Shift Bristol Logo

Ten Integrated Modules

The course is split into 10 modules. Activities are timetabled in line with the seasons and some modules span the whole course. The course is a mix of classroom and practical sessions run on local sites. There are four group design projects throughout the year. There is also a range of field trips to rural sites around the South West and Wales.

Permaculture Design. This module provides the context and framework for the course. An introduction to the practice and principles of Permaculture and Permaculture design methodology. A holistic design approach to sustainability that can be used for designing in a range of settings from small gardens to whole farms. Permaculture integrates land, food, social, economic and health factors to create a resilient and functional system. Led by Caroline Aitken, Mike Feingold, Alice Gray and others.

Woodland Management. An exploration of sustainable woodland management; from existing woodland ecology to the creation of new woodlands. Learn how to manage woodlands for production of timber, food, fuel, wildlife, community use and craft materials. The majority of this module takes place in the woods. Led by Ben Law, Scott Baine and Andrew Kirby.

Organic Horticulture. An extensive and practical study of growing fruit, vegetables and mushrooms organically. Following the growing year you will learn propagation, fertility, soil management, pests and diseases, weed control, seed saving, composting and harvesting. A mix of classroom and practical sessions. Led by Tim Foster and Patrick Mallery and others.

Soil and Ecology. An in-depth study of how to assess and work with the natural environment. Learn to read the landscape and ecological information available. Understanding the roles and connections between soil, plants and animals. Includes practical soil, composting and bio-brew sessions. Led by Caroline Aitken and Matt Dunwell.

Re-localisation. An exploration of the possibilities of food and resource production, distribution and marketing in a re-localised world. Looking at Transition models, local food initiatives,  local economics and building ethical business models. Led by Jyoti Fernandes and Rob Hopkins with others.

Green Energy. Within the context of Climate Change, gain a practical understanding of alternative technology, energy efficiency and reducing our fossil fuel use. An exploration of local, national and global scale green energy initiatives. Includes a field trip and practical activities. Led by Dr Emilia Melville and others.

Green Building. A study of the theory and practice of retrofitting existing houses to improve their green performance, eco-friendly materials, eco-development, self-build and eco-innovations. With a hands-on retrofitting practical led by Jason Hawkes. Also a 3-week practical experience of building a reciprocal frame roundhouse with wood and cordwood from scratch. We build on community or public projects to our host’s specifications. Includes tool safety training. Led by Simon Crook, Jo Forsyth, Charles Soares and Bryher Bloor.

Group Dynamics. An in-depth study of the techniques and approaches that enable groups to face challenges creatively and positively. Including visioning, decision making, consensus, conflict resolution and planning approaches. Led by Danny Bala, Nick Osborne and others.

Community Engagement. Exploring how to work collaboratively with and through groups of people to achieve common aims. Focussing on overcoming barriers to inclusion and creating authentic participation. Led by Hannah Padgett, Sophia Foster and others.

Creating Change. Understanding the psychology of change and how we find the power to tackle global problems from our own front doors onwards. Exploring ways to face our fears, be responsive to challenges, build on our strengths and engage ourselves and others in positive action. Led by Dr Chris Johnstone.

A variety of other sessions include; an Introduction to herbal medicine, wild food foraging, fermentation, water in the landscape, natural beekeeping, basket weaving, living willow sculpture and more.

There will be many guest speakers in addition to the lead tutors.