Doors of Perception:

A day exploring Aldous Huxley at Dartington and beyond


10am – 4pm Saturdsay 6 July 2024


Anna Neima, Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes, Robert Dickins, Andy Letcher


Old Postern, Schumacher College. Dartington


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


About this course

On the 70th anniversary of its publication, join us at Schumacher College for a daylong celebration and recontextualization of Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, his influential autobiographical text containing philosophical and psychological reflections on his psychedelic experiences with mescaline in 1953.

Huxley spent some of his formative years at Dartington which ultimately led to the ways in which he thought and wrote about mescaline. His novel The Island has also drawn direct parallels to his experiences as part of the utopian” artistic community at Dartington.

The day will bring together leading researchers to explore the intellectual and artistic environment Huxley was part of while here, as well as the philosophical ideas that informed his work. The event will culminate in a reading of the unpublished talk Aldous Huxley gave at Dartington for the Sunday Talks series organised by the Elmhirsts, a transcript of which has recently been discovered in the Dartington archives.

on this course you will

  • Explore the cultural impact of Aldous Huxley with experts in the fields of philosophy, literature and history
  • Deepen your appreciation of Huxley’s work
  • Learn about Huxley’s historical connection to Dartington
  • Meet fellow researchers and Huxley enthusiasts in an interdisciplinary setting

“To be enlightened is to be aware, always, of total reality in its immanent otherness – to be aware of it and yet remain in a condition to survive as an animal. Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves.”

Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception


Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes

Dr Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes is a Philosopher of Mind and Metaphysics who specializes in the thought of Whitehead, Nietzsche, Bergson, and Spinoza—and in fields pertaining to panpsychism and altered states of consciousness. He is a lecturer at The University of Exeter.

Peter is the author of Noumenautics (2015), Modes of Sentience (2021), co-editor and contributor of Bloomsbury’s Philosophy and Psychedelics (2022), the TEDx Talker on ‘psychedelics and consciousness‘, and he is inspiration to the recreation of inhuman philosopher Marvel Superhero, Karnak.

Robert dickins

Dr Robert Dickins is a historian and literary scholar whose work focuses around psychoactive substances, with a particular emphasis on medicine and religion in twentieth century Britain. His current research is looking at the socio-cultural ecology of gardens and drugs. Robert is also a publisher with the Psychedelic Press.

Andy Letcher

Andy Letcher

Andy is the programme lead for MA Engaged Ecology at Schumacher College.

Andy has doctorates in Ecology (Oxford University – studying patterns of distribution of mammals at the continental level) and in the Study of Religion (King Alfred’s College, Winchester – researching bardic performance within contemporary Druidry and radical environmental protest movements). Consequently, he is especially interested in the intersection between ecology and worldview or spirituality.

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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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