Summer Schools

The OMC is delighted to offer an annual Summer School, held in Oxford. It is a vital part of the life of the centre, developing the field, sharing new knowledge and building community.

The summer school provides opportunities to:

  • Explore the state of MBCT field
  • Stimulate your understanding of MBCT
  • Learn about latest research you need
  • Connect with the international MBCT community
  • Practice mindfulness

It explores and reflects on questions such as:

  • What will support sustainable development of this field?
  • What are the key messages for mindfulness teachers in MBCT research?
  • How can we best reach and serve the people who might benefit?
  • How can each of us nourish and sustain our practice?
  • Where to next for the field?

Participant Feedback from the 2016 Summer School:

“A real sense of community developed throughout the week”“The opportunity to meet scholars, get together with colleagues from around the world and tune in back to self-practice”; “The soothing meditations dotted throughout the fairly intense days. They helped keep us grounded and yet on the ball to soak up the exquisitely prepared and presented sessions.”

Summer School 2017

28th August – 1st September



Investigating Mind without Losing Heart: Mindfulness, Fragility and Compassion

With Mark Williams, Melanie Fennell, Chris Cullen & Willem Kuyken

This year’s Summer School programme will be held in the delightful surroundings of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. Led by Mark, Willem, Chris and Melanie, the week will be an opportunity to learn from some of the worlds’ leading mindfulness experts, but to also grow your own community of mindfulness practitioners, teachers and trainers from around the world.

People attend the Summer School for a whole host of reasons, including professional and personal development; for connection and community; to hear about the field’s latest developments; and to deepen or refresh their own mindfulness practice amidst like-minded people in a wonderful setting.

“The speakers were exceptional, they were able to make difficult and complex ideas, theories and research accessible and entertaining. Inspirational. ”

The Summer School’s theme and curriculum takes all participants on the same journey of learning. This allows discussion over the week to focus on several key themes, and the exploration of these themes to deepen day by day.

This year’s theme is ‘Mindfulness, Fragility and Compassion’. Our fragile sense of self emerges in the realm of thought, feeling, meaning and bodily sensations – a dynamic, unfolding moment-by-moment process which can be met and healed with mindfulness and compassion. In these moments there is vulnerability and resilience; the potential for appreciation, joy, connection and love, but also dis-ease, distress and mental health problems such as depression and even suicidality.

“One of the most emotionally and intellectually nourishing experiences I have had in a long time.”

The 2017 Summer School brings together leading mindfulness practitioners and researchers to explore how mindfulness can influence the mind’s ability to create great joy and also great distress:

Mark Williams, founding Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and retired Wellcome Principal Research Fellow in the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry, will discuss the interplay between mindfulness and psychological science as well as what research from the last thirty years reveals about the way the summaries we create influence the way we remember our past and predict the future, and how well we recover from emotional upsets.

Melanie Fennell, a clinical psychologist specialising in practicing and training cognitive-behaviour therapy and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, who has developed and led University Diploma and Master’s Courses in both, will consider with Mark Williams how the original MBCT course might be adapted to meet the needs of very vulnerable participants with histories of abuse and adversity, or suffering intense distress.

Chris Cullen, who works part-time as an MBCT teacher and trainer for the OMC, teaches Insight Meditation retreats in the UK, US and mainland Europe, and has a psychotherapy practice in Oxford, will consider Buddhist understandings of self and not-self, and how these might inform contemporary practice and teaching of Mindfulness-Based Approaches.

Willem Kuyken, current OMC Director and leader of the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre research group, will explore the nature of compassion, how it is understood in evolution and animal behaviour, whether it can be trained and if so, how is it trained in mindfulness-based programmes?

Each session begins with a period of mindfulness practice and enquiry and one of the days is devoted to silent practice.

The week will end with our popular workshop styled event, the ‘World Café’. A panel and the participants will discuss the key themes and questions raised over the course of the week in a collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action.

“I remember ending the week feeling very energised and inspired.”

Full 2017 programme

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Summer School 2016

Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale: A day of talks, dialogue and discussion with the developers of MBCT, who came together for the first time in ten years

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Summer School 2015

This five-day Summer School was held in the beautiful city of Oxford, offering a chance both to deepen the practice of mindfulness and broaden our reflection on its place in the world as a source of wisdom and healing.

Find out more