The Transrational Peace Educator

Tim Archer, Sep 9, 2019

This July Dr. Hilary Cremin and myself were invited to teach at the University of Innsbruck’s Masters course on Peace and Conflict Studies. This was the second time we have been asked to deliver a two-week course on peace education for this unique master’s programme. This year we decided to try out a curriculum we have been developing at Cambridge that we feel encapsulates a truly transrational approach to peace and education. This approach includes units that focus on the macro levels of violence and peace, such as structures and cultures (Galtung), all the way to the micro and intra levels of the individual, such as inner states of calm and resilience. The curriculum’s aim is to provide participants with both critical theories on the root causes of violence and peace while at the same time supporting them through a process of self-discovery around being peaceful. We hope this course will be used to teach potential educators and facilitators, but that it will also be useful for anyone wanting to explore theories and practices for developing peace.

Being a transrational approach, these units draw from different ways of learning and incorporate approaches found in alternative epistemological worldviews to move beyond the Western over-reliance on rationalism. Our sessions therefore included such topics as embodied approaches to peace, nature-based approaches to peace, and silence, space, and resonance. These approaches are elicitive/ student-led and weave in affective and transpersonal perspectives to complement the more traditional critical and empirical based approaches.

Through the two weeks students were given contemplation time at the end of each day to reflect and journal and begin to synthesize these approaches for their own contexts. These reflections provided the foundation of their assessment essay where they explored particular aspects from the curriculum and weaved in literature and theory through an inquiry-based approach to learning.

The feedback that we received was extremely positive, and it was inspiring to see the personal transformations that emerged in the students . We feel the course was a huge success and hopefully shows the exciting potential it carries. We will continue to develop the course but envisage that it will position the foundations for structuring similar courses in different contexts around the world.

Participants Reflections:

“I’ve learned so much. Thank you”

“Thank you for showing me a path I might walk on in my future.”


David Tim Archer is an Education PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge focusing on masculinities and peace pedagogies. A member of Hughes Hall College, he considers himself a research-practitioner and has worked in both post-war and domestic peacebuilding settings for over 12 years. Tim has a wide range of professional interests from peace education to conflict sensitive systems approaches to peace work and research. He is an experienced education, mediator and restorative practitioner as well as a proponent of alternative epistemological approaches to peace work and research. Tim is currently interested in approaches to engaging men in dialogue about masculinity and peace based on concepts of encountering, resonance and reflexivity. You can connect with him on Linkedin.