Action for Change

A weekend course mapping pathways and actions for transformation


Friday 12 – Sunday 14 July 2024 


Sarah Ichioka, Shireen Marican


Dartington Trust, South Devon


Unless otherwise stated, our Short Courses are for adults 18+ years


Includes two follow on online sessions, all lunches, suppers, field trips, materials and all teaching from supper on the day of your arrival through until the lunchtime before your departure.



Includes two follow on online sessions, and all the perks included in your course fee, PLUS breakfast and accommodation from the day your course starts to check-out on the morning of the day the course ends. (More info about accommodation can be found below.)


About this course

Feeling stuck on where to begin or how to move forward in your organisation or community to create ecological and equitable change?

Join us on this short residential and online course that combines a social-ecosystems perspective with healthy relational practices for you to experiment with in your workplace, or other fields in which you are active. It is up to each of us at this time to determine which path we will walk; how we will transform, as individuals, organisations and communities.

Our current ecological crisis is now understood to be a result of our (industrialised societies’) relationship to the systems in our world. To respond to this crisis, we must fundamentally change how we relate to and operate within these systems. Through approaches that are respectful to ecosystems and working with the communities that constitute them, we can enhance the health of people, place and planet.

During the weekend we will interweave group discussions, small-group exercises and time for individual reflections, using techniques inspired in part by the regenerative paradigms of Expanded Agency and Symbiogenesis (co-developed by Lead Tutor Sarah Ichioka and her ‘Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency’ co-authored with Michael Pawlyn),

The tutors will provide a hands-on, interdisciplinary introduction to expanding influence. You will be guided in composing a basic map of your social ecosystem and identifying your key role(s) within the organisation and the organisation’s key role(s) within its social ecosystem.  We will explore possible areas for networked actions within these social ecosystems and prioritise several next right actions to take. The two online sessions following the residential course will provide support to participants at one month and three months period after our time together in Devon.

A selected number of preparatory resources will be shared digitally with registered learners before the scheduled course date. As a participant on the course, you will have the opportunity to discover some diverse tools and practices for building healthy relationships.  Our intention is to provide a space for you to interact with motivated individuals from diverse fields and roles. Through building these connections there is the potential for mutual-aid and further learning.

If you are curious about how to work transformatively with the people and places in your networks, you are warmly invited to spend a summer weekend in-person immersive experience with two exceptional tutors.

Come ready to be open to new perspectives and possibilities within and beyond your current work. Through explorations with your fellow learners, we endeavour to become catalysts for social and cultural change.

on this course you will

  • Learn to compose a basic map of your social ecosystem.
  • Identify your own and your organisation’s key role(s) within their communities.
  • Explore possible areas for networked action within these social ecosystems.
  • Discover some diverse tools and practices for building healthy relationships in the context of professional/community collaborations.
  • Interact with motivated individuals from diverse fields and peer to peer and experienced support.

what participants said about this course

“Sarah has been a most trusted adviser and mentor to our team. She genuinely cares about helping our organisation grow in the direction that feels right for us, and strategically guides us along through thoughtful questions and helpful frameworks. She is very open and generous about sharing insights from her experiences in the socially driven design sector, which are particularly relevant for us. Before we started on this journey with her, we were deeply enmeshed in the day-to-day operations, and struggled to articulate our longer-term outlook. Through our conversations and sessions with her, we have managed to sharpen our team’s vision, reaffirm our values, and develop a more robust strategy. We are now confident about achieving our goals.” – Larry Yeung, Executive Director, Participate in Design

“The Desire Lines team has been a great source of inspiration, structure and advice along the way, making the challenging project an invaluable learning experience for us. The team is very action/ outcome-oriented in their approach and suggestions which is very important to keep us focused in the complex process. The trust we have built up on a personal level also made it easier to openly debate our opinions on challenging issues to come to conclusions. I recommend DL for helping anyone navigate strategic and complex projects.” Christina Zhuang, Head of Communications, APAC, Ramboll  

