15/09/2014 - 10:47

School of Life pops up in WA

15/09/2014 - 10:47

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POP philosophy enterprise The School of Life is tentatively considering Perth as its second permanent Australian centre, with a temporary school testing the local waters.

School of Life pops up in WA
POP IN FOR A LOOK: Ande Roestenburg has helped bring School of Life to Perth. Photo: Attila Csaszar

POP philosophy enterprise The School of Life is tentatively considering Perth as its second permanent Australian centre, with a temporary school testing the local waters.

The school was founded in 2008 by philosopher Alain de Botton, and offers $70 three-hour classes on such topics as ‘How to find a job you love’, ‘How to realise your potential’, and ‘How to relate to your family’.

Besides headquarters in London and a Melbourne branch that opened earlier this year, the school has permanent locations in Amsterdam, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

The School of Life Perth director Ande Roestenburg told Business News she set out to bring the institution to Perth after seeing first-hand how it managed to connect culture with everyday concerns.

“It’s a story of a little bit of luck and a lot of enthusiasm,” Ms Roestenburg said.

The luck came when she met The School of Life Australia director Kaj Lofgren at a summit, while the enthusiasm came as she applied her background in social impact, academia and business to help convince the organisation to help her set up a pop-up school in Perth.

“I said ‘I’ll help you make this happen’. I dropped out of my MBA at UWA, I quit my job, my husband had to look after our children, we basically said this is worth doing, bringing to Perth,” she said.

Already the 10-week program has sold out of some classes, and has since been expanded.

Staff from other facilities will join Perth faculty members, with London-based writer Jack Fuller flying in for a week to present three classes on ambition and ethics.

One unique addition to Perth will be a secular sermon on fairness delivered by Julian Burnside QC, with music by John Butler.

“We’re providing a forum where people can actually enjoy learning that’s relevant to them,” Ms Roestenburg said.

“Perth seems to really love the idea.”

Classes will run from September 15 to November 23 in Northbridge, after which a permanent school will be considered.

In the meantime, The School of Life Australia is in the process of becoming accredited as a social and environmental group through certifier B Lab.

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