Podcast: Storytelling, Permaculture and Transformative Living with Karen Noon

In this episode, I speak to permaculture educator Karen Noon. Karen originally hails from South Africa, but now lives on a small farm in Brittany, France.  Karen comes from a corporate background, but ten years ago that all changed.  Today I speak with Karen about the importance of personal storytelling in transformative education and how she sees permaculture as a way of re-storying ourselves, our gardens and our world.  She shares her ‘river of life’ story and the event in her life that led her to put people’s voices at the heart of everything she does.  She outlines how to do the river of life as a personal exercise or with learners.

Karen runs Afrinoon Permaculture, where you can find out more about her, her farm and her courses: http://www.afrinoonpermaculture.org/

Karen mentions the Permaculture Association, which oversees permaculture education in the UK.  It can be found here: https://www.permaculture.org.uk/

A version of the River of Life exercise can be found here, if you’d like to give it a try yourself: https://pubs.iied.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/migrate/G02828.pdf

photo credit to Wes Meadows

Podcast: Climate Change Storytelling from Town to Legislature with Judith Black

Join me for an inspiring chat with Judith Black, storyteller and climate activist, who has brought folktales into the belly of her State Legislature!  Judith has been telling stories for 35 years.  Five years ago, realising the full scale of the climate disaster we are facing, Judith dedicated herself and her storytelling skills to working on these issues.  In our chat, she shares three ways of working with story: (1) a wake up call to responsibility; (2) a warning and education; (3) modelling strategies for change.  She suggests a number of stories that fit these three categories and tells three: Spider and the Palm Nut Tree, Three Brahmans and a Tiger, The Giant Turnip.  Stories are powerful, she argues, because they keep our gates of perception open.

Judith has done a Tedx talk on Storytelling and Climate Disruption and Hope: An Antidote to Despair: Storytelling and Climate Disruption

On her website, she generously shares her wisdom on crafting environmental stories from science:http://storiesalive.com/an-integrated-life-storytelling-climate-disruption-1/

She makes reference to Margaret Read MacDonald’s Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk About.

Podcast: Svend-Erik Engh on Folkehøjskole, Nordic Myths and Helping People find their Voice

In this episode I talk to Svend-Erik Engh, a Danish storyteller, about plans to bring a Folkehøjskole (‘folk high school’) to Scotland. In our conversation, Svend-Erik shares the origins of Folkehøjskole in Denmark, the role of mythology in learning and the impact this form of education has on students and society.  There is some master storytelling here as well, as Svend-Erik shares with us the myth of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil, the sacred world tree.

While Svend-Erik and his team plan to offer an in-person, residential Folkehøjskole sometime in the future, they will be offering a ‘taster’ Folkehøjskole, with a focus on storytelling, online for three weeks beginning in July 2021.  This programme is open to anyone, anywhere.

You can find out more about Svend-Erik Engh (including how to contact him) here: https://svenderikengh.com/

You can find out more about the Scottish Folkehøjskole here: giantsheart.org

(Credit for photo of Svend-Erik Engh to Alice Fernbank)