Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

The Hedge School Master Class Series

When Irish education was outlawed under Penal Laws the process of learning took to the land. Situated along natural hedgerows and often under the stars, the non-conformists gathered to gain knowledge. Students were taught a wide range of subjects including maths, literacy, science, geography, religion, astronomy, Latin, Greek, Irish, Hebrew, hurling, poetry, dancing and singing. Here, at the edges, the language was preserved and stories, traditions and customs passed down from generation to generation. Much of the education was orally re-told, outside of the established institutions, formal education settings and legal structures, generating a contextual connection to the land and appreciation for nature. The hedge schoolteachers were increasingly spoken of as a ‘disloyal subjects’ who intentionally kept alive ‘the spirit of discontent’.

For our Hedge School Series we wanted to investigate what it means to live and learn at the edge. We designed a series of learning experiences in unusual locations citywide and invited some brilliant international trailblazers to share their worlds with us.

We questioned the role of education in our lives by asking questions. What is the role of language, culture, heritage, identity and tradition in an emerging global system? What is the role of ceremony and ritual, if any? What old systems need to die in order for new ones to emerge? How can we re-engage with learning alongside the land and in participant with nature? How can we occupy new learning practices?


John Fox and Sue Gill (UK) of Dead Good Guides: Rites of Passage

John Fox and Sue Gill are Engineers of the Imagination. They are co-founders of the renowned Welfare State International, leading practitioners in Rites of Passage Training, authors of The Dead Good Guides and radical cultural provocateurs. Together they will lead us into an exploration of the role of ceremony and celebration in contemporary society. They’ll be asking what Rites of Passage need to be re-instated or created today and investigating the whys and hows of ritual making. Integrating myth, metaphor and poetry, John and Sue will weave example from their own legendary practice offering insights, practical experience and guidance on crafting safe and creative celebrations to help us, as individuals and a collective, to bravely cross significant thresholds in our lives.


Matthew Fox (US): Sunday Sermon

International author, non-violent activist and (r)evolutionary theologian Matthew Fox shares his understanding of sacred activism. Recounting stories from his own personal journey this is a unique opportunity to encounter new perspectives on social justice and collective activism. ‘Hope’, he believes, ‘is a verb with its sleeves rolled up’. What, we will be asking, does non-violent revolution look like, and how best can we roll up our sleeves to occupy our most evolved selves. In doing so he will explore dimensions to sacred activism, what makes a ‘spiritual warrior’ and how we can create rituals and ceremonies of grieving and celebration to sustain social action. 


Maria Scordialos (GR) and Vanessa Reid (CAN): Living Wholeness

Maria and Vanessa, co-founders of The Living Wholeness Institute, will introduce us their Living Wholeness practice and pattern; a way of approaching both internal and external systemic transformation. Drawing of their experience of supporting organisations, systems and individuals through crisis and change, they will offer a framework for understanding conscious and intentional evolution asking powerful questions such as: What does it mean to be in alignment with our inner and outer world? How does that alignment translate into our work, communities, families, homes, governments and businesses? What does it mean to consciously close out systems in order for new growth to thrive? The Living Wholeness practice offers a systemic transformation architecture and practice that activates breakthrough collective intelligence around radically new ways of working and living. It works on the core premise that in order to transform our systems we need to learn, individually and collectively, by cultivating a new set of global assumptions



Emeli Paulo (AUS) & Tom Harkins (AUS): Harnessing the Power Within

Change agent, activist, social entrepreneur and international doer Emeli Paulo will disclose some of her internal processes which she has harnessed to create her best self. By learning how to tap into her vulnerability, power and voice, Emeli has traveled the globe, dared to dream big, found her way through darkness, met the Dali Lama and Oprah Winfrey and now runs international retreats and workshops. With a passion human connection and raw honesty, Emeli will help hold a few mirrors us, inviting us to ask some powerful questions of where we want our dreams to take us.