Courses at Woodbrooke

Showing 1–16 of 38 results

    The Wonder of Seed: the whole world in your hand

    An oak tree inside an acorn, a conker on a string, the wheat grains that makes our bread – seeds will provide beauty, wonder and inspiration to stimulate creative ideas and writing. We will also draw on the rich meanings and resonances of seeds by dipping into myths, our imaginations and memories, finding how the seed offers a way of thinking and speaking about our deep selves and inner growth.

    We are offering a limited number of free places (including all meals and accommodation) on this course for Friends aged 18 – 35 years, if you would like to take advantage of one of these places, please contact or call 0121 415 6785.

    Voices of the Earth

    Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This course runs from Monday 2 September to Friday 6 September (not Monday to Wednesday as advertised).

    This popular course uses the rich resources of Woodbrooke's art room and extensive gardens to explore creatively our relationships with the world we inhabit. With new directions offered by the tutors each year, we will engage hands-on with poetry and a range of media and art forms, familiar and unfamiliar. Working both individually and collaboratively to recharge our ways of seeing and sensing, we will discover fresh perspectives on the world in its variety and of our place within it.

    Mindfully Together

    For 13 years, Woodbrooke has hosted retreats drawing on the Zen Buddhist teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. We will welcome back Sister Annabel Laity supported by members of the Community of Interbeing. Discover how mindfulness of the present moment can bring peace and happiness. While the practice is accessible and guidance will be offered to those with little or no experience, it is not without demand.  You will enjoy times of silence, walking meditation in Woodbrooke’s beautiful grounds and specially prepared vegetarian food.

    We are offering a limited number of places (including all meals and accommodation) on this course at a heavily discounted rate for Friends aged 18 - 35 years, if you would like to know more or take advantage of one of these places, please contact or call 0121 415 6785.

    Beyond the Spirit of the Age: The 1996 Swarthmore Lecture Revisited – and Revised?

    How much has changed in the two decades since Jonathan Dale gave his prophetic Swarthmore Lecture challenging Friends to renew their social testimony? Does that challenge need updating for our time? During our time together we will reflect on how our faith asks us to engage with a society that remains both economically and politically polarised. To what extent do our lifestyles of comfort and convenience accommodate us to this world, and how might we become agents of change? Join us as we listen and learn from one another.

    Exploring the Old Testament

    Does the Old Testament puzzle, perplex or put you off?  Come and discover some of its riches and beauty, as well as its agonised responses to suffering and violence.  We will explore the contexts in which the Hebrew Bible was written, and then trace the different ways in which it has been interpreted in Jewish and Christian traditions.  The tutor was recently commended by a local Quaker meeting for “profound insights with a lightness of touch”.  Anyone welcome – no prior knowledge required.

    Course outline

    • Encountering the Old Testament
    • Jewish, Christian and critical lenses
    • Prophetic Poetry and Imperialism
    • The Masterful Story of King David
    • Joy and Grief in the Psalms
    • The Glory of God and the Holy of Holies

    Managing our Meeting Houses

    This training and support event for meeting houses of all sizes and functions includes: Witnessing to Quaker values; workshops for staff and employers on employment law and good practice and on health and safety legislation; as well as sessions on meeting house administration matters, and on building working relationships and support networks. The course aims to respond to the needs of participants so everyone will gain increased enthusiasm, skills, confidence and knowledge to enhance the life of their meeting house.

    Conference: Depicting Religious Characters in 19th Century Fiction

    A day conference organised jointly by the Centre for Research in Quaker Studies and Keele University on all aspects of religious characters in nineteenth-century fiction. The conference is open to all with an interest in the subject, including postgraduate students.

    The conference fee of £50 includes lunch and refreshments. Accommodation, if required, should be booked separately.

    If you would like to present a twenty minute paper, please contact Betty Hagglund (

    Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies (QFAS) and the Friends Fellowship of Healing (FFH) Conference

    Woodbrooke, QFAS and FFH working in partnership.

    This joint conference of the Quaker Fellowship for Afterlife Studies (QFAS) and the Friends Fellowship of Healing (FFH) is open to all. For nearly twenty years QFAS has gathered and shared evidence of experiences beyond the body, which goes to the very heart of what it means to be human. FFH was founded in 1935 and is one of the largest interest groups within the Religious Society of Friends in Britain. The conference will explore spiritual and psychic experiences and evidence of healing of the mind and body. We will discuss how we can integrate these experiences into our daily lives, helping us to grow stronger in faith and love.

    Creativity and Ministry

    Creativity is not just about creating wonderful, imaginative ‘things’, such as art pieces; it’s about who we are and about how we contribute to the world – whatever this might be. How can we clear the space within so that creativity can flourish? How can we release it? How do we get inspiration and the confidence to use it? How can we make our brains work to forge new ideas, new connections? How might creativity be linked to ministry? How can spirit move us in the silence to release our creativity and allow it to contribute to and shape our ministry?

