New Trustee for The Sharpham Trust
Published: 18 August 2020
The Sharpham Trust welcomes a new Trustee: Julie Richardson.
Julie previously worked at Schumacher College on the Dartington Estate, as Senior Lecturer in New Economics where she co-designed and led courses in economics for transition, right livelihood, gross national happiness and dialogues east and west.
She is many things – an ecological economist, a practising meditator, an academic, an educator and a PhD student, an organisational consultant on a national and global scale, a holistic health practitioner and a lover of the sea and nature.
She’ll be bringing her experience in all of the above to her new role at Sharpham. But first she’s going to simply notice what happens here, moment-by-moment.
“I want to…see the lay of the land and see what I can contribute to. I want to spend some time, meeting people, walking the land finding out what inspires people, what projects are happening and how they relate to each other and seeing where I can make a contribution,” she said.
“I’m interested in the relationship between the practices of mindfulness and compassion and how this creates an environmentally sustainable world. The Sharpham Trust is a wonderful place to explore and show this – with its highly popular programmes in meditation and nature connection together with various environmentally sustainable projects and programmes on the Estate”
“My thing is drawing out from what’s already happening…it’s more about a silent transformation than a revolution…drawing out what’s already there and giving life to small seedlings that are already present, but may be invisible or unnoticed”.
Sharpham Trust chair William Lana said: “We’re so very excited to welcome Julie to Sharpham; her knowledge of innovative economic thinking coupled with deep compassion and keen awareness will, I’m sure, add to the thoughtful and well-focused team we have. Welcome Julie!”
Julie praised the rewilding project that began this year, after receiving £177,400 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. She said: “I think it’s so fabulous about the new rewilding project – again, its remaining true to the ecological character and potential of the land, being guided by what vegetation the land suggests it ‘wishes’ to develop over time . This involves observing, noticing and cultivating what’s already happening, waiting to see what will grow and take root.”.
She added: “I’m also really interested in looking at the roots of Sharpham, and how the ideas and practices have evolved and manifested into practical projects and programmes. I think this emphasis on showing mindfulness and compassion through deed and practical action is important”
Julie’s history & background
From an early age, Julie was inspired by nature – and concerned about our relationship with the Earth.
She worked in sustainable development for more than 20 years in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe, gradually altering her view of ‘development’ to a belief that there is much we can learn from the wisdom of other cultures about sustainable livelihoods and restoring healthy relationship between human society and nature.
She has taught ecological economics and international development at the Universities of London and Sussex,
Julie has applied systems thinking, complexity science and a holistic view to different aspects of sustainability – including sustainable design, organizational change and environmental policy.
She worked for the Prime Minister’s Performance and Innovation Unit as an adviser/researcher on the world trade system and its impacts on the environment, health and animal welfare. Here, she applied holistic principles to diagnose patterns of health and dis-ease. She completed a Holistic Science Masters programme at Schumacher College to develop a language of health & dis-ease in human communities, which she is now taking further as part of her current PhD research into well-being economies.
More recently, at Dartington’s Schumacher College, she co-created the Schumacher Worldwide programme supporting the emergence of an international community of practitioners and programmes inspired by the economist EF Schumacher. As part of this work, she took students – including The Trust’s director Julian Carnell – on a trip to Bhutan: the world’s only country where Gross National Happiness is measured as an economic metric.
She’s also a former Trustee of the Transition Network.
Find out more about Julie and her inspirations in an interview recorded a few years back: