Camphill Research Symposium 2017 presentations now available to watch here!

Back to Bedlam: What future faces people with a learning disability?

Community Care and Inclusion

New Book: Community Care and Inclusion for People with an Intellectual Disability

Edited by Robin Jackson and Maria Lyons, this collection challenges many widely held assumptions about the concepts ‘community’ and ‘inclusion’, concepts which have long been central to the debate on the provision of care for people with an intellectual disability. Contributors explore the subject from a variety of perspectives including historical and philosophical analyses, political,  medical and psychological realities and the  impact of modern technology. The book also provides examples of innovative professional practice in the USA, China and Vietnam. For more details and to purchase the book, please see Floris Books.

A Diamond in the Rough

A new report which assesses the value of equine assisted therapy at Camphill.

Rethinking Community Care: The Camphill Village Model 

Discussion paper published by the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Parliamentary Briefing on People with Learning Disabilities in Shared Living Settings 

A briefing about the different options for people with learning disabilities in shared living community settings took place at Westminster on 15 September 2015.  The presentations and discussions covered how different organisations achieve this type of support and outlined the many benefits ranging from wellbeing, sustainability and those to the wider local community.  The meeting was chaired by Dr Simon Duffy of the Centre for Welfare Reform.  Speakers included Steve Briault (Chair of the Alliance for Camphill, Trustee of Emerson College and The Mount), Richard Davis (Vanguard, Lives through Friends), Dr Stuart Cumella (University of Birmingham), Anthony Kramers (L’Arche Scotland) and Anita Bennett (Rescare).  The presentations, videos and more information about this event available here.  

Foundation Seminar: Work arising from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner: A journey of discovery on 20 Saturdays from October 2015 to June 2016

A general Anthroposophical Foundation Seminar will start this October at Edinburgh Steiner School. Teachers, new co-workers and parents are all welcome. Please see leaflet for more details.

“The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture”: Conference at Harvard Divinity School, March 31 – April 1 2016

Harvard Divinity School is pleased to announce this Call for papers for a conference on the “The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture,” to be held at March 31-April 1, 2016, at Harvard.  It has been more than ninety years since Rudolf Steiner offered his Agriculture Course, seventy-five since Sir Albert Howard published An Agricultural Testament, and almost forty since Wendell Berry published The Unsettling of America. Concepts such as agroecology, biodynamics, permaculture, food miles, food deserts, CAFOs, food justice, and local food have all proliferated in both popular and scholarly venues over the past ten to fifteen years.  Such a sustainable agriculture gestalt is prolific, vibrant, cross-fertilizing, and worthy of more sustained discussion and critical attention.  In this spirit, “The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture” aims to bring together farmers, religious and spiritual leaders, and academics, respectively, to join in a robust and stimulating discussion about the spirit of sustainable agriculture, delineating its past, celebrating and investigating its present, and theorizing its future. Winona LaDuke of the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Nigel Savage of Hazon will offer keynote addresses.

“Community Approaches to Inner and Outer Peace”: Conference of the International Communal Studies Association, Tamera, Portugal, 1- 3 July 2016

Call for papers.  

Sustainability Reporting for the Common Good: Case study of Camphill Special School, Pennsylvania 

See the latest “North America” update to our Dissertations page.

The Child Inside

“In the name of market freedom, the volume housebuilders, sitting on their land banks, are free to preside over speculative chaos, while we are free to buy dog kennels priced like palaces in placeless estates so badly designed that community is dead on arrival.” Children, writes George Monbiot of the Guardian, are being “airbrushed” from our towns and cities. Read this important and heartbreaking reminder to our politicians and city planners that children are the heart of community.

Who Cares? The impact of ideology, regulation and marketisation on the quality of life of people with an intellectual disability

The Centre for Welfare Reform has just published a report which it describes as “a devastating critique of the current system of social care..”  Author Robin Jackson shows with clarity and detail how “the current system has abandoned common sense and has allowed dogma, bureaucracy and market forces to dictate how society treats people.” The report argues powerfully for a new and genuinely personalised approach to care, one which encourages a re-imagining of community and places meaningful human relationships at its core.

Community inclusion and intellectual disability: meanings, means and myths

The International Journal of Developmental Disabilities Special Issue on community inclusion can now be accessed here (click on ‘next’ to view all the abstracts).   Edited by Robin Jackson, the issue explores the concept of community from a variety of perspectives (including those of L’Arche and Camphill) and aims to stimulate a well informed and less ideologically driven debate about the nature and purpose of care in the community.

