Charlotte Du Cann: a working life

Born: London, 1956
Education: English Lit and Lang (Birmingham University)
Tel: 01502 722419

I've worked as a writer and editor, most of my life. Presently, a co-director of  The Dark Mountain Project, a teacher of collaborative writing and reconnection with the Earth; writing book about myth and the lexicon of change..


Publishing : PRESENT online editor and editor/ art editor for Dark Mountain: Issues 5-17 (excl 12 and 15) and Walking on Lava (Chelsea Green), PAST 10 non-fiction books ranging from style guides (Vogue’s Modern Style) and travel books about downshifting (Reality is the Bug That Bit Me in the Galapagos), from essays on food and society (Offal and the New Brutalism) to explorations into the relationship between the Earth and imagination (52 Flowers That Shook My World - A Radical Return to Earth). Editor on Playing for Time - Making Art as if the World Mattered (author Lucy Neal). 

Journalism: PRESENT: Essays on Dark Mountain online, including series on mythology and food in times of breakdown. PAST: Journalist and editor for 12 years in newspapers and magazines, specialising in lifestyle and the shift of cultural values – art, design, fashion, houses, food, travel. Publications include The Independent, The Observer, Harpers & Queen, New Statesman. More recently: columnist for the Eastern Daily Press  (OneWorldColumn), EarthLines (Life in Transition). editor of the grassroots newspaper, Transition Free Press. Freelance articles for the Guardian and Bella Caledonia. 

Events and performance PRESENT: one of the KAIROS COLLECTIVE;  writer of own shows Divesting for Beginners (Reading) and The Red Thread (Glasgow, Germany); curator for Dark Mountain events/launches. PAST: worked as stylist/creative director with photographic teams for 12 years; in press and publicity for arts and environmental organisations; as theatre/gallery manager for local arts centre. Organiser of community projects and events, including weekly film programme, botanical exhibitions (Southwold Museum), community garden. Festivals: Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Transition Conference (media team) and Uncivilisation (curator). 

Talks and teaching: PRESENT: courses on collaborative writing and creative non fiction (Arvon, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Dark Mountain). Talks and workshops on art and culture in times of crisis, reconnection to the Earth (Schumacher Collage, Uppsala University,  Ry Højskolem, Under Her Eye conference, Human/Nature/Stories, School of the Wild), plant medicine, mythology, cultural shift. PAST: grassroots journalism, community activism, inner work, powerdown.

II RESUME 1978-2013

1978-1990 Work in mainstream media.

1978 Begin work as editorial assistant on magazine for Puffin Books.
1979 Vogue magazine talent contest winner. Consequently became an in-house writer and shopping editor.
1981-4 Freelance and contract work as features writer and creative director, including Children’s Editor (Sunday Express magazine), Design Editor (Observer magazine), Art and Crafts Editor (World of Interiors), Style correspondent (Harper’s & Queen). Stylist for  photographic shoots portraits, houses, food, fashion, travel. Write books, including Vogue's Modern Style (Century) and essays on the culture of food, Offal and the New Brutalism (Heinemann).
1984 Write experimental memoir, Troy, in Italy.
1985-8 Beauty editor for Tatler. Food and Design editor for ELLE (also features writer – travel, interviews with artists and writers). Freelance articles for publications ranging from Sunday Times to New Statesman.
1989-90 Fashion editor for The Independent.
1991 Commissioned to write Reality is the Bug that Bit me in the Galapagos (HarperCollins). Consequently leave London to travel, write and perform.


1991- 2001 Travel throughout Central, South and North America, Australia, Europe, investigating the creative partnership between human beings and the wild territories of the Earth. Work as a writer and performer in collaborative creative projects.

1994 Publication of Reality.
1996 Found Volcano Books and publish The Raven Flies Upside Down (writer/illustrator); Solarr’s Keys, Beyond Zipolite (editor)
1998 Begin inquiry into the nature of dreams and relationship between plants and the human imagination (The Dreaming Practice, Plant Communications, Earth Medicine Show)
2000-1 Work in the desert of Arizona with wild medicinal plants (The Snake Sequence, The Speaking Bush)

2002-07 Collate work for a trilogy of books on communication (practice and inquiry) with the more than-human world.

2004  Wild Flower Collective at the Southwold Museum. Manager/press officer for The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth.
2005-6 Vol 1: The Earth Dreaming Bank. Press and venue manager for Aldeburgh Poetry Trust. Vol 3: Speaking with the Heart (workbook)
2007-8 Vol 2: 52 Flowers That Shook My World. The Sea Kale Project, a photographic and textual exploration of the Suffolk coast. Food and Sustainability Editor for Inspirations magazine


2008-2013 Join Transition movement and initiate grassroots communication networks. 400+ online articles written during these years.

2008 Create online reporting platform for Transition Norwich and collaborative book, One Planet Community Kitchen.
2009 Found and edit This Low Carbon Life, a collaborative daily blog which runs for three years
2011 Found and edit Social Reporting Project, a collaborative UK-wide blog for Transition Network.
2012-13 Found and edit Transition Free Press, new quarterly newspaper. Publish 52 Flowers That Shook My World – A Radical Return to Earth (Two Ravens Press). Contributor Dark Mountain Issue 3. Columnist for EarthLines magazine (Life in Transition).

Expand work as an editor and freelance writer and teach creative non-fiction, mythology and 'Earth Dialogues'

2012- present Co-director Editor, art editor, curator for Dark Mountain Project
2014 Editor for Playing for TimeMaking Art as if the World Mattered (with author Lucy Neal), funded by Arts Council and Transition Network. Curator of Literary Stage, Uncivilisation Festival.
2015 Co-found The Grassroots Directory with Mark Watson. Workshops at Paris COP21, Uppsala University and Riksteatern (Sweden's National Theatre).
2016-7 Co-director of Dark Mountain Base Camp; collaborator/teacher for Carrying the Fire events in Scotland and Reading. Create and perform Divestment for Beginners at Festival of the Dark, Reading. Teaching courses at Ry Højskole, Denmark and Norfolk.
2016-2020 Teacher of collaborative writing at Arvon (Writing to Make Change Happen') and Schumacher college; creative non fiction courses and Earth encounters. including with Natural Beekeeping Trust ('Flights of Imagination') and School of the Wild; performance and talks on the mythos and cultural change ('The Red Thread', The Kist).

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