Windmill – 14th May 2013

The next Windmill, on Tue 14th May, will be a talk by David Midgley on the work of revolutionary thinker Charles Eisenstein.  Charles is best known for his radical advocacy of the idea of the Gift Economy in his book Sacred Economics; his earlier book The Ascent of Humanity is a far-reaching and profound analysis of the history and future of civilization from a unique perspective: the evolution of the human sense of self.

All Charles’ books are available for free download from his website,  He has agreed in principle to give a Schumacher Lecture and weekend course for Schumacher North later in the year – watch this space!

The Windmill takes place at 91 Green Road, Leeds, LS6 4LE from 7pm. Please bring a small amount of food to share at the start. Or come later, in time for the start of activities around 7:30pm. At about 9pm there’s the option to leave and remaining Windmillers are welcome to carry on chatting until 10pm. Feel free to bring anyone you like – no need to RSVP.


Eden or Apocalypse: Can we Save the Planet?

A course of 10 evening classes on the prospects for a sustainable world

With David Midgley of Schumacher North

School of Philosophy, 64 Woodland Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 4PD

7 – 9 p.m. Tuesdays from 25 September 2012

Free Taster Session on Tuesday 18 September at 7 p.m.

Technology and economic growth have brought undreamed of material progress, that previous generations could not have imagined. But the technological dream has gone badly off course, the economy is in trouble and the planet is groaning under the impacts of our frenzied industrial activity.

Is there a way for us to use our collective intelligence in a different way, that meets human needs equitably while cherishing our beautiful planet? This course offers a chance to explore these questions in depth, from a perspective of reasoned optimism that will challenge many cherished assumptions about nature, society, technology and politics.

David Midgley is a philosopher, gardener and Buddhist meditation teacher. He founded Schumacher North in 2007 as a regional forum for dialogue and action to create radical solutions to the urgent problems of ecological sustainability and economic justice.

Full course: £60 (concessions £35*)

Individual session £7.50 (concessions £5)

Book online here

or by post, phone or email to Schumacher North,

57 Riviera Gardens, Leeds LS7 3DW

0113 262 7914, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

(* Concessions available for full-time students, low- or unwaged and under 18s)

2012 Conference

‘ … As If People Mattered’

Click here for full programme


E.F.Schumacher’s  ground-breaking book, Small is Beautiful, was subtitled ‘Economics As  If People Mattered’. In the centenary year of his birth, the theme is  being taken up with increasing urgency by social movements across the  globe. In our next conference Schumacher North joins the big  conversation, looking at critical areas of our collective life and asking the question:

How  can we help create a global society where well-being, autonomy and  caring for people and non-human nature have the first place of  importance rather than corporate profit and GDP growth?

Swarthmore Education Centre 2-7 Woodhouse Square Leeds LS3 1AD

Saturday 11 – Sunday 12 February 2012

Currently  we are being told that spending on essential public services, health,  education and the environment must be slashed because of debts incurred  by financial speculation. At the same time we are asked to accept the same financial institutions paying 7 figure bonuses to the very people responsible. Clearly people’s rights and well-being are not being given the highest priority in policy-making.

We are determined to go beyond asking challenging questions to frame some radical answers; to commit to  building the social infrastructure and activist networks that will  catalyse deep social, economic and environmental change in our region  and beyond.

We  are inviting participants from the widest possible range of  backgrounds, interests and ideological views to engage in two days of  intense discussion, encounter and networking that will challenge  accepted ideas and help forge new ways of working together.

To this end, we’ll be placing less emphasis on separate workshops and presentation of individual  projects, and providing more space for collective exploration of wider  questions, along with space for working groups and for experiential  groupwork.

  • How can we organise and empower ourselves to meet our material, social  and emotionalneeds in a way which is inclusive, just and sustainable?
  • Is it possible for the current global economic system and political institutions to be reformed, brought under democratic control and made to serve human need – or is this a contradiction?
  • · What  are the tensions and commonalities between the social movements of our  time (eg Transition, the Occupy movement, student and labour movements,  movements for equality/inclusion of diverse social groups, faith- and  spirituality-based movements )?
  • ·Is it possible for a coherent social movement to be truly inclusive, participatory and egalitarian?

Please join us on February 11-12 to work towards an inspired, positive vision for the future of our communities and our world.


Please  note that entrance to the conference is free; however, we would welcome  donations from those who feel able. The Swarthmore Centre is kindly  supporting us by donating the space, and we would like to support them if possible.

To  ensure access for people travelling from a distance, we will also be  operating a fares pool (please contribute if you can, so that we can collectively support anyone who needs help paying fares to the conference).  Also, please contact us as soon as possible if you are able to offer  someone a place to sleep on the Saturday night (and possibly the  Friday), or if you will be needing a bed yourself.

For more information and bookings, contact

2010 Conference

Schumacher North Conference 2010


Beyond Consumerism

Left Bank Centre, Cardigan Road, Leeds Saturday 23 October 2010

250 people from all walks of life took part in a day of lively debate, challenging ideas and creative exploration looking at the question: What would our society look like if its primary goal became authentic physical and mental well-being for everyone, instead of the pursuit of material wealth and technological progress? What creative and practical steps can we take now, communally and individually, to bring this possibility nearer to reality?

