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Directorship overlaps between UK Anthroposophical organisations – latest map

The raison d’être for this blog being to present new research findings of the scale of the UK Anthroposophy movement, I felt it about time to post the latest ‘map’ of the movement’s directorship overlaps. Here they are, in the illustration below. Forgive the slight misalignment of text in the colour key but it seemed good enough for an impromptu post.


The coloured circles or nodes represent defined UK Anthroposophical organisations. Organisations having a shared director or trustee are shown by a solid black line linking the organisations together. The number of overlaps or links an organisation has determines how centrally placed it appears in the diagram. This positioning of the organisations is not done by me, it is done automatically by the software used to process and illustrate the data.

The software (netdraw, available free to download here) used to produce the above illustration includes a very useful routine known as ‘spring embedding’, an iterative process that eventually finds the best ‘fit’ between the nodes in a network. When graphed, netdraw treats links between nodes as springs pulling the nodes together so that the more connected nodes move toward the centre and the less connected nodes, or organisations in this case, shift to the periphery.

In the illustration above the organisations (the nodes) have been colour coded according to their area of activity and three of the central or ‘more connected’ organisations labelled. The yellow labelled node is the Anthroposophical Association Limited, the workhorse of the national Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. The red node is the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship(SWSF), the national UK body representing Anthroposophical education. The lighter blue labelled node is Camphill Village Trust, one of the wealthiest charities in the UK and a leading organisation within the UK’s Camphill movement.

A major aim of this research is in exploring and hopefully answering the question as to how cohesive or integrated the movement is. On its own, the above ‘map’ of directorship & trustee overlaps is only indicative of an integrated or cohesive UK Anthroposophy movement. However, it is hoped that mapping the organisations on the basis of a combination of other kinds of links between organisations will go some way toward realising the research aims.


  1. zooey zooey April 9, 2009

    It’s bit surprising to me that the biodynamic stuff is such a small part. I would’ve guessed biodynamic enterprises were the second largest after the pedagogy/education sector.

  2. ukanthroposophy ukanthroposophy April 10, 2009

    Biodynamics is easy for any individual to try out without having to take on board the more controversial strands of Steiner belief. Biodynamics is also familiar to the public here in UK via occasional TV exposure, supermarkets selling biodynamic wine too IIRC. So we might expect to see it appearing more at the organisational level I’m looking at but, for whatever reason, we don’t. Not yet anyway 🙂

    This may be due to the organisations being categorised according to their main focus of activity even though other types of category of Anthroposophical activity will be going on in many orgs. An excellent example of this would be a typical Camphill which will have a biodynamic farm or land farmed biodyanamically, often have its own ‘farm shop’ selling its own grown biodynamic foodstuffs, have its own Anthroposophical medics, have its own ‘Christian Community’ visiting priest and its own chapel for Christian Community sevices, will have or set up an Anthroposophical school and so on. Yet a typical Camphill is according to my categorisation a ‘social care’ org. Anthroposophical schools similarly will near always have a visitng Anthroposophical doctor, often have a biodynamic garden. So, most orgs operate Anthroposophically but the main activity will subsume other categories of activity.

    Also, there’s likely a bias in my dataset in that business orgs are slightly under represented and although organic and biodynamic farms operate commercally many of them are not registered companies but small size private businesses. Most of my data to date comes from trawls of documents of charities and registered companies and so the smaller scale biodynamic farmers and businesses will not have been picked up on. Another aspect of this is the ‘wholefoods’ and ‘organics’ market sector – quite alot of shops/wholesalers will stock biodyamic produce but the business itself is not defineably Anthroposophical. Some will have leanings toward Anthroposophy or profess a vague spiritual mission but cannot be defined as Anthroposophical according to the very strict criteria I’m using and so will not have been recorded.

  3. zooey zooey April 22, 2009

    Yeah, I suppose you’re on to something, and I think the situation is basically the same here. The major anthro food business is owned by anthro trusts/foundations, so that’s easier to sort out–but all the small businesses, that’s something else. And the shops are just what you describe. In my vicinity there’s one shop with biodynamic food (and organic) and lots of fluffy-fluff stuff, but who knows. I find their presence in the neighbourhood particularly fascinating because, unlike the anthro company which has a more positive outlook on things (I suppose that sells stuff easier than this:), this shop has a window sign… I was going to call it an advertisment, but maybe not… It says “Death starts in your bowels” and there’s a picture of death as a man (black with a… you know the thing used on a field… I’m too lazy to go fetch the dictionary…) On second thought, these people may not be anthroposophists, although they sell lotsof anthro food, but they sure make anthroposophists look fairly normal in comparison…

    I mean, death starts everywhere, but I don’t know if it’s good thing to remind costumers of it before they even enter the store…

    Sorry, I digress…

  4. ukanthroposophy ukanthroposophy April 23, 2009

    The Grim Reaper and his scythe lol

    Death starts in your bowels. Wow. An old joke here is the baker’s advert: “Try one of our pies – You won’t get better”
    Blimey though, what an awful thing to put out the front of your food shop, death starts in your bowels. That’s plain scary weird.

  5. zooey zooey April 24, 2009

    It’s possible to find almost everything online: someone took a photo of the shop window sign

    I was mistaken, it says “Death starts in the intestines!”–no material difference I guess–and then the drawing of the death guy, very black!

    Even funnier, their shop is surrounded by very fancy shops–Rosenthal porcelaine, expensive watches (Cartier and stuff)–and if the shop owners weren’t slightly weird and untypical for the area, one would think the sign was there to draw attention. But that’s not the case. I have no doubt they believe what the sign says…

    The whole thing is very weird. The food is good,though, but how they manage to stay in business with that death-approach is beyond odd…

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