Here in the Anthropocene the age of mastery is dying. It has become increasingly hard for people to ignore that we are moving through cultural, social and ecological crisis. Physical and environmental science studies show that our planet is now in overshoot-and-collapse as we grapple with intensifying climate change, rapid depletion of top soils, ocean acidification, growing wealth inequality, increasingly corrupted media, and exponential technologies like artificial intelligence and bioengineering. Political leaders, corporate CEOs, and a significant part of the population seem oblivious to the ways industrial growth generates extreme social inequality, racial injustice, planetary-scale collapse, and great mental suffering and a profound sense of powerlessness. Through all of this, we are told to trust that the future will be better – and that it will be self-defeating to entertain feelings of hopelessness. We are encouraged to notice the brilliance of our technologies and the confidence of our epistemologies in the stern face of an increasingly irregular planet.
However, our confidence has met something greater. Our older road-maps no longer work, and the terrain does not respond to our steps like before. Everything has changed. The monster that now stands before us will not be circumvented. We cannot escape. Many of us already sense this. We sense that radically different modes of engagement are needed to richly respond to these existential, spiritual, political and civilizational crisis that haunts us. We sense that we often reproduce our problems in an effort to solve them.
Our thesis is that when we slow down, we notice the world differently: we develop new capabilities and response-abilities that might help wiser bodies/systems to emerge. We re-member our intradependence. This course is based on the idea that how we got in to this mess was an ignoring of understandings and necessities held elsewhere, and that perhaps we and these places of the other/wise are longing for each other.
The narratives and habits that dominate the modern globalized and colonized world keep our abundant and wilder romantic and erotic natures in check. So many parts of ourselves and our more-than-human kin are deemed unsuitable suitors. As such, our falling in love has been limited. In that loss, we have also been impoverished by limited ways of knowing and being. Here we hope to surrender to an innate pulsing love for life – including death. Not some fairy-tale version but the kind that is messy, surprising and revelatory. This involves learning new skills in good company.
As the habitual patterns of change, agency and activism look for conclusions and try to fix things, we want our brokenness, our crushes and our sensuality to lead the way. We want to have animatedly intimate conversations with our rivers and local landfill sites, and to flirt outrageously with the wind and the mosses growing in city walls.
Welcome! It is time to arrive well, meet each other, and find out how to be together as we embark on a shared journey outside the map and into the terrain of an alien world that confronts our exhausted patterns and ideas about justice and change. We’ll talk of courtship, culture and a wilder kind of research. We’ll find shared understandings of what we’re facing in to.
As a start to our journey together we’ll ask: How do we build healthy group culture? How do we practice making kin? What really interests us when we don’t know how to do this? We’ll look for love together.
Grief infuses our streets, our flesh, our conversations and yet remains taboo. When we allow ourselves to be broken by it we are re-configured. This module is about memory and loss, climate and extinction emergencies, colonization, grief and anger. It’s about meeting the shadows, the monstrous and welcoming them into the circle. What is possible when we allow it all to be spoken? What is the intelligence of tenderness? When we open the gate of grief, what blessings might arrive?
Here, in our usual transdisciplinary and experiential blending of the poetic, the intellectual, the spiritual and the political, we examine the counter-cultural nature of pausing. Skilling up our capacity to enter deep time, we roll up our sleeves, tone our muscles and wait in receptive sensate awareness for what wants to happen. Sensual, clumsy, tender, immense. From within the pause, anything is possible.
What generative qualities are possible when we meet with the great teachers of decay, demise and destruction? What strange beauty and fierce wisdom hides behind the cultural, emotional and perceptual barriers we have placed around these essential movements? When something dies in the web of things it is not left alone, or chemically embalmed and boxed up to be preserved in isolation. A whole community of kin come to simultaneously celebrate and mourn this movement of being. Flies, jackals, micro-organisms and kettles of vultures find their way to this place of change. We will explore: the false gods of growth, development and longevity; the other-than-human experts in these vital processes; related practices and myths from different cultures; science of chaos and order.
