Peritia School of Self-sufficiency and Arts
Peritia School of Self-sufficiency and Arts is a non-profit, informal school of arts and self-sufficiency skills. It will be located in rural NSW, where all participants learn, and also teach. Peritia School participants are referred to as members, since they are both students, teachers, and optionally also involved in the organisation and administration of the school (voluntarily).
The school will begin operating in 2018, shortly after reaching a minimum of 200 members. Instead of tuition fees, the school has a membership, which consists of a one-time payment of AU$10,000, and grants access to the school for as long as the school will operate, which is committed to be a minimum of two years. Fees are non-refundable, but are transferable for up to two years from the date of the payment. The membership fee will be spent entirely on school expenses such as raw materials for the courses, equipment, operating essentials, etc, so no profit will be made from membership fees (the school is a non-profit organisation). The school will continue to operate for as long as there's sufficient participation, and in the event of closure, proceeds from sales of land and goods will be refunded to current participants evenly and proportional to the promised minimum 2-year term, and any remaining monies will be donated to charity.
All courses in Peritia are sanctioned by and assisted with by a team of course coordinators. Whilst the school keeps track of all courses taken and level achieved, courses are intended to be informal and do not extend any formal qualifications. Trainers are motivated by personal mastery, sharing their knowledge, collaboration, and supporting others. Trainers and the school work together to design the courses for maximum impact, safety and quality, define the class size limits, terms for participation, and minimum requirements and course dependencies.
The school's online system provides a simple way for trainers to define and follow-up on the courses, applications, participants, scheduling, etc, and for members to easily apply for courses, keep track on their schedule, and access course information such as background, terms, dependencies, trainer and participants' profiles, relevant material, etc.
In Peritia school there are no teachers and students, but rather school members act both as course trainers, coordinators or assistants, and as course participants. To register in courses, members are required to provide one or more courses in areas of their choice with at least of one participant, or, alternatively, participate in courses that assist with school maintenance tasks. This way, in the school everybody learns, and everybody teaches.
The school itself is to be made through courses in sustainable building methods, a variety of gardening and horticulture systems, crafts, and visual arts. The premises of the school will be built and expanded by the school members over time, allowing the school to grow and mature, providing at the same time skills and hands-on experience. Participants in the school will be free to create, expand and modify the premises to suit their vision, curiosity, and artistic expression.
The school enables its members to use their own expertise in areas associated with sustainable-living skills and art, to train others in exchange for receiving similar training from others. Members design the courses with the aid and guidelines of the school's Course Coordination Team to ensure they're structured in compliance with the school's safety and quality standards, and in line with the school's philosophy and ethics. Trainers are not paid for training, and the membership fee entitles members to attend any courses. All courses must be related to, or support, sustainable-living or arts, as exemplified in the following sections.
Courses related to self-sufficiency (sustainable living) include:
- Growing food
- Promoting health (physical, emotional, interpersonal)
- Building and furniture construction and woodworking
- Clothing and fabric making (sewing, building and operating looms, creating fibres)
- Electric - 12V (e.g. lighting, motors)
- Chemistry (e.g. food, cleaning products, combustibles)
- Mining and recycling
- Metalsmith and toolmaking
- Engine and automotive mechanics
Courses related to arts include:
- Visual arts (e.g. painting, sculpture, printing, photography, 3D modelling and animation)
- Performing arts (e.g. theatre, film, juggling, circus)
- Literature (e.g. fiction, journalism)
- Music (e.g. composing, playing instruments, crafting instruments, mixing)
- Physical/spiritual and martial arts (e.g. kung fu, tai-chi, yoga)
- Health related (e.g. nutrition, massage, psychotherapy)
- Crafts (e.g. ceramics, woodworks, glassmaking)
- Cooking and food preparation
 Multidisciplinary courses
The design of each course will aim at developing multiple skills and training simultaneously, and encourage taking other beneficial and related courses. For example:
- Some farming courses (such as permaculture) will be co-designed with:
- fitness trainers, to exercise specific groups of muscles in a safe and effective manner while developing farming skills
- nutritionists, to understand the relationship between farming effort and nutritional output
- related courses such as woodworks and metalsmith provide training in crafting some the farming equipment used, or chemistry, for manufacturing fertilisers
- Some sustainable building courses will be co-designed with:
- fitness trainers, to exercise specific groups of muscles in a safe and effective manner while developing sustainable building skills
- crafts and visual arts trainers, to ensure everything built is also beautiful and artistic
- related courses such as open source hardware and construction kits, chemistry, and mechanics, to understand construction equipment and construction material properties
- chemistry courses will be co-designed with:
- farming trainers, to produce fertilisers, to learn to test and monitor soil conditions and characteristics, and use farming output as raw materials for a diverse range of essentials