Alternative Education in England: All together now? 

The newly launched Holistic Education Organisation is organising “the UK’s first holistic education conference” at Leeds Beckett University on the 12th/13th September 2015. The conference aims to bring together parents, educators and academics from across the alternative academic spectrum and will feature workshops, discussion groups and panels.  Further details and the call for contributions can be found on their website.

Nimble Spaces: Ways to Live Together: New Cultures of Housing

An international conference exploring participative design, spacial justice, social housing, co-housing and new ways to imagine housing in the 21st Century will be held on Friday 1st May in Carlow, Ireland. The event is a co-production between Nimble Spaces, Camphill Communities of Ireland, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art, Maynooth University and Dublin School of Architecture. See flyer.

Exploring the “lived experience” of children and young people in Camphill Community Glencraig

Catherine Reilly is currently doing a PhD which examines the “lived experience” in the realms of home, school, relationships, the environment and culture of a group of young people in Camphill Glencraig community in Northern Ireland. Her work addresses very important questions about the possibilities for doing research with young people with complex developmental needs, a historically and still neglected group within qualitative social care research. Being a project which seeks to “give voice” to the people who are supported in the community, both its findings and methods are likely to be of relevance and value to all Camphill communities. Catherine is currently in the field work stage of the project and hopes to finish writing-up by early 2016. A short description of the project is available here.

Camphill on Channel 4 News

On 4 February 2015 Channel 4 evening news aired this report which interviews members of Botton Village, Newton Dee Community and representatives from the Camphill Village Trust.



The last days of  life: a study on end of life care for people with learning disabilities in UK services

Two Camphill communities in Aberdeenshire (Milltown and Simeon Care for the Elderly) have been taking part in a national study headed by the University of South Wales and funded by the Baily Thomas Charitable Fund which explores the quality of care for people with learning disabilities in the final three months of life.  The study has three principle questions: 1. What are the death demographic and service characteristics of people with learning disabilities who are supported up until their death in a care setting? 2. What is the nature of end of life care provided to people with learning disabilities who lived in such a setting? 3. What factors might account for any variability in end of life care within this population?  The study is ongoing.  News of reports or publications resulting from this research will be posted here as soon as they become available.

For a summary of the report of the 2013 Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Intellectual Disabilities in the UK (CIPOLD), please click here.

BA in Social Pedagogy gets the go-ahead at Robert Gordon University!

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen will start accepting students in January 2015 for the BA in Social Pedagogy which has been established in collaboration with Camphill School Aberdeen and Camphill Scotland.  For details of the course see here.

E-Book: A Celebration of the BA Social Pedagogy


“A vision for care fit for the 21st century…”

UK think tank Demos has recently published the report of its Commission on Residential Care which set out to “create a vision for the future of residential care” and lay out how this vision can be “delivered” across “financial, operational, governance and cultural aspects of care drawing on existing good practice at home and abroad”. Among the report’s findings was the observation that the overall potential for “housing with care” settings to ensure a good quality of life is being undermined by the stigma and mistrust generated from a small number of shocking and highly publicised abuse scandals.  The report also recommended that, given its often negative connotations,  “the term residential care should no longer be used in government policy and guidance; instead, the sector-wide term ‘housing with care’ should be used to encapsulate all forms of care delivered in specialist housing settings”. The full report can be downloaded for free here.

Social Pedagogy Pilot Evaluation

Two Scottish Camphill communities to be involved in a government-funded pilot study evaluating the impact of social pedagogy training. Click here for more information.

Are people happier living in community?

Good question?  Well, a group of researchers teamed up with the Fellowship for Intentional Community are attempting to answer it by asking people living in intentional communities what they think.  Want to let them know your views? See flyer on the FIC website.

Dan McKanan on Camphill at 75

Dan (Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School) spent last summer touring Camphill communities in the UK as part of his research for a series of fascinating publications. Themes include anthroposophy in the context of the ecological movement, traditions of esoteric community building and the significance of Camphill moving into its fourth generation. Updates on progress with this work will be published here, as well as links to any publications or papers as soon as they are available.  In the meantime, check out Dan’s book Touching the World: Christian Communities Transforming Society on Camphill and the Catholic Worker movements in the USA.

Upcoming events

Since the Camphill Research Network is in its infancy, no events have been arranged yet. If you are interested in organising or participating in a research-related event, or are aware of any relevant events, please let us know!