3 stimulating talks from our keynote speakers, Jonathan Dawson from Findhorn Ecovillage, Mary Clear from Incredible Edible Todmorden, and Daniel Harris, Creating World Peace workshop leader, started off the opening plenary discussion, which was followed by a World Cafe session exploring the main conference theme.

Following a shared lunch, 16 workshops allowed participants to explore different aspects of the ‘post-consumerist’ society in depth; the day concluded with Open Space with a further 15 conversations hosted by participants.

We invite you to continue these conversations on our web Forums – if you are interested in being involved in planning for the next conference, or other Schumacher North events, come to our Annual Gathering on 17 November and help us plan our next year’s activities.

2009 Conference

2009 Conference

Voices for a New Vision of Community: A People’s Enquiry

Saturday, October 10th 10.00 am to 5.00 pm                                                 Gandhi Hall, James Graham Building, Leeds Metropolitan University Headingley Site

  • Gandhi’s Legacy – Non-Violence and Local Self-Reliance
  • Plurality and Diversity – Dialogue, Respect, Celebration
  • Rebuilding the Local Economy
  • Transition to a zero-carbon future
  • Developing local resilience
  • Quality of life and conviviality

This year’s main Schumacher North event was a major departure from the familiar ‘Schumacher Lectures’ format of previous years.   Instead of focussing on the contributions of three or four internationally known speakers, we set out to create the maximum opportunity for the full range of voices within our community to be heard, as we engaged with the question:
‘What kind of local community, culture and economy do we want to create in this region, and as a model for the wider world, as we respond to the failure of the global financial and political system to deliver prosperity, sustainability and social, environmental and economic justice?’
The morning session featured a panel discussion with local speakers who are deeply engaged with these issues, followed by in-depth workshops with the panel speakers and other community leaders and activists.
The afternoon session was devoted to an ‘Open Space’ forum where everyone had the opportunity to lead a discussion on a theme of their choice
Speakers Panel speakers and workshop leaders included:
Andy Goldring             Permaculture Association Rachael Unsworth    Leeds University Irena Bauman            Bauman Lyons Architects John Battle                 M.P., Leeds West Penny Poyzer             Low Carbon Urban Regeneration Lee Griffiths               Holbeck Food Enterprise Bob Thorp                  Transition Town Keighley Saleem Khan             Bradford Khidmat Centre

2008 Conference

2008 Lectures

Leeds Schumacher Lectures 2008

Transforming the Global Economy Solutions for a Sustainable World
Susan George
Ann Pettifor
Andrew Simms
October 4th, at Leeds Metropolitan University Civic Quarter Site
Transforming the Global Economy Solutions for a Sustainable World

The Leeds Schumacher Lectures 2008 addressed the issues of economic justice and ecological sustainability posed by the increasing dominance of global corporations in the international  economy.  The three speakers are internationally recognised as leading activists in the quest for an alternative, just and sustainable international economic order, and the intention of this day of lectures and dialogue is to inform and inspire effective local action in support of practical initiatives aimed at creating this new order.


Susan George Susan George is one of the most outstanding defenders of alternative globalization.  She is Chair of the Planning Board of the Transnational Institute, having previously served on the Board of Greenpeace International as well as that of Greenpeace France. She has acted as a consultant to various United Nations specialised agencies. Her books include Hijacking America: How the Religious and Secular Right Changed What Americans Think ,  Another World is Possible if… ,  Faith and Credit: the World Bank’s Secular Empire ,  The Debt Boomerang ,  Ill Fares the Land ,  A Fate Worse than Debt ,  Food for Beginners ,  and How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reasons for World Hunger.

Ann Pettifor Ann Pettifor is executive director of Advocacy International, an international organisation working with low-income countries and with organisations working to promote positive development, investment and environmental sustainability in those countries. In the 1990s she helped design and lead an international campaign, Jubilee 2000, which succeeded in persuading a large swathe of world public opinion, as well as world leaders, to cancel $100bn of debt owed by 42 countries. Jubilee 2000 became a template for campaigns such as that of Howard Dean in the 2004 US Primaries; and the Make Poverty History campaign of 2005. In December, the British Chancellor, Gordon Brown paid tribute to the Jubilee 2000 campaign.  Her books include The Coming First World Debt Crisis and The Real World Economic Outlook: The Legacy of Globalization – Debt and Deflation.

Andrew Simms Andrew Simms is Policy Director for the New Economics Foundation and head of the Climate Change programme at the Centre for Global Interdependence.  He is a board member of Greenpeace UK and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Europe, was an advisor to Michael Meacher as shadow Overseas Development Minister, and was one of the original campaigners for the Jubilee 2000 Coalition debt campaign.  His publications include several reports on climate change, globalisation and localisation, development issues, debt, corporate accountability and, genetic engineering and food security, and two books,  Ecological Debt: The Health Of The Planet And The Wealth Of Nations and Tescopoly: How One Shop Came Out On Top And Why It Matters.

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