The Utopia Experiment

Setting up a community isn't easy... now pretend the world has ended as well...!

While doing a spot of research on a project granted planning permission recently for a yurt based 'glamping' business on the Black Isle in north west Scotland, I came across another interesting group of people who had spent some time there a few years previously.


It turns out that in 2006 a research scientist, journalist and author with a self diagnosed 'uncontrollable sense of curiosity' found himself uncontrollably tearing himself out of his mundane existence, giving up his job, selling his house and gathering a group of willing volunteers to travel to the far away and exposed north of Scotland and pretend that the world had ended... What could possibly go wrong?


The minute I came across Dylan’s story I wrote to him and asked if he would ever consider putting pen to paper and writing something for D+D, not only did he say he'd love to, he also said that coincidentally he'd just finished a whole book on the experience – The Utopia Experiment.


In one way I think this book functions as a good, solid, practical guide on how NOT to go about setting up an intentional community.  In another I believe the frank, open, honest and human way of relating what was going on in his consciousness on the events leading up to and including having his 'five minutes of freedom', so to speak, is a far too rarely published event, relevant to anyone thinking of being part of any communal living set up or indeed those already involved.


I felt happy, sad, sometimes incredulous and more than sometimes uncomfortable by the similarity to some of my own trains of thought. Thank you Dylan!


James Dennis, D+D editorial team.


The Utopia Experiment is published in the UK by Picador (2015).

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