Art and the end of the world (as we know it) – A five day course at Schumacher College
Course leaders: The Dark Mountain Project – Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine
Date: 20th — 24th March 2017
Location: Schumacher College, Devon, England
‘The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.’
– Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto
We live in a time of great unravelling.
The climate is changing, a mass extinction is under way, and our economies, cultures and technologies are changing everything. The future no longer seems to serve as a vessel for our hopes, but a shadow that we try not to think about. Much that we grew up taking for granted will not make it into the world that waits for us there.
So what does it mean to live in such a time? What can we do with this kind of knowledge? And what does art have to do with any of it?
In 2009, Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine published the Dark Mountain manifesto: a call for honesty about the depth of the trouble the world is in – and for recognition of the deep cultural roots of that trouble. From a short self-published pamphlet, the Dark Mountain Project grew into a global network of writers, artists, musicians, performers and creative thinkers, many of whose work has appeared in the pages of the Dark Mountain books or on the stages of the Uncivilisation festival, Base Camp, Carrying the Fire, The Telling and other events.
At the heart of the Dark Mountain Project is the claim that the global crisis we are facing is not a crisis of politics, economics or technology, but a crisis of stories. The stories which our culture likes to tell itself about humanity’s place on Earth and its relationship to the rest of nature are like bad maps, leading us towards unmarked hazards. We have narrated ourselves to the edge of a cliff.
If this is true, what can we do about it? And what, in particular, can writers, artists and other creative workers offer in response? If we have been telling the wrong stories, how would we recognise the right ones – and how could we begin to give them a voice?
This course is open to anyone who wants to engage with these questions and is willing to bring their own creativity into play. Through a mixture of workshops, teaching sessions, creative exercises and space to explore the big issues, it aims to give writers, musicians, performers and artists of all kinds a stronger sense of their place in a time of upheaval, change and unexpected possibilities.
Bring a notebook, a clear head, a sense of excitement and a willingness to be honest. Please leave false hopes and all-encompassing solutions at home.