- food production trainers, to learn to produce yeast and algae, and process produce into ingredients such as starch and essences
- woodworking and mining courses, to learn to process wood and ore
- related courses such as glassmaking and metalsmith, to learn to produce equipment used
- energy production courses will be co-designed with:
- woodwork and metalsmith trainers, to ensure the ability for self-sufficiency is maximised
- construction trainers, to ensure that the techniques for building supporting structures is also applicable to housing and furniture making
- related courses such as mechanics, to understand the correlation and conversion between energy and kinetics (motion), and chemistry to understand how energy is stored in batteries
 Communal and sustainable living
During participation in the courses, the participants are invited and encouraged stay in the premises. The length of the stay will be defined by NSW housing regulations and at the time of this writing is not well defined, but will aim for allowing participants to stay during most of their paid term. During their stay, participants will:
- learn a variety of the kind of skills that will make a difference, especially around areas of sustainable living and art
- train freely and at their own pace, with individualised courses adjusted for personal skills, difficulties, and interests
- co-habitate with like-minded individuals, in an environment that will promote long-lasting friendships
- be nourished by fresh and abundant organic food
- live in an unpolluted environment, designed for maximum sustainability and aimed at overall zero or negative environmental degradation
- experience a lifestyle absent of trading, employment, consumerism, civic duties, monitoring by authorities, privilege, etc.
- gifting the world by advancing open source software and hardware projects, and producing creative commons artworks
 School values and Terms and Conditions
The school is open for anyone residing legally in Australia, pays for the fees, and agrees to the school's Terms & Conditions. The school has values and principles that are unique and may not sit well with an applicant. It is therefore essential for applicants to understand what the school stands for, and agree to comply with the terms. The school doesn't require applicants to agree wholeheartedly with its principles and values, but it does require applicants to understand them and be willing to play well with these, and with the other participants. One of the principles of the school is workability, and this is something every participant must strive for in relation to their integration to the school and the community of participants.
 Resource-based Economic Model
Peritia seeks to function under a local, Minimalist Resource-based Economy (MRBE), which is a minimalist version of the Resource-based Economic Model promoted by The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement. RBE is defined as a holistic socioeconomic system with the following goals:
- Use of intelligent management of resources (rather than politics and opinion-based decision making)
- Promote peace through collaboration (rather than competition) and prioritising the satisfaction of everyone's needs (rather than targeting wants and desires)
- Promote social equality through transcending privilege, a need for property/ownership, and towards universal access
- Sustainability through focus on the four domains of Health: individual, interpersonal, social, and environmental, as understood by science (fitness and nutrition, psychology, sociology, and biology and ecology)
As a holistic socioeconomic system, RBEM is concerned with any decision-making that impacts the whole community, such as the allocation of shared resources, and the design and implementation of policies that maintain workability and fairness throughout the community. The Minimalist version is a low-tech, self-funded, hands-on and common-sense approach to the ideal RBEM, that can be implemented on new small-to-medium communities on a low-budget. The following are some key-points of MRBE:
- No trade of goods and services, and no paid work: money serves no purpose within the community
- No contractual obligations: all agreements are by word, and non-binding
- Ownership is limited to personal items
- Community work is performed on a voluntary basis, out of a sense of social responsibility and willingness to be of service
- Decisions involving shared resources are, whenever possible, made via a combination of
- sociocracy: democracy is direct, and extend exclusively to areas of direct involvement or where being directly impacted by
- intelligent management: solutions are weighed and compared for performance in RBEM's principles (sustainability, fairness, health, etc) and the community's defined goals (e.g. maximise art production)
- scientific and empirical: costs, benefits and predictions are derived from real-world measurements and the application of scientific principles (rather than opinion, preferences, tradition, and cultural values)
 Hacker ethic
The hacker ethic is a term for the moral values and philosophy commonly shared among contributors to open source software and hardware. The key points within this ethic are access, freedom of information, and improvement to quality of life.
Peritia school aligns with the hacker ethic, and is not only not for profit, but tries to ensure that the school will assist with and advance open-source software and hardware projects, such as GNU/Linux, Wordpress, MediaWiki/Wikipedia, Open Source Ecology, RepRap, WikiHouse, etc. It is a requirement that all artworks produced within the school be shared with a Creative Commons license, and that similar works are privileged for consumption (i.e. using open source software rather than proprietary software in the school's administration, computer courses, etc; and consuming Creative Commons or other types of Public license artworks such as films, music/scores, literature/plays, etc).
 Autonomy and Responsibility
 To Do
 External Links
Other projects that are a source of inspiration for Peritia:
Resources for courses: