Shoshin College is an experimental   learning experimental learning co‑operative

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In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something.

We will announce our first courses during the summer. They will take place in east London in October to December 2024.

Learning With Us

Shoshin College is an experimental learning co-operative that’s positioning itself outside of the existing way of how learning and teaching works.

Universal. We embrace all domains and disciplines and invite everyone to teach and learn, regardless of background.

Inclusive. We believe in high quality work but also that anyone can do high quality work. We do not exclude people because of the quality of their work. We include them because we want them to improve.

In-person. There is tons of online learning material. What’s missing is humane interactions in a community of people.

Ever-fluctuating. We embrace iteration and invite change alongside experimentation and impermanence.

Unaccredited. We are trying something new and in order to explore it, we need not be tied down by the existing ways of how learning works today.

High quality. We could succeed in starting a learning institution but what’s interesting is to make it high quality and more importantly: higher quality than the current way of learning institutions.

Low-cost. Wealth inequality contributes to a decreasing average quality of life for the Western resident. We are not interested in adding to this.

london landmark
We offer in-person classes in London

Beginners Forever

Shoshin is the concept of beginner’s mind in Zen Buddhism. A beginner’s mind is open to all possibilities and thus capable of better learning. In the beginner’s mind there is no sense of internal achievement. Instead, there is curiosity to understand. In the beginner’s mind there is no judgement: there is no preconception of how things should be — thus there can be no judgement.

The book that introduced this concept to the West is Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, written in 1970 by Shunryū Suzuki, the founder of San Francisco Zen Center and a key figure in Western Buddhism.

The concept of shoshin — beginner’s mind — is the foundation of Shoshin College.

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We will announce our first courses during the summer. They will take place in east London in October to December 2024.

Our Values

Even if our new college has a specific location that not everyone can attend or a fee that not everyone can pay, we still aim to be inclusive and welcome as many people as possible.
We are fascinated by craft, by art, by high aesthetics, and high quality. We aim to become better at what we do. We don’t expect us to already be good, only to want to become better.
It might seem that seriousness is fundamental to high quality work and learning but it might be the opposite that’s true. Playfulness and humour is not only how we can laugh at ourselves and notice (and accept) our unavoidable defects but it is also how we can just have fun.
Deals and transactions are a fair way to work by making sure everybody is respected. We value and deeply utilise fair exchanges in how we work. But, many times, the unexpected joy of a gift feels superior.
We aspire for democratic principles in governance, administration, organisation. We value consent and consensus and we disallow ourselves from taking actions that will cause pain to someone. We also aspire for democracy in the frame of knowledge. We have no interest in a teacher providing an expert’s final judgement on matters. Instead: may there be debate amongst everyone, one which results in everyone understanding the other’s position.
What’s the point of a learning institution unless we are curious to explore the unknown? Whether it’s unknown to us or to everyone is irrelevant.
Being together, learning together, collaborating together, celebrating together. We know we can do a lot alone; we are excited for what we can do collectively. We know we can make things for ourselves; we are excited to make things for everyone — in the service of the advancement of the commons.