Black Mountains College

Ben Rawlence, Director

We started Black Mountains College in response the challenges climate breakdown brings. Climate breakdown is a new era that requires a huge change in how we organise our economies and societies and how we relate to nature.

The kernel of the idea was: what can a place teach you? If we are to interrogate future scenarios, what better place to do it than the beauty and the challenges facing the ecosystems of Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park. Plus, what a lovely place to study? Our aim is to provide training in skills and mindsets for climate adaptation deeply rooted in the landscape of the National Park.

Our Vision

We would like to see material gains in biodiversity, human development and nature recovery in the National Park alongside hundreds of graduates who have helped make those changes as part of their studies. Further, if we can inspire a re-think about what National Parks are for – their founding purpose, to educate and inform and re-connect people to the life support systems of our planet, then we will have succeeded. We believe, in their widest sense, National Parks should be seen as public universities with a civic mission.

We believe that the central challenge has to be how to build sustainable societies within planetary boundaries. This is no small feat, and we believe our students have significant role in finding ways to implement the strategy of Bannau: The Future, and by so doing showcasing our region as beacon for the UK: this is how we can turn the super-tanker of over- consumption and the destruction of nature around.
Ben Rawlence
Director Black Mountains College

Our Action

We will be working with the National Park on work placements, challenge briefs, citizen science and real world to implement change. We will also be attracting students to the Park, to enhance our economy, our culture and to make the Park a destination for innovation in thinking and designing new ways of doing things.

Y Bannau: The Future Is the Manifestation of a Dream.

Which is a key part of our mission and also our offer to students. We hope and expect that students will partly be coming to Black Mountains College in order to play a part in realising this vision, learning from the experience and then going on to make other visions a reality elsewhere.

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