Shift Bristol Logo
Curriculum

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. There are practicals each term, and four design projects throughout the year.

Permaculture Design. This module provides the context and framework for the course. An introduction to the practice and principles of Permaculture. 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 Sarah Pugh with Mike Feingold

Woodland Management. An exploration of sustainable woodland management. Learn how to manage existing woodlands for production of timber, food, fuel, wildlife, community use and craft materials. Includes understanding woodland ecology, creating new woodlands, planning and funding. The majority of this module takes place in the woods. Led by Mike Gardener, Ben Law and Tim Gatfield.

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 with 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 and composting sessions. Led by Caroline Aitkin and Angie Polkey.

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 Fernandez with Chris Sunderland of the Bristol Pound.

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 Trevor Houghton

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. A highlight is the 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 and Charles Soares.

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 Sarah Pugh and Danny Bala.

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 Sarah Pugh.

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 harvesting, natural beekeeping, mushrooms, Wetland Ecological Treatment Systems, animal husbandry, living willow sculpture and many more.

The course is a mix of classroom and practical sessions run on local sites. There is also a range of field trips to rural sites around the South West and Wales.

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