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Foraging, films and fire-by-fricton: meet the Bristol collective that’s exploring social and environmental issues through arts and nature

When was the last time you sat quietly and listened to the birds for half an hour, softening your vision to take in everything at once? Or the last time you pushed your patience to its limits just to get a tiny ember and little waft of smoke? Funny that we’ve got to a point in human history where such things are elusive and precious… but there it is: we don’t really spend much time with just our thoughts, our basic needs and the birds. There are too many emails to be read.

I went on a bushcraft course last spring to learn new ‘survival skills’ – shelters, tracking, fire – and came back with some new strings to my bow. But also, more unexpectedly, with a dawning realisation that wilderness learning is a philosophy of living in balance and with respect; it’s essentially a subversion of consumerism and ‘gadget culture’. Pretty radical considering it involves just hanging out in the woods. I was set alight by the idea* and – a bit like when you finish a book and think ‘everyone I ever meet must read this!’ – I knew I had found something to pass on.Luckily I was pretty sure that Bristol would be full of people wating to explore that same edge. So I invited the tutors, a pair of multi-talented cavemen called Caspar and Robert, to come over to the west country to share their tricks and turn people’s thoughts away from global banking and the daily traffic of cyber chatter.

As a member of CoResist  – a collective of artists, educators and activists –  I was able to gather support from my colleagues to run the course last November. A great success, it was the first of a renewed schedule of events. We’ve hosted a fundraiser against fracking and a whole season of documentaries at Hamilton House, each followed by a Q&A and discussion; next up will be Chasing Ice and The Vanishing of the Bees. The last Friday of April will bring with it a musical, theatrical, post-apocalypse party: The Ramshackle Tabernacle. From the very outset, CoResist has warmly welcomed Bristol Pounds at all our events. We’re sure that local currencies will be needed in such a world, so they’re accepted on the door and at the bar.

As spring has arrived we are readying ourselves for the next bushcraft course; this time with 4 extra hours of daylight (at no extra cost!). If you’d like to unplug from the mains and take your watch off then do join us on May 9-11th.

•    Details of all our events – including booking information – can be found on our website:
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•    To keep up with what’s on at Hamilton House, visit

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