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Related Events

Due to the University of Michigan campus response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Why I Fight performances, panels and related events are all postponed to March 18-21, 2021. 

Please read about the related events that were planned for March 2020 below. 

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“Play Expression and Play Suppression: Neuroscience Research Lights Up Play as Therapy”, a lecture and discussion with Stuart Brown and Scott Eberle

Play as a process flows in a positive and therapeutic direction: it begins in anticipation and ends in poise. This two-part presentation traces states that militate against play and emotional balance—fear, shock, pain, intolerance, weakness and anxiety. It traces the evolutionary, developmental, and neuroscientific substrates that demonstrate the presence and potentials of the play “instinct.” When activated, this intrinsic endowment or “play state” allows talents to emerge that encourage, organize, and amplify life accomplishments from early experiences to beyond adulthood. The presentation notes contributions to mental and physical well-being—as well as the pain and consequences of play deprivations.

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony drunken drivers. His years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle. His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play. The Mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the three-part PBS series, “The Promise of Play,” and coproduced the BBC-PBS series “Soul of the Universe.” His experience as a medical administrator, producer, and scientific consultant or creator to numerous other productions on Joseph Campbell, Cosmology, Animal Play, and Stress, plus his scientific and popular writings have identified him as the foremost “practical champion of the knowledge of play.” Dr. Brown’s book: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages. He co-teaches From Play to Innovation at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the “Key Strategist” for the Nevada Medical Center’s Global Play Science Institute. In addition to regular creative scholarly contributions for the PlayCore company, he enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being. As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity.

Our species, he says, “is built for play, and built by play.”

Scott Eberle

Scott Eberle

Scott Eberle, writer, exhibit developer, lecturer and historian, is Emeritus Vice President, The Strong National Museum of Play, past Editor of the American Journal of Play, and Co-editor of the Handbook of the Study of Play. At The Strong, and earlier at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, he developed scores of exhibits including America at PlayAmerican Comic Book Heroes and the Battle of Good vs. EvilChild’ Play on the Crabgrass Frontier, Field of PlayToys as Mirrors, Toys as MemoriesTimeLabCan You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?Small Wonders: A Fantastic Voyage into the Miniature WorldSay Ahh! Examining America's HealthFollowing The North Star: Rochester's African-American Media, and Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Buffalo’s Pan American Exposition, 1901. Holding a PhD in social and intellectual history, Eberle’s publications include “The Elements of Play: Toward a Philosophy and a Definition of Play,” “Playing with the Multiple Intelligences,” “Exploring the Uncanny Valley to Find the Edge of Play,” Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame, “How a Museum Discovered the Transforming Power of Play,” “Defying Gravity: Playing with the Heavy Topics,” The Rise and Fall of a Frontier Entrepreneur: Benjamin Rathbun: ‘Master Builder and Architect,' Second Looks: A Pictorial History of Buffalo and Erie County; and re:Collections: Artifacts and Manuscripts at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Eberle, keenly interested in the intersection of history and evolutionary psychology, writes the popular “Play in Mind,” column for Psychology Today, and the blog “re: Play” about the material culture of play. Eberle served on the New York State Council on the Arts Museum Panel, retiring as chair in 1989. He served on the advisory board for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and as President of the Gallery Association of New York.

 

“Relieving Caretaker Stress”, a lecture and workshop with Barry Crook

When I encounter caretakers who appear to be coping well in difficult situations, I ask them to tell me their stories. These amazing people give 24/7 to a loved one and are often unappreciated and taken for granted. The individual with the physical or emotional issue receives the majority of attention. Over time some long-term family caregivers have developed a tool box that I would like to share in this workshop.

Barry Crook

Barry Crook

Barry Crook is an independent organization effectiveness consultant and performance life coach. His educational background includes psychology, counseling, and systems design. He was instrumental in establishing Outward Bound, migrating the concept from the United Kingdom to the United States. He spent six years as an instructor in adventure therapy and is certified internationally as mountain guide and rock climbing instructor as well as in kayaking and canoeing. He founded Rebound, an Outward Bound philosophy-based school for disabled children. He served during the Viet Nam conflict at the rank of Staff Sergeant. For six years at Phillips Academy Andover he implemented experiential learning while providing alternatives to traditional sports. He spent eighteen years as Director of Organizational Effectiveness for Weyerhaeuser, a Fortune 100 company, and is currently applying his skill set to Treasure Coast Hospice focusIng on the healthy survival of long term caregivers.

