Three-Year Certificate Program
new cycle beginning July 2013
Biography and Social Art Certificate Program
Life Gestures and Human Development
The Biography and Social Art Program is a unique, three-year, part-time training for individuals interested in a deeper understanding of development and what it means to be human. Practicing the art of human encounter along with inner work is preparation for leading others toward new possibilities of connecting with themselves and life in richer and more meaningful ways.
This program meets over the course of three years, two weeks each summer as well as one week each fall and winter, at the Threefold Educational Center and Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, NY.
Each block focuses on a particular aspect of the mystery of human life. Artistic practice, including the art of conversation, is central to the learning process. Nature observation, painting, modeling, drawing, writing, singing and movement encourage deepening capacities of perception, communications, and attention.
This program offers professional development for a variety of fields, or it can be a preparation to provide learning opportunities for others seeking personal transformation, healing and a more conscious understanding of life. There is a great need in our present culture for people who can guide explorations into the nature of the world and of the human being in ways that reveal wholeness and connection. Former students have brought their Biography and Social Art experience and education into a variety of professions including life coaching, biographical counseling, art therapy, elder care, parent education, health work, death care, adult education and many other avenues of working with personal and community development.
All course work considers the human being from a threefold perspective: as a being of body, soul and spirit. Inquiries into questions of the times and contemporary challenges to human freedom weave throughout the program. Between sessions, participants do reading and artistic work, keep a journal, and work on individual projects.
Biography and Social Art Program is recognized as a certified training course on behalf of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland.
July 8-12 & 15-19, 2013
October 28 – November 1, 2013
February 10-14, 2014
Year Two and Year Three – TBA.
Applicants should have a familiarity with the basics of Anthroposophy, an active interest in learning and a desire to serve their community.
Year One 2013-14 $3,450.00
Year Two 2014-15 $3,600.00
Year Three 2015-16 $3,750.00
Payment options are available. Please contact us for more information.
Click here for housing options at Threefold Educational Center, Chestnut Ridge, NY.
The certificate program is for those who work with adults and wish to guide explorations into the nature of the world and of the human being in ways that reveal wholeness and connection. In many organizations and communities there are people who long for rich learning experiences, personal transformation, and a more conscious understanding of life, the nature of the world and of the human being.
This program offers professional development for a variety of fields, or it can be a preparation to provide learning opportunities for others seeking personal transformation, healing and a more conscious understanding of life. Taking inspiration from Rudolf Steiner’s insights into human development, the program brings together Biography, Lifeways, and Nurturing Arts as well as the Biographical Counseling work developed in England. Former students are now active in adult education, art therapy, biographical counseling, parent education, elder care, coaching, medicine, hospice care, and various community building activities.
Course of Study
The Biography and Social Art Certificate Program meets three times per year for a total of four weeks, over the course of three years. Each block focuses on a particular aspect of the mystery of human life and development. Artistic practice (no experience necessary) is central to the learning process. Nature observation as well as painting, modeling, drawing, writing, singing and movement encourage deepening capacities of perception.
All course work considers the human being from a threefold perspective: as a being of body, soul and spirit. Inquiries into questions of the times and contemporary challenges to human freedom weave throughout the program. Between sessions, participants do reading and artistic work, keep a journal and develop individual projects.
- Life Gestures in Nature
- Uses of Enchantment: Storytelling
- Four-fold Imaginations of Life
- Group Facilitation
- Adult Learning Styles
- Phases of Human Life
- Nature Observation
- The Twelve Senses
- The Evolution of Consciousness through Art
- Biographical Conversations
- Working with the Planets
- Thresholds and Destiny
Certificate Program News
This is an exciting time in the biography of this course. We are always training ourselves to look at life as a continuous process of development and becoming, and this is a time when biography work itself is becoming more recognized and sought after in this country. There are a number of trainings and many ‘biography workers’ in most European countries, as well as in Israel, Japan and Brazil; there has been a slower growth in the United States with this being the only certificate training.Of course, there have always been those pioneers who brought biography work from the Centre for Social Development in England and their own longstanding relationship to Anthroposophy, who have been active in the U.S. and helped to spread an understanding of what an objective look at life could offer.
This training, which was founded in 1997 by Signe Schaefer, came with an impulse to bring a unique character to biography work that has a strong component of working socially with both artistic media and the art of conversation. Both of these have a countering and balancing effect on the anti-social forces that predominate today. Maria deZwaan, an art therapist from Holland, was a wonderful and strong influence in the first cycles and helped to realize this impulse.
The program continues to evolve with each new group being part of its on-going development. It has never been limited to looking only at the phases of a human life but includes observing and studying the processes of unfolding, transformation and metamorphosis, which occur in all of life. Be it a seed or planet or person, we can trust that we are seeing something that is in process and as we train ourselves to see life as being in process, then the meaning inherent in what we are seeing may be revealed.
Recently we have begun to explore what we have termed the ‘biographical conversation’ as something different from coaching or counseling, although it may serve some of the same goals. Since the beginning of the program Margli Matthews, long-time director of the biographical counseling program in England, offered a block on the ‘Helping Conversation’ that has been foundational to the evolving of a one-to-one approach.
It is also a time of transition as Signe steps back from directing the program and will be supporting the work from her role as President of the Board for the Center for Biography and Social Art, the umbrella organization of the program. She will, of course, be available as guide and consultant and will also be active in seeking and setting up Master Classes for graduates of the course and others engaged in Biography Work. As sad and even difficult as it is to say goodbye to a founder in a leading role, it is also an opening (as Signe is fond of saying) for next steps to emerge that will take this work into the future.
Part of that future is a collaboration of four lead faculty, all of whom have been participants in the course. They are Patricia Rubano, who has been co-director of the course and involved since the beginning; Leah Walker, who was part of the first cycle has incorporated this work into her counseling-psychotheraputic practice; Kathleen Bowen, who after graduating from the program, was an intern through another cycle and is the coordinator for the Center for Biography and Social Art; and Joseph Rubano, who was part of the first cycle and who also did the Biographical Counseling Course in England with Margli Matthews and Anita Charton will take this work into the future.
An Overview of Biography and Social Art
What is Biography Work, this new approach to human life which is being developed more and more around the world? Rather than merely focusing on the details of an individual life, it expands our human perspective to include an exploration of the larger world within which we live. Learning to read biography–”life-writing” as the word suggests–encourages an appreciation for the cosmic rhythms that sustain life. Discovering the growth process of a rose or drawing the seasons of a tree can bring a sense of order and lawfulness as we look at human life. The Biography and Social Art Program takes us into the complexities of human becoming and can shed light on questions of meaning.
Social Art describes a way of working in which discoveries and insights are enhanced by entering artistically with others into the exploration of a theme. Quiet work with pastels, paint or clay can open up deep memory sources, and then sharing in small groups can encourage further remembering. The Biography and Social Art Program provides a laboratory for adult learning in which participants are trained through their own activity. Working together with stories, our own and also fairy tales and myths, awakens new imaginations that can break the spell that has enchanted the world and bewitched us into believing only what can be weighed and measured. Working artistically with others, participants cultivate a living understanding of nature, biography, the story of humanity, and the cosmos. Learning to trust process, while lessening the focus on product, encourages a sense of play, risk and adventure.