Join us at Ruskin Mill College, Nailsworth, in the beautiful Horsley valley, as we celebrate neurodiversity. 

Ruskin Mill Trust and the Hay Festival are delighted to announce a new collaboration – “Celebrating Neurodiversity”. Ruskin Mill is a unique educational charity, inspired in equal measure by Rudolf Steiner and the Arts and Crafts movement, with schools and colleges across England and in Wales. The Hay Festival needs no introduction, respected worldwide as a pre-eminent festival of ideas and literature.

Ruskin Mill and Hay are working together to widen the conversation about autism and neurodiversity. Ruskin Mill exhibited at the Hay Festival in Hay on Wye on 29th and 30th May. We now welcome Hay Festival to Ruskin Mill by hosting our Living Conference at our site in the beautiful Horsley Valley, near Nailsworth in the Cotswolds on 27th and 28th July. 

Ruskin Mill students have a range of needs – many of which arise from autism. Our students also have unique abilities, developed through a curriculum rooted in biodynamic ecology, social enterprise and craft. This curriculum is a powerful educational offer, that we call Practical Skills Therapeutic Education or PSTE. PSTE gives each student the potential to shape their own future, experiencing meaningful relationships with crafts, people and planet.

Hay, Ruskin Mill and our students invite you into the discovery and debate that surrounds the unique world of therapeutic education and autism. For us, education is a process of continual dialogue and development, in partnership with the student and underpinned by research.


Friday 27th July

9 am                      Registration

10 am                    Introduction to Day 1 – Grainne O’Reilly, Principal, Ruskin Mill College

                             “Welcome to my World” – Ruskin Mill students and parents introduce the event

11 am                    Experience Horsley Valley: guided walks to craft workshop venues

11.30 am               Craft workshops with Ruskin Mill students and tutors

1 pm                      Lunch

2.30 pm                 Craft workshops end

3.30 pm                 Discussion Panel – “Nature, Craft & Food as Therapy”

                               Panellists include: Dr. Veneta Cooney - UKELA, Dr David Pearson – Anglia Ruskin University,                                   Matt Briggs – Ruskin Mill Trust

6 pm                      Supper & drinks available

7 pm                      Kate Fox, poetry performance

9 pm                      Close

Saturday 28th July

9 am                      Registration

10 am                    Introduction to Day 2 – Oliver Cheney, Principal, Glasshouse College

                             “How to Raise a Happy Autistic Child” – Jessie Hewitson

                              Ruskin Mill’s perspective - Dr. Peter Grunewald

11 am                    Experience Horsley Valley: guided walks to craft workshop venues

11.30 am               Craft workshops with Ruskin Mill students and tutors

1 pm                      Lunch

2.30 pm                 Craft workshops end

3.30 pm                 Discussion Panel – “Valuing Neuro-diversity in the Public Sphere”

                              Panellists include: Dr. Shaun May – University of Kent & Event Academic in Residence, Jon                                      Adams - Event Artist in Residence, Paul Garnault – Ruskin Mill College

5 pm                      Closing remarks – Aonghus Gordon, Founder and Executive Chair, Ruskin Mill Trust

6 pm                      Supper, music & drinks available

9 pm                      Close


Craft Workshops

A range of craft workshops is on offer, at various sites across the Horsley Valley. They include:

Green woodwork, Iron-age forge, Pewter casting, Pottery, Textiles, Leather work, Basket making, Music, Poetry, Fish farming, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Biodynamic agriculture

The craft workshops allow you to experience Ruskin Mill’s curriculum, working alongside our students and craft tutors. Once you have made your booking we will contact you by email to confirm your choice of craft activities. Bookings will be offered on a “first come, first served” basis. While we will endeavour to offer you your first or second choice, we can’t make any guarantees.

We look forward to welcoming you to [email protected] Mill!

Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

Full Conference

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Friday Only

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Saturday Only

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