Cultural Day

An invitation to 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students, along with adult family members and friends

The Cultural Day is an opportunity to take part in three different workshops drawn from many offerings spanning the arts and sciences. Each workshop runs for one and a quarter hours. No prior knowledge or experience is required.

The presenters are all fellow students of philosophy with a love of their subject. The fee for the day is $60 per person, and includes lunch and refreshments. The event is held twice yearly, at the School's Hawthorn Campus, located at 1 Through St, Hawthorn.

The next Cultural Day will be held on Sunday 25th March, 2018.

The programme for the most recent Cultural Day is shown below.

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Sunday 12th November, 2017 Programme

Arrival on the day is from 8.00 am, with the opening address commencing at 8.30 am in the Erasmus School Hall. There will be three workshop sessions during the day, followed by the special presentation.  The day will conclude at 4.00 pm.

A wholesome, vegetarian buffet lunch will be served in the grounds, and morning and afternoon refreshments will be served in the Hawthorn tearoom.

  • 8.00 am:Arrival
  • 8.30 am:Opening Address
  • 9.00 am:Workshop Session 1
  • 10.15 am:Refreshments (Hawthorn Tea Room)
  • 10.45 am:Workshop Session 2
  • 12.00 pm:Buffet Lunch (Erasmus Grounds)
  • 12.45 pm:Singing
  • 1.15 pm:Workshop Session 3
  • 2.30 pm:Refreshments (Hawthorn Tea Room)
  • 3.00 pm:Special Presentation
  • 3.45 pm:Closing address
  • 4.00 pm:Close

Special Presentation

An afternoon with the Brothers Watson

To close the day, come and hear a selection of fine music from the Romantic period performed by the Watson Trio of strings and piano.

Workshop Details

  1. Abhinaya Workshop

    The dance of creation is all around us. Expressing beauty, it delights us.  The laws of the universe are at play.  The dance guides us, leads us home.  Let love open wide the door of the heart. Welcome yourself.  Eternal peace to those who see the One, dancing through the many forms.

    (Miss Fua Evile) Session 1

  2. Democracy, Plato and the Freedom Trap

    Is Democracy, as the majority of people believe these days, the ultimate expression of social and political freedom, or is it, as Plato maintained, the second lowest form of government and just one step away from tyranny? In this interactive workshop we will explore this and related questions from the perspectives of philosophy, neuroscience, politics and direct personal experience. If we, individually and collectively, get the answers right then we should expect ever-greater levels of freedom. If we get it wrong then we should expect to find ourselves in a sweet but sticky trap of our own making.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 1

  3. Discovering Your Gifts

    Imagine waking up each morning inspired by the idea that whatever comes your way today will help you to realise your potential and fulfil your purpose in life.  Each one of us has a unique set of gifts or talents. One of our challenges in life is to discover our own special gifts and then to decide how we will use them to make a difference in the world and fulfil our purpose. This presentation will start you on the journey of discovering your gifts.

    (Mr. Stephen Abrahams) Session 3

  4. Discover True Knowledge!

    Have you ever discovered True Knowledge? True knowledge dawns at various times during one's lifetime. It is an aspect of wisdom. The art of Dialectic is a conscious approach to discover true knowledge through the spirit of inquiry. It can help to improve one’s life. For example, "How can I improve my current life circumstances?" "How can I better overcome obstacles?" What are my strengths and talents?" “What weaknesses can I work on and how?” The wisdom on the art of Dialectic from the great philosophers will be shared! Come along and enjoy!

    (Mr. Rajesh Bhandari) Session 2

  5. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    The Divine Comedy of the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri is considered to be the literary masterpiece of medieval Europe. This presentation gives an overview of the themes in the work, their timeless quality and how they continue to resonate even today. We will explore Dante’s influence on medieval society, the Florentine Renaissance and the establishment of the Italian State.

    (Mr. Peter Stoddart) Session 2

  6. Gāyatrī Mantra

    Become familiar with this beautiful, ancient and powerful mantra from the Rg Veda which helps to purify the mind.

    (Mrs. Bronwyn Morley) Session 1

  7. Islam - A concept of Unity

    What is Islam? What are its origins? What is the difference between sunni and shi’ia Islam? Understanding Islam through art and architecture.

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 1

  8. It is as it is

    Inner non-resistance to what is leads to a life of Harmony, Simplicity, Love and Peace. This practical interactive session will allow you to experience inner non-resistance.

