It is with sadness that we announce the closure of our school. For some years now, the interest and accompanying finance from Camphill communities throughout the UK and Ireland has been waning. There are three main reasons for this:
- The absence of eurythmy as an active presence in many communities.
- The overall diminution of communities’ funds.
- The perception that communities’ terms of governance will not permit financial contributions to the school.
- Reduced student numbers.
Whatever the reasons, they amount to a tacit statement that a specifically Camphill eurythmy training is no longer relevant or sustainable. For the last three years, the Camphill Village Trust, of which the school is legally a part, has been covering the shortfall in income and has now decided it can no longer extend that facility. We submitted a plan to CVT that outlined a sustainable financial future for the school outwith the charity, with a re-structured fee system that would be fully operational in 2016. In the interim we hoped to secure continued financial resourcing from the charity and from the wider Camphill movement, but these attempts have been made too late. CVT have rejected the plan and taken the opportunity of our move towards leaving the charity to issue eviction orders to three members of the school staff.
The teachers of the school recognize that this is indeed the end of something, and that it is time to reflect on and celebrate all that the school has achieved and to seek to carry over its unique quality into something new. We are hopeful that many of our current students and applicants will be taken in by the West Midlands eurythmy training, and that our teachers will have a role in what can develop there.
Mixed with our sadness is immense gratitude. There are so many people to
whom we want to send our thanks:
- To Dr Karl Koenig, for the vision of a eurythmy school in Camphill
- To Evamaria Rascher for saying ‘yes’ to the vision.
- To Peter Roth and Alex Baum, and the many co-workers at the Sheiling, Ringwood and in Botton Village, for sharing that vision and incarnating it into those communities.
- To Monica Dorrington and Evamaria for those first lessons.
- To the teachers of the Eurythmeum, Stuttgart and the London School of Eurythmy for god-parenting the school in its early days.
- To Lea van der Pals who stood up for what many thought was a crazy idea.
- To Christopher Kidman, Chas Bamford, Roman Shinov, Staya Wu, Cordula Rawson and all the inspired and dedicated eurythmists who have been members of the teaching faculty.
- To Bonnie Cohen, for playing it so that it moves, and to all the exceptionally gifted musicians we have worked with.
- To Timothy Edwards, and all those speech artists who have helped us to approach the mystery of the word.
- To all the visiting and supporting teachers who have instructed our students in the richness of culture: art, music, science, poetry, architecture, medicine, gymnastics.
- To all our students and graduates who come as a gift from the world, and return as a gift to the world.
- Above all, to the seemingly disabled children, young people and adults who have accepted the art of eurythmy without reservation, and who probably understand it better than any of us.
To have been a teacher in the Camphill Eurythmy School has been to steer a ship by two stars: the star that shines over eurythmy, and the star that guides the impulse of curative education and social therapy. At times these stars have been in happy conjunction, at others in opposition, and trying to stay true to both has been a task requiring a firm yet soft hand on the wheel, the ability to constantly re-calibrate ones course, and the willingness to get wet.
If you gaze for a while at these two stars, the figures of Marie Steiner and Ita Wegman come into view; two guardians of anthroposophy between whom a rift appeared to the detriment of all of us who have, in our different ways, felt called upon to involve ourselves in the tasks they were entrusted with. Our school, in its own small way, has perhaps contributed something to the healing of this rift. When the school came to Botton in 1978, it was hoped that ‘these artists’ would have a civilising effect on a working, social-therapeutic community, and that the community would have a humanising effect on the artists. There is no way of measuring whether this has been achieved, other than to say that all of us who have been involved in this enterprise called the Camphill Eurythmy School know that, through it, we have taken a few more steps towards the goal of becoming truly human.
Rita Kort, Jonathan Reid and Evamaria Rascher. 23rd August 2014
Botton Village, Danby WHITBY YO21 2NJ firstname.lastname@example.org