The School Of Life Comes To Melbourne

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

Those are the words of Victor Hugo and they’ve been uttered to me several times recently. The School of Life is an idea whose time has come.


The story of The School of Life in Australia began in 2010 when a writer from Dumbo Feather magazine interviewed the organisation’s founder, writer Alain de Botton. And they just clicked. That’s when conversations began between Small Giants and The School of Life in London.

At that time I was working as a documentary filmmaker in Melbourne. I had spent a decade working in London but in 2008 headed to Melbourne in search of adventure.

The School of Life in London opened almost exactly as I departed. But it wasn’t long before friends back home started telling me about their amazing experiences. They knew that I’d love it. My friends spoke of learning about wild swimming and animal husbandry, of attending classes and meeting like-minded people.


When I learnt of plans to bring The School of Life to Melbourne I was desperate to be involved. I was drawn to the innovative way it approaches life’s biggest challenges. And I love the intelligence and wit of the school’s tone. One of the things that appealed to me the most was the prospect of building, and participating in, a community.

And now here I am, as the lucky Project Director for the Melbourne branch.

sol-6The School of Life is a magnet for interesting people who want to explore how to live wisely and well. From speakers to artists, entrepreneurs and volunteers. I’m confident Melbourne is an ideal place for this venture – what better space than a beaten up Collingwood warehouse to launch this home of ideas?

Codesign studio, a bunch of off-duty architects and designers, have helped us get the space ready. An army of creative volunteers has given up their weekends to make it possible to open our doors on January 26.

We’re now in the crazy last few weeks before opening and it feels like there’s still a huge amount to do.


At the same time we’ve launched a fantastic program and many classes are already sold out. We are also delighted that alongside the Conversation Café we’re going to have a Readings pop-up shop on site to inspire and tickle the mind.

Our challenge now is to honour the reputation of the London school and to do it with distinctive Melbourne style. I have no doubt that the School will happily settle into its second home.

The School of Life Australia will open on Saturday, 26 January at 22 Peel Street, Collingwood. Click here for more information and to book tickets.