    (Dr. Neil McNab) Session 1

  9. Keeping Your Head - Meeting Adversity

    “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” So begins Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If” which gives magnificent advice on facing adversity. What is adversity? What are the many forms it takes in our daily lives? Can it be avoided? Or do we simply need to be able to meet it head on? Join us for a discussion using the poem “If” as our guide.

    (Mr. Chris Hutchins) Session 2

  10. Learning from Indigenous Cultures

    There’s a growing awareness and concern about historical injustices and ongoing issues affecting our first nation people, but how much do we really know about the world’s oldest surviving continuous culture? What sort of spirituality and philosophy has been practiced in their communities, and is this still alive? In this workshop we set out to explore some traditions and practices concerning law, caring for land, caring for family, and living out the truth of the connectedness of all things.

    (Mr. Frank Kennedy) Session 1

  11. Let Your Soul Sing

    The voice is the one musical instrument we are all born with and song is the most powerful medium for communicating words of truth. Join in the restful art of singing in unison and harmony. No prior experience is required for this joyful activity.

    (Mrs. Janet Mason) Session 3

  12. Life, the Universe and Everything ...

    Is philosophy something that only exists in the official works of official philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche and Sartre, or is it something that also exists in even more popular works such as by Douglas Adams, Dr Seuss, Gary Larsen, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, Mary Shelley, Lisa Simpson, and many others. This talk will explore how philosophy can surprise us as well as inspire us, and how the truth can be light as well as enlightening.

    (Dr. Stephen McKenzie) Session 3

  13. The Organic Labyrinth

    Solvitur Ambulando is Latin for “it is solved by walking”. This session will cover the history and types of labyrinth, its sacred geometry, symbolism and relevance as a spiritual tool in our time. You will be shown how to draw the classical labyrinth and we will conclude with a guided walk of the labyrinth

    (Mrs. Madonna Rigoni) Session 3

  14. Parenting and Education

    His Holiness Maharaja Sri Vasudevananda Sarasvati said recently that ‘The primary education of the child is the mother’s responsibility’. What does this mean in a society where many mothers are working during their child’s early years?  How is this responsibility for education to be met by mothers either working or at home? To what extent do we entrust schools with the responsibility of educating our children? During this session we will look at more of His Holiness’s words, reflect on some pithy celebrity sayings and reflect on our own ideals and experiences.

    (Mrs. Melanie McKenzie) Session 2

  15. Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas

    Patanjali’s Astanga Yoga system starts with the Yama and Niyama. These are 10 ethical principles that allow us to be in peace and harmony with ourselves, our family, our community and the planet. As people search for meaning and harmony in their lives, it is useful to connect with these Universal principles and see how practical they are.

    (Mrs. Philippa Street) Session 2

  16. Philosophy and Minimalism

    Ever wondered how your external environment can impact on your internal peace of mind? Our stuff isn’t just things we own, sometimes they own us; we have to buy, use, clean, store and dispose of all of our things. Minimalism explores the idea of living a more meaningful life with less.

    (Mrs. Belinda Fyffe) Session 2

  17. Philosophy, Love and Relationships

    This practical presentation looks at ways to improve our relationships with partners, family, friends and acquaintances. We will consider some useful psychological models of relationships, practical ways to connect with others, some of the more subtle internal influences we have to contend with, and what the wise say on the subject of Love generally.

    (Mr. Tim Rogers) Session 3

  18. The Philosophy of Film

    Film story is a powerful medium for conveying wisdom. So what are the connections between film and philosophy? In this session we’ll explore three: Aristotle’s Poetics, film dialectic, and the mythic. We’ll also discuss the function of film story and whether or not it can be considered genuinely philosophical.

    (Mr. George Tosi) Session 1

  19. Plato’s Solids?

    I thought Plato wrote books! Well yes, but he also has a set of geometric solids attributed to him. This workshop investigates these solids, their history and then it’s hands-on constructing the solids together. On completion, we will look at the form and essence of these solids, and their modern day architectural applications. If you like cutting, sticking and the beauty of form, this is for you.

    (Mr. Euan Nichol) Session 3

  20. The Power of Music

    Music has been around since the beginning of time and is a medium common to all cultures throughout the world. The potential for expression through music is infinite, and the effect of music on the human psyche is palpable. Music has the power to drag one to the depths of despair and to the heights of emotion. It is able to direct the behaviour of not only human beings, but plants and animals as well. It is even able to define a culture. This entertaining presentation will help us begin to explore the enormous power of music and to learn to observe its effect within ourselves.

