Abundant Academy

Details of Abundant Academy's purpose and programme.

The Abundant Academy purpose and programme

Photograph of a window at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. There are a range of different plants in front of the window.
A window at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. Photo by Harriet Harris.

The Abundant Academy programme is designed to enhance our perspective, and train us in habits of replenishment, reflection and collaboration, so that we can move from overwhelm, freneticism, and feeling stuck, to refreshed and thoughtful momentum and fruitfulness. The programme has been developed out of 8-years work with University of Edinburgh students and staff, on the ‘What’s the University for?’ Series, our ‘Slow University’ initiative, and collaborations with universities around the world on bringing Compassion into the structures and ethos of Higher Education. 

The programme draws on tools designed by the leaders’ network One of Many®, who are expert in bringing people back from burnout, and who developed the concept of ‘Soft Power’ ™.  Soft Power is far more than just the soft skills recognised as necessary within flourishing organisations; it is an agreeable, calm effectiveness that empowers us for work, study, play and home-life.

Photograph of a chair surrounded by bookshelves filled with books.
A book nook at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. Photo by Harriet Harris

The facilitator, Revd Dr Harriet Harris, is an experienced university lecturer, researcher, and academic writer, and has been a Chaplain for twenty years’, at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh, supporting students and staff with the pressures of university life. She is a Priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and provides training for ministry. She is also a Trainer with Student Minds, an Associate Fellow of the Clinical Educator Programme, teaching medical consultants Self-care and Compassion for NHS Lothian, and a Certified Coach with One of Many, the UK’s largest network for women in leadership.

The core Abundant Academy programme is accompanied by a wide variety of weekly opportunities and additional courses – our ‘Library of Abundance’- which are open to students and staff whether or not they are enrolled on the core programme. They draw on the Chaplaincy team’s expertise in leading groups and individuals in deep reflective and transformative work, including Mindfulness, Mentoring, Coaching, Deep Listening, and Spiritual Direction.


We hope that the Abundant Academy will support us to:

  • Replenish, and model replenishment for others: acquiring habits that keep overwhelm and burnout confidently at bay, and support our identity and belonging, so that we can grow a sense of abundance, spaciousness, and time to reflect.
  • Reflect, and lead others into deeper reflection: reconnecting with our values, identity, sense of purpose, integrity, joy, and the difference we make to the world. With spaciousness to reflect, we can respond wisely and compassionately, rather than reactively, frenetically, or desperately, to the challenges we face.
  • Realise, and empower realisation in and beyond the University: finding the steps to take, the collaborations to make, and the support to harness, for creating the culture of Higher Education that we wish to inhabit and nurture.


The Core Programme

The Abundant Academy flagship programme is a 2-semester programme comprising three core courses: ‘Replenish’, ‘Reflect’ and ‘Realise’ (the 3Rs!). Participants to the programme are signed up to all three courses, across which they start to grow visions and projects. In this way, participants benefit from the supportive network that they create for one another, and also begin to see their projects take root. By the end of the ‘Realise’ course, participants have a network which they have fostered, and with whom they will see their projects blossom.

All core courses are running online until further notice.


The Replenish course

Replenish, and model replenishment for others

Four sessions plus a bonus session:

  • Continual Replenishment; why we need it and how we can get it
  • Handling our inner critic and other internal ‘frenemies’ (pusher, pleaser, imposter, perfectionist…), and discovering empowering archetypes
  • Countering overwhelm, holding boundaries, cultural dissonance, and meeting our needs
  • Understanding how our values drive us, and finding wisdom for abundance

Bonus 2-hour session

  • Supporting one another in stressful times

Timings: 4x2 hours, plus a bonus session, fortnightly, Semester 1

Staff Course, 10am-12noon, Fridays, fortnightly, starting 23 Oct

PG and Continuing Learner (including mature ug) Course, 2-4pm Thursdays, fortnightly, starting 15 Oct (NB, 16 Nov instead of 13 Nov)

Undergraduate Abundant Academy sessions for buoyancy in judgementally competitive waters! 2-3pm Tuesdays, fortnightly, starting 20 Oct


The ‘Reflect Course’

Reflect, and lead others into deeper reflection

Five sessions plus a bonus session:

  • Identifying and exploring a key challenge or opportunity
  • Discovering more space than mere ‘headspace’
  • Understanding your values in relation to your work
  • Finding vision and purpose, and thereby joy in what you do
  • Meaningful, fruitful planning (outwith SMART goals)

Bonus 1.5-hour session

  • Challenging beliefs or behaviours that impede us

5 x 1.5 hours, plus a bonus session, fortnightly, Semester 2


The ‘Realise course’

Photograph of Yinka Shonibare, ‘The British Library’, Tate Modern, photo by Harriet Harris
Yinka Shonibare, ‘The British Library’, Tate Modern, photo by Harriet Harris

Realise, and empower realisation in and beyond the University

A 2-day retreat in April/May, to enable your projects and visions to take root and start to bud, plus a bonus session.

  • Holding your vision and your boundaries
  • Creating networks of support and collaboration
  • Identifying and asking for what you need
  • Making Decisions: a) when overwhelmed and stuck; b) when wanting more insight
  • Re-eliciting your values, and finding wisdom going forward

Bonus 2-hour session

  • Responding to crises or large changes


We collect a donation for the core programme, at the equivalent rate as our Mindfulness courses:

Staff rate:           

  • £60 for Semester 1
  • £100 for Semester 2 (which includes the 2-day retreat)

Student rate:    

  • £30 for Semester 1
  • £50 for Semester 2 (which includes the 2-day retreat)

We offer bursaries. If the donation prohibits you from joining, please email

There is no donation for the Lunch and Learn sessions