“Desire Lines’ inclusive, values-led culture sets the tone for the way work will be delivered. They embrace complexity and develop sound strategies that help organisations better understand their purpose.” Lindsey Zouein, Founding Director, Lane Four

typical schedule for short courses

  • Check-in to the room is between 3-3.45pm on the day of arrival. Check-out is 11am on the day of departure, although if travelling by public transport, luggage can be left at the Welcome Centre until the course has completed.
  • Teaching generally begins at 4pm on the first day and ends at 2pm Fridays or 4pm Sunday (whichever is the last day of the course).
  • The daily timetable can start at 9.30am and end around 9.15pm, with free time available at set times throughout the day.
  • For residential participants breakfast is included, followed by a morning gathering and community work groups on weekdays, which are open to all participants and the college community. Non-residential participants can pay extra if they wish to have breakfast on one or more of the days.
  • Lunch for all participants is between 1-2pm and supper is 6.30-7.30pm (both meals are included in the residential and non-residential course fee).

If you have any questions about your course schedule please contact

what to bring

  • An A4 notebook / journal with good quality paper and writing implements of your choice  (please contact us if any concerns with accessibility).
  • Optional: a copy of Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency (Triarchy Press, 2021/2022)


Sarah Ichioka

Sarah Ichioka

Lead tutor Sarah Ichioka is a strategist, urbanist, curator and writer. She is Founding Director of Desire Lines, a consultancy for environmental, cultural, and social-impact organisations and initiatives. In previous and parallel roles, she has explored the intersections of cities, society and ecology within leading international institutions of culture, policy and research. Sarah has been recognized as a World Cities Summit Young Leader, one of the Global Public Interest Design 100, a British Council -  Clore Duffield Cultural Leadership International Fellow, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
She is co-author of Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency, with Michael Pawlyn (Triarchy Press, 2021 - 2022).

Shireen Marican

Shireen Marican

Supporting tutor Shireen Marican is a cultural manager, systems thinker and educator motivated to advance the engagement of culture with people, institutions and organisations for a just and equitable environment and society. She has extensive experience managing projects and research that engage deeply with the community and contemporary discourse, to find effective ways of adapting languages and actions across a variety of stakeholders.


Our courses are part of the wider Learning programme at Dartington, and you will join a community of students on site studying at Schumacher College and Dartington Arts School as well as other short course participants, volunteers and visitors.

While you are here we invite you to take part in our learning community life by attending morning meetings, taking part in activities such as meal preparation and clearing, and evening social events. This is entirely voluntary, but participants tell us that taking part adds to their experience at Dartington.

short course community lunch


We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All our courses are best experienced holistically: through studying, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants, volunteers, staff and tutors.

When you book your course with accommodation this includes one of our hostel-style single rooms with shared facilities and easy access to your main learning space. They are the perfect base to rest your head, relax and recharge. You can find out more about the rooms here.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included throughout the duration of the course, each made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team.

Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees, and on a first come, first served basis only. Choose this option by selecting ‘Course Fee Plus Accommodation’ at checkout.

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optional: upgrade to a courtyard room

It is also possible, subject to availability, to upgrade your accommodation to a single or double en-suite bedroom in our beautiful and historic courtyard. Upgrade pricing is as follows:

For courses starting before 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £27.25 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £43.60 per night

For courses starting on or after 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £31.07 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £49.70 per night

If you would like to upgrade, please first book with residential option included, and then contact our Guest Services team on 01803 847150 or email to check availability. Our Guest Services department is open daily, 8am–8pm.

Should you decide to upgrade to our en-suite accommodation, please be aware that this is 20 min walk, or 3 min drive, to the Old Postern site, where some of our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.


You may like to stay on our beautiful and relaxing campsite, amidst the stunning rolling hills and ancient woodlands of Dartington. Find out more about the campsite here.

Should you decide to stay on the campsite, please be aware that this is 10 min walk, to either Schumacher College or Dartington Hall, where our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.

Book now

Begin your online booking below. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. You are welcome to email us at or call us at 01803 847008 with any queries you have. Full Short Course T&Cs can be found here >

If you place a deposit, you will be contacted by us four weeks before the course start date to pay the outstanding balance. You will also be contacted with full details about the course before you arrive.

Please note that in most cases bookings for all our Short Courses close at midday on the Thursday before the course begins. This enables us to give you the best possible course experience and ensures all bookers receive the relevant course materials before they arrive.

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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