All Oika courses are grounded in the fundamentals of Ecological Intelligence as defined by Dr. Rich Blundell and his Earthling Theory.
The experience of ecological intelligence requires more than an education in scientific facts. It requires whole new, ecological worldview capable of seeing how everything arises from relationships.
This is easily put into words. But the impacts of living as if it were true (which it is) are profound beyond words.
In an Oika course you will experience the entire scientific story of nature from before the big bang, to the current moment and into imagined futures. For the first time, you will understand how your life fits within cosmic, Earthly and cultural unfoldings. Together we will discover what new possibilities are intrinsic to such a reality of continuity.
The process unfolds through group conversation across a spectrum of perceptual modes:
Experiential ⇋ Conceptual ⇋ Relational ⇋ Expressive
All courses are eligible for need-based scholarships and we are currently offering two levels of Oika courses to fit with busy schedules.
Ecological intelligence refers to the field of communication generated by nature that also infuses human consciousness.
An Oika course will give you access to deep ecological insights that you may have not gotten through formal education. Here you will learn how ecological systems work and see how nature's intelligence can infuse your practice, amplify your creativity and enhance your experience of the world.
You will gain new language, concepts and the confidence to talk about your work in a way that matters in the Anthropocene.
Check out the video
Oika for Earthlings is our introductory course in the fundamentals of ecological intelligence for everyone. This course teaches you what you need to know in order to lead the life of an Earthling with joy, gratitude and personal prosperity.
Two versions available:
You can take the course solo (anytime, self-paced) or with a group (pre-scheduled over 1-5 weeks).
The Oika for Cultural Leadership course combines the intrinsic sensitivities of creative people with the knowledge generated by science to surface new relational awareness.
Building on the insights and practices of the Oika for Earthlings course, we will dive deeper into ecological concepts and convert them into lived-experiences that cultivate new relationships with nature. Then you, as an artist, can draw on those relationships to co-create art that changes culture and the world.
An Oika course teaches artists how to create art that changes what it means to be human through Ecological Intelligence.
Oika for Cultural Leadership is our advanced course for all cultural creatives with a focus on professional sovereignty. This course builds on the core insights of Oika for Earthlings to empower artists, educators and all cultural creatives to live and make culture in alliance with nature.
Two versions available:
This course is currently offered as an in-person 5-day course through Castle Hill Center for the Arts in Truro (Cape Cod), Massachusetts.
The content will empower cultural creatives to access their ecological intelligence developed in the Oika for Earthlings course.
This is what you need to know in order to live and create a culture in alignment with nature.
Course Structure & Content
Over five weeks we will meet virtually to learn the three core concepts of ecological intelligence (NARRATIVE, EMERGENCE & FRACTALS) plus two elective concepts that include: Cybernetics, Tacit Knowing, Radical Affection, Quantum Ecologies, The Virome, Phenomenology, Reciprocity, Gratitude, Timeless Play, ENjoyment, Consilience, etc.. Class size is limited to seven per cohort.
Five weekly video calls and ongoing email conversations are supplemented with short videos on the core concepts (two sample excerpts shown below).
The course also includes self-directed practices in the artist’s home habitats called Earth Stories. An Earth Story is a moment of Oika practice that can be shared. Typically this means a photo, video clip, sketch or drawing, or poem or other writing.
The Oika curriculum draws on current science to tell a natural history of art in an accessible way.
We live in a creative matrix of nature’s communication. Artists have always known this intuitively, the science of ecology now confirms it. -- Dr. Rich Blundell
Each week we will explore concepts during regularly scheduled video calls & group email. Concepts are then converted into lived-experience through self-directed practices during the week.
What is Ecological Intelligence?
Platform (getting set up on Trello)
Watch: PRIMORDIA Video (links to trailer)
Watch: NARRATIVE Video (links to trailer)
Research: Narrative Identity Theory
Do: PERSON Module
Create: Earth Story 1
Research elective concept 1
PERSON Module Recap (read bio’s)
Watch: CELESTIA Video (links to trailer)
Watch: EMERGENCE Video (links to trailer)
Do: PLACE Module
Create: Earth Story 2
Research elective concept 2
PLACE Module recap
Watch EARTHERIA Video (links to trailer)
Watch: FRACTALS Video (links to trailer)
Do: PRACTICE Module
Create: Earth Story 3
Research elective concept 3
PRACTICE Module Recap
Watch: CULTURIA Video (links to trailer)
Research: Paleolithic Art
Create: Earth Story 4
Research elective concept 4
PROSPER Module recap
Natural History wrap-up
The weekly video calls are limited to 90-mins or less. Practice time is according to your schedule. How much time you spend on the practices is up to you but we recommend a minimum of 2-hrs per week. The more time spent in direct contact with nature, the better.
Course progression is documented through an online, multimedia platform built by participants
Ideas that highlight the connections between nature and humanity are seen within the learning experiences of the Oika program. I'm excited about incorporating this content not only into my own studio practice, but also into my teaching deliveries as an art and design professor. I'm excited about working with the Oika program in the near future.
-- Kat, Artist & Art Teacher
I loved learning how everything is interconnected and nothing is inconsequential. Also finding my own personal connection to nature and being more mindful of the "little things" in the universe- the simple moments of clarity and connection - James, Poet
I needed this to bring that connection back to place myself into the right direction again. belonging to this planet that we’re all disconnected from. It’s made me so motivated to push what I love to do further with a new purpose and new energy to my work. -- Cheryl, Artist
This experience really drove home to me the message that everything on earth, including humans, are all made from the same matter and energy. We are all one. -- Jill, Writer
The Oika experience made me feel connection, again, between my relationship with the earth and myself as a human. From this, I felt a new sense of creative purpose arise. One with a mission to share what I’ve learned with the world of busy individuals disconnected from our home. Perhaps a calm and connected state of mind and a form of self love. A new purpose to my creative work and how I can use that to share that with the world and allow them to know that they can have that connection too.
-- Chelsea, Artist
I'm more aware now about the idea of nature like something that I am part of, not only like something external to me. Also, I got the idea of nature as literally everything. -- John, Visual Artist
About the Instructor:
Dr. Rich Blundell is an ecologist working at the interface of science, art, nature and culture. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, philanthropic sources and won awards from Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival for his work in environmental media. He founded Oika as the philosophical basis for a school of art that restores art to its original function in shaping an ecological society.