E F Schumacher centenary year

2011 was an exciting year for Practical Action.  In August 2010 we began our celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Practical Action’s founder, E F Schumacher.  Working closely with his family, we are organising a whole series of events to introduce his ideas to a new generation and to discuss the relevance of his ideas to the economic and environmental crisis we find ourselves in today.

There was a range of media coverage of the centenary, including a double page in the Observer and  Radio 4's 'Archive on 4' series, which was broadcast on 27th June 2011, but, in case you missed it, you can still listen to it on their website.  Much of the focus of this coverage has been on Schumacher's influence on the policy behind David Cameron's ideas for the Big Society.

Centenary events

More than 100 people, including family members, old colleagues and recent Schumacher converts gathered at the House of Commons to discuss Schumacher's legacy and to promote his ideas for addressing some of the economic and environmental problems we face today.  The group was addressed by Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, Barbara Wood, Schumacher’s eldest daughter and  Practical Action’s Chief Executive, Simon Trace.

Subsequently, Martin Horwood MP tabled an Early Day Motion to celebrate the centenary, which is still gathering signatures.

Schumacher was celebrated at the recent 'Ways with Words' literary festival at Dartington in Devon.  Simon Trace of Practical Action, Barbara Wood, Schumacher's daughter were joined by former MP Chris Mullin to discuss the impact of Small is Beautiful and its relevance to the world today. Barbara's biography of her father 'Alias Papa' has been republished for the centenary.

Rhodes House in Oxford, where Schumacher was a Rhodes Scholar in  1930, held an event which formed part of the Oxford University alumni weekend.  Those who attended heard a variety of fascinating stories from the Warden, Dr Donald Markwell about Schumacher's time at Oxford.  Other speakers were Barbara Wood, Ann Pettifor of Advocacy International and Practical Action Chief Executive, Simon Trace.

The Schumacher centenary website has details of all these events.  You can also share your memories and join in the debates about Schumacher’s ideas on the site or send one of our e-cards to your friends to tell them about his great ideas.

Other events held to celebrate the centenary of Schumacher's birth on 16th August 2011

2-4 September         Small is Festival at Practical Action

​12 September          British Science Festival ​at the University of Bradford

22-24 September  ​  Legacy of EF Schumacher conference, University of Antwerp

​7-9 October ​             Schumacher Circle centenary conference, Bristol

​7-16 October           Cheltenham Literature Festival

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