carla Stang the Myth and Ecology MA at Schumacher College, 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).
women in early medieval Europe; curating and writing in the vicinity of art; creative writing; art writing
Dr Tracey Warr is Head of Research for Dartington Trust, and a fiction and non-fiction writer.
She has published numerous catalogue essays and journal articles on a wide range of contemporary artists including Christian Thompson, James Turrell, Hayley Newman and Marcus Coates. Her recent fiction includes the future fiction, The Water Age (Meanda Books, 2018) and historical fiction, The Drowned Court (Impress, 2017). Her future fiction writing has a particular focus on water. 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. She has undertaken art residencies including Modern Art Oxford; MIT, Cambridge, US; Helsinki International Artists’ Programme, Finland; Maison Daura, Saint Cirq Lapopie, France; Outlandia, Glen Nevis, Scotland and Matadero, Madrid, Spain. She has curated many artists’ projects and residencies, including working with Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Marina Abramovic, Helen Chadwick, Cornelia Parker, London Fieldworks and many more.
Tracey previously held academic posts at Dartington College of Arts; Oxford Brookes University; Glasgow School of Art; Bauhaus University, Weimar; Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam and Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Her PhD was awarded by University of Plymouth and was entitled The Creative Act: Writing and Curating with Artists. She also holds an MA in Creative Writing (University of Wales Trinity St David’s), MPhil English Language and Literature (Oxford University) and BA (Hons) English Language and Literature (University of Hull). Before starting work as an academic she worked for the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Arts Council of Great Britain; Chatto & Windus Publishers and as an independent, international art curator. She has supervised six art practice-based PhDs at University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, University of the West of England and University of Plymouth and has examined many practice-based and creative writing PhDs.
Dr Pavel Cenkl is Director of Learning for Dartington Trust and Head of Schumacher College.
Since 2014, he has been working on the Climate Run project, which leverages endurance athletics to help build community and conversation around climate resilience. Climate Run was launched with a solo 3-day, 150-mile run across Iceland in 2015. Since then, he has completed several similar (50 to 400-mile) endurance adventures in Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, and the United States. A key part of Climate Run is sharing his experience in as many different venues as possible — and thus far the project has served as an inspiration for many people to engage in running events, conversations, and initiatives that integrate ecological thinking with sport and embodiment.
He is currently working on book project about endurance running in the north as a way to engage in intentional dialogue with the more-than-human world. Tentatively titled Resilience in the North: Adventure, Endurance, and the Limits of the Human, the book threads together personal narrative and observation with environmental philosophy, and reflections on what it means to be human in this world today. He is he co-editor of Transformative Learning: Reflections on 30 Years of Head, Heart and Hands at Schumacher College.
transition from centralised to distributed organisational forms; transformative potential inherent in pedagogical studies; exploring multiple ontologies in a post-colonial world
A former president of the Global Ecovillage Network, he is widely published in the sphere of experimental and prefigurative sustainable communities globally.Read More
These research themes are firmly grounded in Jonathan’s two decades of experience as a researcher, consultant, trainer and project manager in Africa. He is widely published in themes relating to local economic development and programme evaluation. He has worked for diverse organisations ranging from the World Bank to EF Schumacher’s Intermediate Technology Development Group. His MPhil research explored the potential for an ‘African path to development’, informed by and based on indigenous cultural norms and practices and based on an Immersive study of a huge informal industrial district in Kimasi, Ghana.
‘deep empathy’ as a design response to creating environmental, social and cultural interventions
Roberto Fraquelli is Senior Lecturer in Ecological Design Thinking.Read More
One of Roberto’s key areas of interest is around exploring the notion of ‘deep empathy’ as a design response to creating environmental, social and cultural interventions that are respectful, regenerative and compassionate to all of life. His research inquiry promotes both a contemplative and intuitive response that draws from many aspects of ecological design thinking and making.
One of his current research projects explores ways society might address and reduce food waste. Working in collaboration with a number of academic partners and leading UK supermarket, the research team is beginning to explore how both technological interventions and lifestyle choices might reverse the current wasteful trends from farm to fork.
Gaia, alchemy, the development of games and experiential activities helping to connect participants with key concepts from holistic science
Dr Stephan Harding is the Deep Ecology Fellow at Dartington. (Phaidon, 2000).Read More
Another of Stephan’s research interests is the use of multivariate statistical analysis of people’s qualitative assessments of landscape and ecosystem health. He collaborated in publishing a definitive study in this domain with Professor Francoise Wemelsfelder of the Scottish Rural College and Sebastian Burch, a student on our MSc in Holistic Science, whose dissertation research forms an important part of this publication: Harding, S.P., Burch, S.E. and Wemelsfelder, F. 2017. The Assessment of Landscape Expressivity: A Free Choice Profiling Approach. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169507. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169507.
Other projects include assessing the effectiveness of the Deep Time Walk (which Stephan co-created with Holistic Science MSc student and geologist Sergio Maraschin). This research is carried out with Robert Woodford, director of the Deep Time Walk CIC (community interest company) and the development of games and experiential activities, which help to connect participants with key concepts from holistic science. He has created the Jackdaw activity to explore social bonds in these birds through observation, art and dance, and the bee swarm game in which participants have to find the best of several potential nest sites hidden in the woods communicating only by means of bee-like waggle dances.
Sarah Elisa Kelly
how narratives of time, emotion, internalised capitalism and relational interconnectivity contribute to ecological crises
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.
critical study of psychedelics; contemporary animism, shamanism and Paganism; process philosophy; relationship between science, ecology and spirituality
Andy is the programme lead for MA Engaged Ecology at Schumacher College.Read More
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.
exploring the role of design in empowering people to take the lead in making ecological and social changes in their communities
Dr Mona Nasseri is a senior lecturer and programme lead on the Ecological Design Thinking MA programme at Schumacher College.Read More
Since 2017, Mona has been collaborating in various interdisciplinary and international research projects on the theme of social and ecological resilience in response to climate change. She has a long-lasting collaboration on the GCRF, BBSRC, NERC funded project, Jali Ardhi (Care for the Land in Swahili). Led by the Plymouth University, Jali Ardhi explores aspects of resilience to soil erosion in North East Africa and develops participatory pathways to mitigate social and environmental impacts of land degradation.
Mona’s authored and co-authored papers are published in Reflective Practice, Environmental Research Letter, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Regional Environmental Change, Land and Land Degradation and Development.
transdisciplinary approaches to decolonising body-place relationships, engaging creatively and imaginatively with cultural heritage and sustainability discourses
Dr Rachel Sweeney is a practicing movement artist whose research actively seeks our transdisciplinary approaches to decolonising body-place relationships, engaging creatively and imaginatively with cultural heritage and sustainability discourses.Read More
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.
Goethean science, Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language, colour research
Dr Troy Vine is Programme Lead for MSc Holistic Science, having studied Physics with Astrophysics at Bristol University.Read More
Troy has edited the Holistic Science Journal with Philip Franses. He has also edited the book Experience Colour, a large format exhibition catalogue that presents an exploration, understanding and application of colour, and What is Colour?, the collected works of Michael Wilson’s groundbreaking holistic colour research.