Aims of the Harmony Institute:
- to critically explore traditional philosophies of Harmony
- to consider how such ideas may be applied in the contemporary world
- to encourage education, support publication, sponsor and organise events, and provide grants and scholarships
The idea that the universe exists as a single whole is fundamental to many ancient philosophies as well as to modern science. This gives rise to the concept that the cosmos exists in a state of Harmony (with a capital ‘H’). In addition, this underpins the belief that human beings can live in Harmony with the wider environment and resonates with many traditions from the East, West, Old and New Worlds. In practice, such ideas have implications in health studies, education, business, architecture, agriculture, conflict resolution and a range of other activities.
If all things are connected then they are also related, and the well-being of one depends on the well-being of another. Such notions can be contextualised within a framework of social justice and equality.
The Director of the Institute is Dr Nicholas Campion. Dr Campion is Principal Lecturer in the Institute of Education and Humanities, Associate Professor of Cosmology in Culture, and editor of the major collection of essays on Harmony, The Harmony Debates: Exploring a practical philosophy for a sustainable future (Lampeter: Sophia Centre Press, 2020).
Our working definition of Harmony has been adopted from David Cadman, one of the University’s Harmony Professors of Practice:
"Harmony is an expression of wholeness, a way of looking at ourselves and the world of which we are part. It’s about connections and relationships. The emotional, intellectual and physical are all connected. We are connected to our environments, both built and natural; and all the parts of our communities and their environments are connected, too. Harmony asks questions about relationship, justice, fairness and respect in economic, social and political relationships. As an integrative discipline it can be expressed in ideas and practice."
(David Cadman 23 May 2017).
If sustainability is dependent on harmony then our task in the University and in the community is to work out what constitutes harmony in practice.
UWTSD staff whose work has contributed to and supported the Harmony Institute as well as wider developments include (in alphabetical order):
Inside and outside the University, the Institute engages in a wide range of activities and academic activities:
- Architecture and the Built Environment
- Business and Entrepreneurship
- Cosmology, especially traditional cosmologies
- Environmental Studies and Sustainability
- Food and Farming
- Health and well-being
- Music and the Performing Arts
- Peace and Social Justice
- Social Justice
- Theology, Study of Religions, and Interfaith Studies
The Institute formally came into being on 1 January 2019, emerging out of work initiated in 2015 by former Welsh Environment Minister Jane Davidson, and taken forward by Dr Nicholas Campion, the Harmony Institute's current director. Central to our mission is the Well-Being of Future Generations Act which requires that:
‘All public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change’.
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act strictly applies only to Wales but sets a global example. It implicitly assumes that all things are connected and that political, social, economic and environmental decisions have wider ramifications now and in the future. This is one of the key ideas associated with Harmony and is also fundamental to the United Nations document, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, issued in 2015, states that:
'We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature’.
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