The Small is Beautiful festival comes to CAT in 2015!

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The Small is Beautiful festival comes to CAT in 2015!

Do you ever feel like trying to change the world is a bit of a hard slog? That there are so many things to be angry about, and to try to change, that it gets a bit exhausting and even starts to feel impossible?

Karambu Ringera Well, we feel the same! Which is why we are happy to welcome the Small is Beautiful festival – to be held at CAT for the first time this year:  getting a bunch of people together to share the positive, practical things they are doing to change the world is just what we all need to refresh our spirits and remind us why we care in the first place.

The Small is Beautiful festival is a colourful, hands-on, weekend celebration of the ideas of radical economist E. F. Schumacher, who wrote the groundbreaking book of that name. It blends small-scale technology use, ideas from international development and new economics with the arts through lectures, debates, workshops, music and installations. The festival aims to ignite imaginations and unlock positive responses to our future in a fun and creative environment.

Since its first year in 2009, the festival has been run in partnership with international development charities Practical Action and Engineers without Borders UK. Historically, the festival was held in rural Warwickshire, but in 2014 moved to the fantastic St. George’s Concert Hall in Bristol. Almost entirely run by volunteers, the success of the festival is the result of the hard work of dozens of professionals, students, academics and practitioners, who collectively donate their time to showcase the latest thinking and technology in sectors such as international development, sustainability and social change.

If you are joining us – and we hope you are – you can look forward to a full programme of expert presentations, discussions, workshops and dancing into the night. In 2015, we will be drawing inspiration from CAT’s flagship Zero Carbon Britain report, as well as the global climate negotiations in Paris in December for our programming. We will focus on three key strands: Energy, Food and Agriculture, and the Economy, and will be tackling the key issue of how to actually make change happen.

The festival has previously welcomed Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind-up radio, Green MEP Molly Scott-Cato, Kenyan peace activist Karambu Ringera, and Polly Higgins, environmental lawyer and all-round inspiring person. Technologies available for people to try in workshops vary widely: from the low-tech wonders of the world, such as basic water pumps and traditional mud brick making, to 3D printing and how to generate energy from wind, water and the sun, not to forget the ever-popular spoon carving! Kids are catered for in child-friendly workshops so it is a weekend that the whole family can enjoy.

When the Small Is Beautiful festival organisers came to CAT last October to have a look around, they  knew they had found their new home. The historical links to Schumacher and sustainable technologies, the incredibly beautiful setting and the sheer enthusiasm of the staff means that September 4th-6th can’t come soon enough for us, and we can’t wait to welcome you all as well!

The Small is BeautiCampfireful festival will take place from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th September 2015 at CAT. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website:

If you have a workshop or piece of research you would like to share, or to ask any questions, please email and don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for regular updates: & @smallisfestival