Vérčne Nicolas

Inner Resources for Social Change

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Biography

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I started to facilitate training events and retreats whilst working with the Centre for Human Ecology (CHE) in Edinburgh between 1997 and 2005. At the time I was also teaching on the Master’s course in Human Ecology and was engaging with various communities across Scotland.

I am originally from France and grew up in francophone Africa.

In France, I studied agriculture and the economics and practice of rural development. In 1996 and whilst working in Dublin (Ireland), I came across popular education and the ideas of Paulo Freire via “Training for Transformation”. This nourished my passion to work with real people in real places and led me to a hands-on practice of nonviolence, dialogue, transformative learning and community organising. 

In 2009, I moved to Govan (Glasgow) with my husband, author and activist Alastair McIntosh. We wanted to be closer to the GalGael trust, an organisation that works with society’s most vulnerable people. At that time, I became the coordinator of the human ecology course that had moved to Strathclyde University (and taught in partnership with the CHE). Our course departed from mainstream academia. It was a vibrant experiment in radical learning with its ‘head, heart and hand’ pedagogy – ‘head’ for the rigour of intellectual knowledge; ‘heart’ for emotional and spiritual awakening; and ‘hand’ for the skills, methodologies, and practical initiatives for change. Students described it as a life-changing experience.

For various reasons the master’s course was closed in 2009 and this led me to engage more intently in the fields of individual, organisational and community renewal. I now work on a self-employed or voluntary basis and focus my practice around supporting individual leaders, teams and organisations.

I am passionate about life, love being in nature as well as caring for living beings in my life, be they plants, animals or human beings. I practice yoga, Biodanza and meditation. I am a Quaker and a member of Glasgow Meeting. I am also part of the Centre for Nonviolent Communication as one of its Certified trainers.

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