Edge of the Wild   The Annual UK Ecopsychology Gathering


2015 Programme

A challenge offered
In coining the term ecopsychology, Theodore Roszak suggested measuring human psychological and social health according to our ability to live in harmony with the natural world. In this, he specifically challenged those of us in the environmental movement to rediscover our own ecopsychology. He asks whether we have enough confidence in our fellow human beings, in ourselves, to trust and respect humanity’s essential and reciprocal bond with the earth? Do we believe we can change sufficiently to meet the joys and responsibilities of global citizenship?

This question holds essential implications for the Edge of the Wild gathering. It challenges us to work towards an ecopsychology that embodies this life-affirming bond with the natural world, including that of human social ecology, and gather around the principles of respect, trust, love, inclusion and reciprocity.

Some more questions for us to consider in relation to our gathering; are we willing:

  • To risk discovering who and what we can be, as individuals, in service to the whole?
  • To heal our relationships with both human and more-than-human nature?
  • To connect in a non-dualistic way with the specifics of the place in which we are gathering and the wildlife that live there?
  • To go to our own edge and live into our capacity to be change-makers?




(Image by Gordon Sheret (2015 delegate)


Keynotes 2015


Mary-Jayne Rust

Ecopsychology: Can it help our world?

At the heart of Ecopsychology lies the belief that humans have become disconnected from the rest of nature; it follows that healing this disconnection, finding our way back into the living matrix, is part of the healing of our current world crisis. Yet many people say that it is difficult to apply the ideas and practices of Ecopsychology, especially at work, and that in many cases this has to be done ‘under the radar’ - perhaps because some of the principles of Ecopsychology are too threatening to mainstream culture?

In this talk I will share some experiences of trying to communicate Ecopsychology, as well as giving examples of projects and campaigns which make use of Ecopsychology. What works? What doesn’t? Why? Where are the points of resistance? I hope that you will bring your experiences too, and that together we can reflect on what skilful means are needed to bring Ecopsychology into mainstream culture – or whether this is even desirable or possible!
 

Mary-Jayne writes: Many many moons ago I trained as an art therapist: the image is still central to the way I think. Since then feminist therapy and Jungian ideas have been important threads in my journey. In the early 1990’s I spent some time in Ladakh where I realised the seriousness of the ecological crisis and its cultural, economic and spiritual roots. This catapulted me into Ecopsychology! I live beside an ancient woodland in London and not far from The Womens Pond: it is owl, fox, kingfisher, swan and many more who nourish my soul and help me to work in this challenging field. More about my writings and courses can be found on www.mjrust.net 




Nick Totton

'Facing the Future'
Optimism is important: we need to believe in the possibility of a better world, a successful transition to sustainability. But optimism needs to be grounded in reality, in knowing that there is a very real possibility of failure and catastrophe.  As Joanna Macy teaches, activist energy flows from facing, rather than avoiding, our despair.and helpless grief. Only then can we think effectively about what the future may hold, and about the role of ecopsychology in caring for the emotional pain which will become more and more widespread and apparent. We need to face the future so that it doesn't break us.

 
Nick Totton writes: I am a therapist and trainer over with 30 years experience. Originally a Reichian body therapist, I have explored
widely in a number of therapy modalities, and now practice and teach Embodied-Relational Therapy and Wild Therapy. I have a
grown up daughter. I have written several books, including Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction; Wild Therapy; Not A Tame Lion: Writings
on Therapy in its Social and Political Context; and Press When Illuminated: New and Selected Poems.
I live in Cornwall with my partner and grow vegetables. http://www.nicktotton.net

Workshop programme

We were delighted to offer 14 interactive workshops last year that explored the 2015 theme of 'Choreography, chaos, and contradictions' in intriguing, creative and diverse ways. Practical and experiential, involving both mind and body, the workshops related to specificity of the place in which we are gathering and the other-than-human beings that live there.

A brief summary is provided below. To view or download the full details of each workshop please see Workshops 2015.

Friday
  •    Kim Cavanagh - Access to Nature
  •    Salma Darling - BeingNature Dance: Becoming Wildlife
  •    Lucy Ford - Earth, power, knowledge: Exploring the politics of sustainability
  •    Kamalamani - Making our mark or throwing our weight around?
  •    Peter Reason - Nature writing as Freefall
  •    Arran Stibbe - Ecology and the stories we live by
  •    Peter Reason - Nature writing as Freefall
  •    Rudy Vandamme and Ann Sterckx - Coming to terms with the urban-nature contradiction

Saturday
  •     Joanna Callaghan and Branwen Lorigan - A creative investigation of our complex and contradictory relationship with nature
  •     Matthew Henson - Spontaneous Process: More-than-human-and-human
  •     Dave Key - Let’s just go for a walk
  •     Paul Maiteny - Divining your Dance in the Ecosystem
  •     Hilary Prentice - Indigenous Arising
  •     Steve Thorp - Soul Making: new stories, practices and pathways through the wilderness
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