The Discovery Programme

Course Availability: Full Time

Art - Science - Humanity

Discovery Course Image

'Discovery is a blessing that can happen at any time, but can be helped by several factors. One is inquisitiveness and attentiveness to appearances, free from received interpretations or assumptions but, at the same time, keeping a sense of reality and discernment.’ ~ Dr Philip Kilner, MD, PhD


20th Sept to Dec 11th 2020. 

Led by Dr Philip Kilner & Vija Docherty, the aim of this full-time autumn programme is to facilitate personal discovery and creativity. Through more open perceiving, participants are invited to deepen their creative skills and explore their sense of purpose through:

  • Goethe’s perception-based approach to scientific enquiry
  • Creative, nature-based arts and crafts
  • Studies and dialogue on human development, wellbeing and livelihood in relation to our society and environment.

Set in the gentle beauty of the Emerson College campus, the Discovery Programme provides participants with the opportunity to step out of their daily life into a space of observing, insightful imagining and creative collaboration. Through more open perceiving, students are invited to deepen their creative skills and explore their sense of purpose.

During the programme students are taught techniques of observing, questioning, nature-based craft and artistic practice through a sequence of themed modules. Experienced teachers and facilitators will act as guides and mentors for each theme, creating a pathway of exploration, group participation and discovery.

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Open to all, this course is ideal for:

• People who want to deepen their connection with nature, broaden their creative skills and renew their sense of personal purpose;

• Artists, Craft Makers and Designers looking to develop a more socially engaged creative practice;

• Scientists & Academics interested in exploring phenomenological and relational practices within a meaningful creative context;

• Teachers, Community and Social Entrepreneurs and initiative-takers looking to develop a human-centred, creative practice.



The programme runs from Sunday September 20th (afternoon check in and welcome) to Friday December 11th 2020. 

The course comprises of three four-week blocks:

Block One - ‘The Natural World’

We will explore nature’s elemental qualities (Earth, Water, Air and Fire) and their interplay in the lives of plants, animals and our own human bodily instrument. We will be striving to practice a Goethean scientific approach that is complemented by artistic work. When the careful, inclusive observing of phenomena is met by suitably practiced imaginative faculties, the two aspects - outer observing and inner imagining - may merge in an illuminating experience of discovery.

Block Two - ‘Becoming Human’

We will extend and apply this phenomenological approach to the course of human lives, guided by insights of Rudolf Steiner. After exploring development through infancy, childhood and adolescence, there will be space for the sharing of participants’ own biographical stories. We will then make a survey of world views, religions and philosophies before going on to consider the biographies of selected historical and contemporary individuals in their ‘Search for the deeper Self ’.

Block Three - ‘Ways of Humane Livelihood’

We will focus on different examples of Humane Livelihood including ‘care of our land, homes and nutrition’, ‘health, illness and human balance’ and ‘economic, social, cultural and environmental health’. The programme will conclude with a carefully planned process titled ‘uncovering your path to meaningful work’, designed to help students explore their own questions around life and work and examine their deeper purpose.

For more infomation about individual weeks and the full course content please click below to download our information pack.



The weekly themes for Discovery 2020 are yet to be announced, however for a flavour of what to expect please click below to view our Discovery 2019 Course Info Pack.

For more information about the course content, please contact the course leader Dr Philip Kilner This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


TUITION FEE:  £2750*

(£2500 early booking before 24 July 2020)

*The price includes materials but excludes accommodation, meals and travel costs.

Please note: 

A grant towards tuition fees may be applied for from the Rudolf Steiner Association, but only after having been accepted for the course. The application must be sent by the following dates:
- Friday, 1st May 2020

Application for a Bursary from Emerson College can be considered.

For full info on these, please contact Chiara Carones, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.