Re-wildening, deep play, foraging and edge dwellers, micro and macro returnings to belonging instead of centering. A time in our journey to experiment more, make wilder gestures of love, expand in to the spaces we have made. What are the barriers to freedom and belonging? What is it to relinquish a human-centric worldview? What is wild anyway? Here our research deepens and allows new directions to appear.
What happens at the end of a courtship? If love has blossomed, surely there is marriage? If we go beyond fairy tales and western myths, what shape of ritual might we gather around to commit and recommit to these multiple and constantly changing relationships? What does commitment and reciprocity look like in an entangled and polyamorous world? We will explore: how other creatures and other cultures serve the health of relating; initiations and thresholds; wedding vows and q/wo/manifestos; the polarity of love and indifference; sacrifice and nourishment.
We return to this question both as a focusing arrow and as an ongoing unanswerable unfurling. What do we need to stay with the trouble, to deepen the love and to ongoingly allow space for the otherwise to speak? How do we chop wood, carry water, surf the internet, speak with family, pay the bills…? Romance is all very well, but how do we live this in the everyday occlusions of the human-centric world? How is our love made manifest? This last module is a chance to: harvest, give form to and celebrate our research; feast and make merry together; deepen our commitments to courting the other-wise in the spaces where breakdown reveals the longing for it.
This course is designed as action research, ‘learning by doing’ and ‘knowing by getting sensuously involved’ with a world that is often left out of our calculations of social change and deep ecology. Mediated by online sessions, ‘Vulture’ is really about doing work with our hands, designing case studies, performing tender exercises in the ‘outdoors’, sharing our research in a trusting cohort of other seekers, testing our questions, and cultivating skills together with the communities we are part of.
14 weeks, 90 days
7 modules: 7 online sessions, 7 parcels of invitations, 7 kinship calls
April 1 to June 29 (1st zoom call on 6th of April)
Each module will consist of:
You will receive a course introduction ‘booklet’ with poems, action research methodologies, core models, theories and readings, and technical support for your participation.
Don’t expect a blueprint or fail-proof scheme. While we will be supported by robust methodologies and practices, each step will be our teacher, bringing new perspectives and opportunities. We will meet dead-ends and revelations, fail abundantly, fall flat, hold and be held while exploring what it means to be human in a time of collapse.
We will dance between chaos and order, balancing planned sessions and space to respond to emergence.
April 1st to 14th – 1st Module – Landing together
April 6th – Online session
April 15th to 28th – 2nd Module – Leaning in to the Trouble
April 20th – Online session
April 29th to May 12th – 3rd Module – The Art of Slow
May 4th – Online session
May 13th to 26th – 4th Module – Dancing with Destruction
May 18th – Online session
May 27th to June 9th – 5th Module – Going Feral
June 1st – Online session
June 10th to 19th – 6th Module – Marrying the Other-wise
June 15th – Online session
June 20th to 29th – 7th Module – What now?
June 22nd – Online session
4:30pm – 7:30pm BST (UK Time) / 5:30pm – 7:30pm CEST (Central Europe) / 9:00pm IST (India) / 8:30am PDT (California) / 11:30am EDT (New York)
We are very keen about how we invite others into this journey. We want to make certain that this is the right fit for you and that you gain as much as you can from participating. Hence, we have created a registration form that allows us to get to know you, and to understand how Vulture might meet you and also invites you to reflect if this course comes in the right time for you. To register, hit the link below or simply click on any of the many buttons littered across this page.
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. If you’d like to be part of a subsequent assembly of our course, sign up for updates from The Emergence Network and we’ll let you know when you can. Thank you for your interest!
The Standard Course Fee is 400 Euros.
You may also choose to pay in part and offer the balance later. The Partial Course Payment Fee is 300 Euros.
If you are willing, we invite you to consider the Support Fee of 600 Euros. This will help people with less financial capacity to get a scholarship.
If you can’t commit to the standard price, you can ask for a Scholarship (given on a case by case basis according to the number of contributing participants). The team trusts your judgment about what represents a commitment on your part and respects your financial situation. If you cannot afford the standard fee but know this course is for you, get in touch. Write us at vulture@emergencenetwork.