Back in May I worked on my Holistic Context and mentioned that I was about to officially sign up to make the Applied Diploma in Permaculture Design. And then I didn’t. Honestly, you can sometimes really want to do something, but the conditions aren’t fitting. Over the last months things have fallen into place, I decided to go with my first choice of tutor, and yesterday I finally made the formal administrative payment to Permaculture Association UK.
Primarily, I wasn’t 100% sure whether completing a diploma under the UK system was the right choice – I live in Austria which has its own diploma system and intend to move back to Australia. Interestingly, Australia currently has no national association led diploma, instead a TAFE competency-based diploma and several private institutes offering diploma accreditation 1. I did think long and hard about completing a diploma under the Austrian system, especially as documenting and communicating in German would have been a useful learning process. Generally though completing a diploma in German would have been counterproductive as in the longer term my primary teaching language will always be English.
So it was back again to deciding between the Australian approaches and that which is offered by the Permaculture UK. Australia’s TAFE diploma of permaculture is heavily focused on specific competencies rather than broader systems awareness and the social, educational, holistic and organisational topics which I know will make up a good half of my designs. Working with a private institution like Rowe Morrow’s Blue Mountain’s Permaculture Institute would also be possible, but be relatively unstructured.
All of this thought has been worth it though. I’m lucky enough to be in semi-regular contact with Rosemary Morrow so know that she’ll be an ongoing influence on my work. Additionally I’m going to draw on the TAFE competencies as inspiration and reference points to document my applied diploma with. This should give me the opportunity to get my applied diploma part-recognised within the Australian system and open up the pathway to teach under the TAFE accredited system too.
In the end I returned to the UK offering which is well documented, in ongoing review and with a very clear permaculture design process supporting the diploma system itself. I’m also really excited to be working in a system that is working to explore a broad range of permaculture such as KT Shepherd’s Designing Dying or Cathrine Løvetand’s Universal Tea designs.