    Our creativity meets the world in many different ways, but often we are too shy to use it as fully as we might and this might limit it and affect our ministry or action in the world. Ministry can mean different things for different people: speaking aloud in Meeting, helping someone in need, preparing a delicious dish for bring-and-share lunch, shaping a spirit-led minute in Business Meeting and many other examples. Please bring something that you have created to the course, to share with others on the first evening.

    On this course we will use the playful creation of simple objects from the physical world to help us free up our natural urge to create and to consider how our ministry can be enriched by this process.  We will be using a mixture of craft and natural materials, and the last session of the course will be the creating of ‘garden installations’ and flower arrangements in the main house, as our ministry to Woodbrooke.

    Towards Forgiveness

    Our lives as individuals and communities are often damaged by unresolved conflicts, injury and hurts. How can we deal with painful events and move towards understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation? How do we help ourselves and others heal and move on? Drawing on their experience, the tutors will help you deepen your understanding of the process of forgiveness, reconciliation and healing and help you to become a source of strength within your community. This course will not address individual therapeutic needs.

    A quiet day with Experiment with Light

    This will run for 24 hours from lunch on day one to lunch on day two. This day is suitable for those who are familiar with the Experiment with Light practice and those who are new to it. It will allow people to use the Experiment with Light practice in a retreat like atmosphere. Participants will be given an introduction to the practice if needed. Experiment with Light will be practiced on the afternoon of the first day and the morning of the second day.

    Walking with a smile into the dark

    "But there is a deeper, an internal simplification of the whole of one's personality, stilled, tranquil, in childlike trust listening ever to Eternity's whisper, walking with a smile into the dark."  Thomas Kelly

    Accepting that there is much that we do not know and cannot control frees us to walk the path of faith. We will use this weekend to explore alone and together how we can let go of what blocks us and be more open to the guidance of the Spirit.

    Envisioning a world that is open to all: let us see what love can do

    Please note: There is an error in our latest brochure. This course starts on Friday 27 September (not Wednesday 25 September as advertised).

    Jointly organised by Quaker Asylum Refugee Network, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Quaker United Nations Office, Quaker Council for European Affairs and Woodbrooke

    A weekend conference learning about asylum and migration, hearing from those who have felt its impact, and working together to create the change that we need.

    Speakers, workshops, performances and panel discussions will explore the interplay between race, privilege and migration - how does it work, what can we do?

    Language and the media: challenging and changing the language of migration.

    Migration and the arts: how migration enriches our communities and how the arts can bring about change.

    The UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

    Our focus on the arts will help us celebrate what people bring to our communities as well as explore how the arts can contribute to change

    • Daholl Kurdish Band
    • poets Malka Al-Haddadi and Ambrose Musiyiwe
    • artist Mohsen Keiani
    • author Gulwali Passarlay

    We will look at how language helps shape attitudes to migration and explore the interplay between race, privilege and migration. We will hear from those who have felt the impact of our asylum system, and together we will explore how a world open to all might look and how we might get there. Workshops will include:

    • Marchu Girma, Women for Refugee Women, exploring alternatives to detention
    • Celia McKeon, Rethinking Security, on human security and migration
    • Molly Scott Cato (tbc) on language, politics and the media
    • Cassidy McKenna, QUNO, how the UN Global Compact for Migration can help effect change
    • Tatiana Garavito, QPSW, and Kate McNally, QCEA, exploring the interplay of race, privilege and migration
    • Rosemary Crawley, QARN, and Agnes Tanoh, on what a fair and humane asylum system might look like

    We hope you can join us at Woodbrooke from 27th - 29th September!

    Quaker Botanists

    Would you like to find out more about three key botanists from the Quaker tapestry? Are you interested in gardens, plants and their history? By looking at the life and times of Peter Collinson, John Bartram and John Fothergill we will explore their plant introductions and gardens in the 18th century. We'll assess their legacy in gardens, parks and medicine today. You'll go away with a greater appreciation of the importance of these botanists in history and how they continue to inspire us today.

    Quakers and Decision-Making: exploring the issues

    A one-day seminar on recent research about Quaker decision-making. You can choose to offer a short presentation (email if interested). We will hear from academic researchers and from reflective practitioners of Quaker decision-making. Topics may include Quaker business method and non-Quaker organisations, theories of leadership, theology, the role of silence. We will also consider how this material might feed into the revision of the book of discipline. This is not a “how to” - we assume familiarity with Quaker decision-making.

    The fee for this day includes lunch and refreshments. Accommodation, if required, should be booked separately.


    Philosophy for Quakers

    This course introduces the P4C (Philosophy for Children or Communities methodology which enables in-depth enquiry into matters of belief and ethics. This approach creates a positive environment for deep discussion and safe disagreement. Learning to use this form of philosophical enquiry will provide Quakers with the skills needed to facilitate dialogue about important issues in their own meeting community. During the weekend we will use Quaker Faith & Practice as a stimulus for our own community of enquiry.