 

“Healing Movements & New Ways of Listening: Energetic Field Work and Performance Practices”, a presentation and workshop with Luisa Muhr

Austrian, New-York-based artist and Family & Systemic Constellations coach Luisa Muhr's workshop focuses on different types of Field Work in Constellations (after Bert Hellinger) and in performance ritual, two seemingly unrelated, yet deeply connected practices. Muhr will lead you through a seated meditation, some exercises (including 'Deep Listening', developed by Pauline Oliveros), and will give a short presentation, demonstrating how she approaches performance through the lens of Field Work. This workshop will help you to connect with your ability to listen, your authenticity, inner wisdom, and soul force to build a foundation for change. 

Luisa Muhr

Luisa Muhr

Luisa Muhr is a New-York-based interdisciplinary artist, Family and Systemic Constellations facilitator, and educator, originally from Vienna, Austria. She was first introduced to Family Constellations at a very early age and studied with one of Germany's most prominent Family Constellations facilitators, Dr. Peter Orban, who was one of Bert Hellinger's early students. As a multi- and interdisciplinary performer, improvisor, and theater-maker Muhr specializes in vocal, movement, sound, and installation art. She is particularly interested in the relationship of sonic and physical movement in space. Muhr is the co-founder and artistic director of the performing arts company FENGARI Works (together with her late artistic partner James Leaf) and runs New York's leading interdisciplinary womxn and non-binary artists series Women Between Arts (at The New School Glassbox Theater).

 

“A Spiritual Perspective on Times of Illness and Death”

Dick Mann joins Sandy Wiener for a discussion.

Dick Mann

Dick Mann

Before meeting Swami Muktananda in 1974, I would have declared myself to be “a political person”--CORE, the teach-ins, the antiwar movement, and the Black Action Movement. Before those dramatic days, I would have seen myself as a psychologist who was studying small groups and college classrooms and as enjoying our family of three boys. After 1974, my life turned in a different direction.

After meeting Baba Muktananda, I was drawn closer and closer to a spiritual community, Siddha Yoga. We moved to the same block as the Ann Arbor Ashram. We were following the goals and the practices of an ancient tradition in search of the Self, the direct experience of the Self, and the overarching injunctions to see God in each other and to love and honor oneself.

Now, forty-five years later, I delight in each moment when the fruits of this path take their innumerable forms. The experience can be interrupted, but I delight in each moment of feeling I am home within the totality of what I do and who I am.

I retired last summer after teaching at Michigan and Harvard for sixty-one years, only to discover that nothing about my life is any less satisfying and challenging.

Sandy Wiener

Sandy Wiener

After graduating from Yale and Harvard Law School, Sandy Wiener has led a non-linear life (with no law). This included a Ford Foundation-sponsored fellowship in Sierra Leone, and State Department positions in Africa and Asia (with 106 countries visited now). Then, Wiener was an administrator of New York City’s Model Cities program, followed by a drop-out period for writing pursuits. Afterwards, Wiener started the SoHo Wine Bar, NYC’s first wine bar, and The North Star Pub, an English pub in downtown Manhattan, among other businesses. 

After the birth of his third child in 1990, he and his wife Sarah moved to Ann Arbor. Life there has been full of projects and activities, including working on boards, and as board chair, for many organizations, such as the Rudolf Steiner School and Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates. 

Wiener now directs his efforts towards local initiatives, including local food, local communities, and the Michigan Folk School. Other strong interests are questions of consciousness and who/what we actually are.

 

“A person is a tree that can be shaken at any time”: The means to heal in another culture, the Zezuru of Zimbabwe, a lecture by Pamela Reynolds

The purpose of this talk is to highlight the manner in which Zezuru healers care in-community for their patients in contrast to the awful psychiatric hospital environment depicted in ‘Why I Fight.’

Pamela Reynolds

Pamela Reynolds

Pamela Reynolds is a Cultural Anthropologist who has worked in the field of the Ethnography of Childhood in Southern Africa for decades. Her work has included studies of children in squatter camps threatened by apartheid destruction; children and healing after war in Zimbabwe; child labour in the Zambezi Valley; and youth fighting the apartheid government.