Coming 2024: The Twelfth Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum

Coming 2024: The Twelfth Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum

We are pleased to also share here the following announcement from the Goetheanum leadership regarding the future development of our field of work within the School of Spiritual Science. We will provide information on the next steps here in the course of the coming year as well.

Anthroposophical social therapy, curative education, assistance for people with support needs, and inclusive social development have been represented by the Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development (until 2018 Curative Education and Social Therapy Council), affiliated with the Medical Section, since 1979.

The Council works closely with the worldwide network of anthroposophical organizations and colleagues in the field. Approaching the centenary of anthroposophical curative education and social therapy, the Goetheanum leadership and those responsible for this field of work agreed in the fall of 2022 to work toward the founding of a dedicated (twelfth) Section in 2024. This decision was made at the summer retreat of the Goetheanum leadership. This twelfth independent field of anthroposophical work will bear the name “Section for Inclusive Social Development”, and in German: “Sektion für Heilpädagogik und inklusive soziale Entwicklung”.

With this name, the responsible stakeholders are linking to the professional profile of “Heilpädagogik” established in Central Europe while taking into account the interdisciplinary breadth of the field of work. It unites pedagogical, social, therapeutic, artistic and other professional approaches that are committed to creating participatory and inclusive social spaces. What makes the choice of name challenging is that these fields of work are understood and referred to in many different ways internationally. The current leadership team of the Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development, consisting of Jan Göschel, Bart Vanmechelen, and Sonja Zausch, will continue to be responsible for the work of the Section as the leading Section Collegium. Jan Göschel was appointed as future Head of Section and member of the Goetheanum leadership. The actual founding of the Section is planned to take place during the international conference in October 2024 together with colleagues from all over the world.

Original publication: Das Goetheanum, 17. August 2023

Integration into the School of Spiritual Science

Article from: Anthroposophy worldwide, 29 August 2023

Sebastian Jüngel and the Leadership Team of the Council: Jan Göschel, Bart Vanmechelen and Sonja Zausch

In his Curative Education Course, Rudolf Steiner calls for the collaboration of the Sections of the School of Spiritual Science. This will be easier for this professional field once it has its own section.

Sebastian Jüngel The Council for Curative Education and Social Therapy, founded in 1979 became the Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development in 2018. Both were part of the Medical Section. Why did you seek independence – as a separate section?

Team The need to be a separate Section for Inclusive Social Development has on the one hand to do with a process of growing independence after a hundred years, on the other hand with the intention of uniting our field of work more closely with the centre of the School and all the Sections. Our aim is therefore essentially to include what is being developed in our field – supporting people in need of assistance – into the development of the School and to strengthen our transdisciplinary collaboration with all sections.

The Medical Section will remain an important partner for us. However, the new situation will reflect more clearly that our work is not of a medical nature but about human development and the shaping of social spaces, and that it is actually drawing to various extents from all the sections – education, social science, agriculture, the arts and so on.

Gesture of validation

JüngelThe team will remain the same, with the three of you forming the section faculty and Jan Göschel as head of Section becoming part of the Goetheanum Leadership. What will change as a result of the new status as a section in its own right?

Team That is a question that can only be answered in the future. We really don’t know yet. The founding of the Section in October 2024 will take place as part of our International Conference, when we will also celebrate the centenary of Rudolf Steiner’s Curative Education Course with our colleagues from all over the world. It is a metamorphosis, an organic step forward, with which our current professional configuration will enter a new biographical phase within the School of Spiritual Science. What is very clear even now is that this path into the heart of the School is experienced as a gesture of validation by our colleagues, an energizing gesture that inspires enthusiasm.

JüngelThere are already associations in your field of work. As with the other sections within the School of Spiritual science, the question is who you speak for, what you will work for?

Team We are part of a relatively wide network of organizations and co-workers within a complex and diverse field of practice. As a section of the School it is our task to facilitate spiritual-scientific research that can become effective in our professional sphere and that can promote our work as a contribution to important social and other relevant questions of our time.

Research is meant in a wider sense here, not as something purely academic. There are two central questions: How can we support individual developmental and life paths from early childhood to an advanced age so that a successful biography is possible, even under complex conditions? And how can we shape community and society so that everyone can participate in them?

This we can only discover if we do research together, if we can create a living connection across all levels, from an inner path of development and a view of the human being that has been deepened by spiritual science down to the practical concerns that are often in the foreground in the everyday work situation, and the framework conditions that inform this work. Our key task is to do this in a way that enables an ongoing and collegially carried dynamic of knowledge and development.

The art of relationship

JüngelWhat tasks lie ahead for you?

Team In our view, the concrete tasks arising from the new status are not really new: conferences, publications, collegial exchange, travelling, spaces for working on profession-related esoteric questions, training opportunities – all that will continue as before. What will be new is the integration of all this in the wider context of the School of Spiritual Science as a whole and making more intensive use of the new opportunities arising from the broader collaboration with colleagues from other sections and professions. It also means sharing responsibility for the School of Spiritual Science and for the Goetheanum.

JüngelHow will you approach the centenary in 2024 of the anthroposophical curative education and social therapy impulse?

Team We would like to honour the founding impulse that in our view still carries future potential that has not at all been exhausted yet. This includes, for example, an understanding of our tasks based on an ‘art of relationship’ and an extended view of aspects of human development often described as ‘embodiment’ today. There is also the prospect of a new edition of the Curative Education Course that will give the underlying text a secure footing, and of a companion volume that will unlock and contextualize important aspects of the text, making them accessible for deepened study.

And then, of course, we want to focus on the question: What does the world need from us today? And in the years to come? What can we offer, and how must we develop to be able to respond to new, also unexpected, conditions and make an effective contribution? There we see, among other things, major global challenges that affect the conditions under which children and young people find their way into their own physicality and biography; and the will to shape an ‘inclusive’ society, without often really knowing clearly what that might mean and how it can be achieved.

It is becoming increasingly clear that outer change, social transformation, is not possible without inner change. We would like to make use of the wealth of experience from 100 years of lived practice, reflect on it and put it into a form that can flow into today’s dynamics so that it can continue to develop without the source running dry.

Getting into a flow – making healing possible

JüngelIs there a humorous side to your professional field?

Team Nothing is possible without humour. We keep trying to arrange things humourlessly. One can try this, but it doesn’t work in the long term. Anyone who ever worked in our field knows that, including the young volunteers who are with us for short periods of time.

We could share a lot of anecdotes about situations where something just didn’t go the way one would rationally or habitually expect. They can be very small things where a humorous aspect lights up. In ancient medicine the term ‘humour’ meant a fluid, where something starts flowing, in other words making healing possible, which applies to the social sphere, too.

Cynicism, which is sometimes seen as a form of humour, is the opposite; it has a disparaging, hardening gesture. Awareness of this is also sharpened in our work. When there is humour, our humanity shines through and becomes newly visible.

We hope and expect that we will also have fun in the School, in the Goetheanum Leadership and in the Goetheanum in general. We will join in by making cheerful, positive and unexpected meetings possible. Surprises! One always needs to expect the unimaginable!