Event Details

  • When: Sunday, 07 June 2020
  • Date and times:

    Sun 7th - Fri 12th June 2020

    The course begins Sunday – 18.15 (with supper)
    Ends Friday – 14.00

    Tuition fee: £465*

    *For prices for on-campus accomodation options and delicious biodynamic meals click the 'BOOK STAY' link below.



    Booking your place on this course and your stay at Emerson are two separate steps and payments:


    (Click to pay the deposit and book your place)


     (Click here to book your stay and meals at Emerson College)


    For more information visit: 

SHORT COURSE: What Sustains Us - Exploring through Courage and Play

SHORT COURSE: What Sustains Us - Exploring through Courage and Play

Exploring the question of what sustains us in our lives when what we seek goes awry: with Penny Williamson and Vivian Gladwell.

This workshop will explore the question of what sustains us in our lives when what we seek goes awry. What helps us connect with heart, curiosity and compassion to ourselves, each other, the world around us?    

We work with this theme using The Nose to Nose approach  and the Circle of Trust work of Parker Palmer, both rooted in the belief that each of us has our own inner teacher to discern our way in the world.  Interweaving the (vulnerable) playfulness of clowning with times for reflection, deep listening, and sharing in a trustworthy community, we invite the wisdom of our inner teacher to emerge.




Penny Williamson

Penny Williamson

Penny R. Williamson, ScD is an internationally recognized facilitator, educator and coach for leaders and organizations in health care. She is a founding facilitator and mentor for the national Center for Courage and Renewal and Associate Professor of Medicine, Part Time, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. From 1998-2016 Penny led Courage to Lead, a leadership development and personal renewal program for leaders in health care and other serving professions, based on the work of Parker Palmer and the Circle of Trust © approach. She currently leads Courage retreats in the United States and other countries. Diverse themes include: life transitions, living wholeheartedly, leading with integrity and heart, and re-imagining boundaries. Over the past several years, Penny has incorporated into her work practices of “Social Presencing Theater”, exploring how alignment of mind and body add to individual discernment and collective wisdom. She is partnering with teachers of Nose to Nose Clowning, combining playful, transparent ways to explore joys, vulnerabilities and fears in combination with the reflective practices of Courage work.

Past roles include change efforts in relationship centered culture building, working with individuals, leadership teams and healthcare organizations; founding co-creator and faculty, Leading Organizations to Health, a 10-month institute for healthcare leaders focused on creating and sustaining relational cultures in organizations; founding Executive Vice President, American Academy on Communication and Healthcare, a national organization devoted to enhancing the doctor patient relationship through improved teaching and clinical skills and the promotion of research; founding faculty, Longitudinal Faculty Development Program on Teaching Skills for Physicians, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Philosophy and approaches: Dr. Williamson brings to her work an ecological worldview; belief in and attention to the inner life; expertise in the disciplines of Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, Open Space and Skilled Dialogue; and incorporation in the work of powerful creative modalities including poetry, movement, clowning, music and art. Above all she brings a belief in the capacity of individuals, groups and organizations to contribute to creating a better world.


Vivian close 21 300x200

Vivian Gladwell

Vivian is the founder and director of Nose to Nose and has given hundreds of workshops around the world. He lives both in the UK and France where he started clowning in 1978. He speaks French and English fluently.

Vivian began teaching in 1988 as part of the Lifeways Festival at Emerson College – UK. He trained as a facilitator with the Bataclown in 1990 and joined their team in 1991 also working as a modern day Court Jester (Clownanalyst).

He created Nose to Nose UK in 1990, Nose to Nose of North America in 2006 and Fool View, the Social Clowning group and has trained facilitators in the UK, the USA, Germany and Italy – view history.

He continues his role as ambassador for the work by researching the applications of clowning in the context of teacher training, medicine, conflict management, ecology and intercultural work in many countries (South Africa, USA, Senegal, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, Norway…)

He holds clowning as a social playground for exploring our humanity.