The Shepherds School was started as an independent project in 2004 in the Northern Spanish mountains and is now replicated in the mountain ranges surrounding Madrid.It offers an education in new technologies to existing shepherds and training to young people from urban contexts interested in learning shepherding. Annual courses are 5 months long, starting with a theoretical component in which subjects range from Zoology, Farming Policies, Mountain Ecology, Outdoors Skills and Veterinary Practices to Cheese Making. The students learn the practical component of the course whilst living together with a professional shepherd and sharing the everyday with their tutor.
Part of the project was the redesign and refurbishment of 4 mountain cabins , 2 mountain dairies, and 2 milking rooms. All these facilities are offered to the graduating students free of charge if they choose to pick up the trade.
Together with those infrastructures for summer high mountain pastures, the Shepherds School has a model farm in the valley for winter production with accommodation, classroom and library for the students.
The Shepherd School also carries out other activities such as travel exchanges between shepherds from different countries or regions, tutoring post-graduate field researchers interested in pastoralist culture, as well as advocating and facilitating pastoralists representative organisations from Europe and other parts of the world.
Outstanding figures of the peasant movement are invited to spend some time at Inland headquarters in a sort of Farmer in Residence programme. Training is offered in areas such as Project Definition, Project Management, Languages, Communication and Media Techniques, History and Philosophy of Farmer Struggles and Global Geopolitics.
Pastoralist leaders from different regions of the world, members of the World Alliance of Mobile Pastoralists, are also invited. The aim is to provide scholarships to three leaders per year to acquire new skills they can apply back in their communities in self-managed development projects, and build up their capacities for the defence of their way of life.
During their stay, exchanges and engagement with local shepherds and the farming community will be encouraged through cohabitation and joint presentations and debates, and tutoring in the Shepherds School classes.
Currently we are searching for donors to support the grants scheme.
INLAND organises workshops with relevant artists, rural leaders and cultural practitioners, which are carried out together with engaged villages for a set period of time. The exchange between the contributors and participants, art students, permaculturists and hackers manifests in the contents and potential outcomes of the workshop.
Contents of this alternative curriculum include Rural Extension Methodologies, such as Participatory Action Research and notions of agroecological endogenous rural development project planning, taking from Ecological Economy, Anthropology, Landscape History or Sociology.
Different pedagogies are tested to overcome differences between experiential and intellectual knowledge, theory and practice.
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Specific short courses on crafts and different skills such as bread making or earth building are offered in collaboration with similar peer initiatives all around.
The Elemental School of Crafts is based in an ancient abbey in the mountains of the island of Mallorca. It offers free training for unemployed local youth to learn from crafts masters – who at the same time witness their materials and skills re-interpteted and developed by invited contemporary artists and designers, searching for new uses, aesthetics and markets for these crafts. The courses range from Dry Stone Building, Wool, Vegetal Fibres, to Pottery or Food Crafts.
The courses are also open to visitors and subject to a registration fee.
The schedule of the courses varies so please subscribe to the newsletter to keep up to date.