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


The Discovery Programme


Block 1: The Natural World - FULL
(Sept 23rd- Oct 18th) 

Block 2: Becoming Human - APPLY NOW
(Oct 21st - Nov 15th)  

Block 3: Ways of Humane Livelihood - APPLY NOW
(Nov 18th - Dec 13th)  


The Discovery Programme, developed from the Relational Arts Programme of 2018, is an immersive twelve-week course exploring the natural world, humanity, creativity and 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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The programme is composed of three four-week blocks. 

Block 1, Sept 23rd- Oct 18th: The Natural World

  • week 1: Elements of Nature (Earth, Water, Air, Warmth, with particular emphasis on fluidity)
  • week 2: Plants
  • week 3: Animals
  • week 4: Our Human Instrument *

Block 2, Oct 21st - Nov 15th: Becoming Human

  • week 5: Growing up: Parenting: infancy, childhood and school years
  • week 6: Paths through adulthood - Biography and storytelling
  • week 7: World views: religions, philosophy and ways of knowing
  • week 8: In search of the deep self *

Block 3, Nov 18th - Dec 13th: Ways of Humane Livelihood

  • week 9: Care of our land, homes and nutrition
  • week 10: Rediscovering the Sacred *
  • week 11: Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental health
  • week 12: Uncovering your path to meaningful work

*For anyone interested in the Discovery but unable to commit to a full block or the full programme, we invite you to join us for Weeks 4, 8 or 10.  In addition to being an important part of the overall programme, each of these three weeks also work as standalone one-week courses focusing on a particular theme. Please contact the course leader Dr Philip Kilner This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in attending one of these open weeks.*

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


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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.



Course Leaders Vija Docherty and Dr Philip Kilner, MD, PhD will also be supported by a team of experienced Emerson tutors.



Full course:  Sept 23 - Dec 13 2019:  Tuition fee: £2750


Block 1, Sept 23 - Oct 18: The Natural World:  Tuition fee: £1000

Block 2, Oct 21- Nov 15: Becoming Human:  Tuition fee: £1000

Block 3, Nov 18 - Dec 13: Ways of Humane Livelihood: Tuition fee: £1000


Open Weeks:

Week 4, Oct 14-18: Our Human Instrument:  Tuition fee: £300

Week 8, Nov 11-15: In Search of the Deep Self:  Tuition fee: £300

Week 10, Nov 25-29: Rediscovering the Sacred:  Tuition fee: £300