Applied Craftsmanship

BerkShares posters line the hallway of the newly renovated Schumacher Library

In a January 2020 article for Craftsmanship Quarterly, “Could Small Still Be Beautiful?”, Bryce Bauer writes of the continuing influence of economist E. F. Schumacher. In the process he captures the forty-year sweep of the work of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.

An excerpt of his article is reprinted below with permission of the publisher. You can read the full article here and, on The Craftsmanship Initiative’s website, become a follower of the magazine at no fee.

On February 3rd the contractors completed their 10 months of work renovating the Schumacher Center’s Library and Offices. The cleaning crew worked all day on the 4th to make everything sparkle. Then that Thursday it was all hands on deck to move books and archival collections into their new climate controlled environment; unpack dishes and place them on shelves in the new kitchen; wash linens covered in sawdust and set them in order in the two new bathrooms; arrange the librarian’s workspace downstairs; hang paintings; unroll rug, table, and chairs for the video conferencing room; and re-arrange the “big” room upstairs now with more space for convening. Team Schumacher was up to the task, even adding a new flowering jasmine in celebration!

Painters and carpenters from left to right: Dan Ferron, Kealan Rooney, Tim Seddon, Steven Seddon Sr., Bob Hartman, Devon Guy

All just in time for a group of twenty-two persons arriving from around the country on that Friday for a two-day gathering to discuss the cultural roots of the climate crisis and how philanthropists could best engage in creating solutions.

It was a perfect setting for the discussion facilitated by Otto Scharmer and Arthur Zajonc. The conversation moved from inside the library to the walking trails outside and uphill on Jug End Mountain with stunning views across the Berkshire valley. Break out groups found plenty of corners in the stacks of books downstairs, and the office spaces upstairs for one on one conversations.

Gathering in the “big” room at the Schumacher Library

It is a building meant to serve the next forty years of the Schumacher Center’s work. Our thanks to the many friends of the Center that donated to make Bob Swann’s original vision for the building a reality.

Schumacher Center Staff


View more photos of the renovation here.