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The Edward Carpenter Community
For men who love men

Telling Our Stories (CANCELLED)

Laurieston Hall, Castle Douglas Scotland

Sat 13th to Sat 20th June 2020

This event has already happened
CORONAVIRUS: Sorry, this event has had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions. Please read our latest coronavirus update.

Life is a story

Encouraging an atmosphere of trust, mutual support and the sharing in each other’s lives is at the heart of the Edward Carpenter Community. One of the ways we do this is to tell and share stories about our lives, to speak about the lives of those who are important to us. We tell stories to one another from our pasts and we pass down stories from generations and cultures that have gone before. Telling our stories is so important.

Teachers, politicians, historians, anthropologists and parents, to name a few, tell us that storytelling is at the centre of human interaction and existence. Story telling is something that is recognised in every culture. It involves a mutual exchange between listener and teller and we begin to develop our story telling and listening skills in our early childhood.

Our brains recognise and process patterns in the visual forms of nature – a face, a figure, a flower – and in sound. Similarly, it recognises patterns in information. Stories contain patterns of information, and in those patterns we find meaning. When we share stories we both convey and interpret our understanding of our lives and the world in which we live. Alongside this we can at times tell our stories with elements of 'wishfulness', or even 'deception' contained in them, describing the lives we would like to have lived, or be living.

This themed event is dedicated to exploring and sharing our own stories in fresh and new ways. This event takes place in the much loved Laurieston Hall, ECC’s spiritual home for over 30 years.

Through a programme of story telling workshops and activities , we hope participants will gain a deeper insight into their personal and shared worlds. Our story telling is necessary to maintaining positive relationships, and is essential for wellness and positive personal growth. We will seek to gain greater awareness of the meanings and the importance we attach to events and beliefs that our lives are built upon.

The event will be a focused, retreat week housed in the magical spaces offered to us at Laurieston Hall – a rambling country house with acres of grounds including extensive woodland, kitchen gardens, a loch for swimming and a woodland sauna. We offer a series of core workshops and activities exploring the main theme, and we would like everyone to fully engage with these elements which will happen each morning. There will be opportunities for participants to offer their own workshops and activities, and ample time for socialising, small group discussions or solitary contemplation.

As usual, there will be base groups – small groups of 5 or 6 men who meet daily to support one another, and to explore some of the week’s themes in a more intimate space. There will also be a daily heart circle for those who prefer it. Across three of the evenings there will be dancing, an auction (raising funds to help ECC members on low incomes to attend events) and some home made entertainment.

In recent times Laurieston Hall residents have made changes to the ways they offer hospitality. We will be organising our own catering. Participants will be expected to spend some scheduled time helping in the kitchens, clearing up and helping to maintain the shared space. There are three meals per day, and all food will be vegetarian. We can accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets but please speak to us before booking if you have any other dietary requirements. Accommodation will be in shared rooms of up to 8 beds.

The Organisers

Your organisers are Mike Kaye, Stephen Messinger, Shaun Kent and Imran Riaz

Mike Kaye
Stephen Messinger
Shaun Kent
Imran Riaz

Mike has been a member of ECC for many years. He is an experienced event organiser and along with Imran and Stephen, he organised ‘Connections’, the themed event at Laurieston in 2019.

Stephen joined ECC in 2016. Outside ECC he has organised local and national conferences. Along with Imran and Mike he organised ‘Connections’, the themed event at Laurieston in 2019.

Shaun has been a member of ECC for many years and is an experienced event organiser. He was an organiser of the ECC event at Kench Hill in 2019.

Imran joined ECC recently. He is an experienced cook who, together with external caterers, will be providing a range of western and eastern meals. He provided catering at ‘Connections’, the themed event at Laurieston in 2019.

For booking enquiries please contact Shaun tneks [at], or 020 8673 3471

For more information about the event please contact Mike 07984 148203, or Stephen stephen.messinger [at]

Essential Information

Venue: Laurieston Hall, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire DG7 2NB

Dates: Saturday 13th to Saturday 20th June 2020

Accommodation: Shared rooms with mostly 4 to 8 beds, communal bathrooms. Participants may also bring their own tents and camp in the grounds.

Accessibility: The building and grounds are mostly accessible but can present some challenges. There is a some sleeping accommodation and a disabled bathroom on the ground floor.

Travel: Nearest railway station is Dumfries (25 miles). Frequent buses from Carlisle or Dumfries to Castle Douglas (7 miles) and occasional buses to the bottom of the drive. Most people get a taxi from Castle Douglas if not driving, or we may be able to arrange pickups.

Arrival / departure: Please don't arrive before 4pm on Saturday 13th June. Depart by 11am on Saturday 20th June.

Nearest shops: In Castle Douglas, about 7 miles away.

Places: The event will be limited to 40 men and about one third of places will be reserved for newcomers until 1st May 2020.

Full joining instructions will be available nearer the start date.

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