How to Build Your Own Utopia with David Bramwell

David Bramwell

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This six-part online course examines the history of Utopia and some of the most fascinating utopian experiments of the modern age, from Christiania to Damanhur. It also explores how you can bring utopian thinking into your everyday life. The writer and presenter is David Bramwell, author of The No9 Bus to Utopia, an account of his year long trip round some of the world’s weirdest communities. As well as the videos, you’ll get access to the tutor’s handy notes and to a forum shared with fellow students. So if you’re looking for something beyond the mundane, conventional and obvious, then join David for his fascinating and at times hilarious journey to utopia.

What’s this course about?

Each episode of How To Build Your Own Utopia explores the history and philosophy of utopianism by featuring a different alternative community still functioning today. These are situated in different parts of the world.

The particular focus will be on how we live: whether that’s alone, in communal houses, cities or communes, and what we can learn in each case.

We will also be attempting to unravel the paradoxical nature of utopian thinking.

Our course offers tools for making meaningful changes in your own life. And, equally importantly, in other people’s lives. And you won’t need a spare million dollars or twenty acres of land to make your life a little more utopian.

Why? What’s missing? What are we looking for?

There are some common themes we’re all searching for: love, a greater sense of connection with others.

Some of us are searching for a more meaningful life. Some battle depression, loneliness, isolation, lack of meaning. Some of us battle with normality.

David Bramwell says: “In 1993, I saw the writer, actor and prankster Ken Campbell give a show where he said he welcomed seekers. I realised I was a seeker.”

This course is for seekers.

Course Outline

Lesson One: Anarchism. David visits Christiania in Copenhagen. 20:49

Lesson Two: Building a Community. David visits Findhorn. 18:35

Lesson Three: Is not getting what you want getting what you want? Reflections on Plato’s Republic followed by a trip to Esalen, the Californian retreat founded by Aldous Huxley. 22:27

Lesson Four: Damanhur. David visits the Italian community who built an underground network of temples in secret. 26.48

Lesson Five: Cities versus intentional communities. Co-housing in Berkeley. 15.56

Lesson Six: Regime change begins at home. How the Zocalo movement helped David change his life. 16:12

About the Tutor

Idler Academy_Talk_David Bramwell

David Bramwell is the creator of the best-selling Cheeky Guide to Brighton, host of Brighton’s long-running salon, the Catalyst Club and singer-songwriter in the band, Oddfellow’s Casino. He is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 3 and 4 and won a Sony Award for his Radio 3 program, The Haunted Moustache. His book, The No9 Bus to Utopia started life as as one man show and has been given as a TED talk.




What you get

Six video lessons totally two hours. 26 pages of printable notes. community forum and direct access to the tutor.


“I stumbled across Dr David Bramwell through a talk on Kraftwerk at the Brighton Fringe in May 2016. He is one of those people who does much to make the world a better place: from his long-running Brighton-based Catalyst Club, to his splendid Odditorium Podcast, and plenty more besides, including the occasional book, such as, The No.9 Bus to Utopia,” Nigeyb


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