    (Mrs. Marita Brewster) Session 3

  21. Practical Advaita - Creating Collaborative Communities

    Many world problems could be solved if only diverse groups would come together for a common purpose. Such a unified approach is at the heart of Advaita philosophy. This presentation examines three case studies where collaborative communities have met significant social challenges: Northland Shopping Centre, Federation Square and Williamstown Botanic Gardens. The steps and challenges for creating collaborative communities will be discussed and participants invited to consider how other collaborative communities could be created to tackle other community, national and even global challenges.

    (Mr. Stephen Abrahams) Session 2

  22. Preparing for Departure

    The ubiquitous Sword of Damocles was pointed out to me by the medicos back in 2015. “If I’m spared” (as my grandfather used to say) I’d like to talk to you on the difference between knowing about life coming to an end and actually seeing it and realising it. I hasten to add that this is not in any way a morbid matter. Quite the contrary, in fact. You could be pleasantly surprised.

    (Mr. Tery Pope) Session 2

  23. Resilience - Finding your inner strength

    What is resilience? Can it be developed? This interactive and practical workshop will explore the nature of resilience and how it may be developed and strengthened to meet adversity and life’s many challenges.

    (Mr. Michael Luscombe) Session 1

  24. Sanskrit: The Journey Home

    Let the sound of this most ancient and sacred language be heard and experienced. Sanskrit speaks directly to the heart and the self within, and takes the student on an unimaginable journey. Come and enjoy the sounds of magic and let the transformation begin.

    (Dr. Barrie Mayall) Session 1

  25. Spending Our Energy … Wisely!

    Sometimes our lives seem to spin at a maddening pace... at other times there is a transcendent calmness. Why is this? The Bhagavad Gita describes the three-fold energy (guna) that powers the Creation. What is it? How does it affect our daily lives - our feelings, thoughts, actions and interactions? Discover how a fundamental understanding of the guna can help bring balance and measure to our lives, and the secret of work that allows us to spend our energy ... wisely!

    (Mr. Chris Hutchins) Session 3

  26. The Subtle Art of Listening

    When we listen with full attention, it's like we have access to another world. The ability to truly listen is like a hidden sensory superpower that we all possess, but often neglect. Eminently practical and powerfully spiritual, this talk will help you to reconnect with the subtle art of listening.

    (Mr. Sam Grace) Session 3

  27. Three Guides for Life

    These simple guides have been “long and carefully tested, and practiced”. Explore them together, and consider how we might live them. In a sea of challenges and changes, these may be our strong and steady, yet and quiet and nourishing, mast.

    (Mrs. Helen Nichol) Session 2

  28. True Confidence

    We tend to strive for inner confidence, wanting to leave doubt behind. Let us discover some fundamental principles which may assist in making life simpler, more enjoyable and more directed.

    (Mr. Warwick Brewster) Session 1

  29. Truly, Madly, Deeply: Marvellous Mystics or Magnificent Misfits?

            “What experience, mystically divine,
            Transcending all concepts of time,
            Made the participants,
            All kinds of miscreants,
            Taste a magic superbly sublime?”
    Particularly Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, Rumi, St. Francis of Assisi, Meister Eckhart, and more recently, Eckhart Tolle and Simone Weil. What did they know? What was their secret?

    (Mr. John Jepson) Session 1

  30. What Mysteries Lie Within?

    Our identification with the various roles we play in life can be exhausting - we take ourselves so seriously! What became of the child who experienced life as a fabulous play, wholeheartedly taking up a role, playing it to its full, then effortlessly switching to another? Such freedom! Join this experiential workshop if you feel adventurous, playful at heart and willing to be surprised. Using the creative process you will explore those aspects of your experience that are ever changing whilst also considering the ever present within. No artistic ability required.

    (Mrs. Michele Hutchins) Session 3

  31. Why India, where East meets West?

    A recent visit coincided with the annual Maghmela festival celebrated by millions of people on the banks of the Ganges at Allahabad in Northern India with Gurus and Swamis in great abundance. What draws so many Westerners to imbibe India’s most ancient teachings? Let us enquire.

    (Mr. John Jepsen) Session 2

  32. Why Plato Now?

    The remarkable thing about the works of 4th Century BC philosopher Plato is their relevance to us in this day and age. In 26 ‘dialogues’, which are regarded as works of philosophical and literary genius, Plato manages to span every aspect of human life in the world. In this workshop, we will explore fundamental aspects of Plato's work that have the power to change our lives forever, should we be open to receiving his wisdom.

    (Mrs. Marita Brewster) Session 2

  33. Why Trust and Not Fear?

    We were born with trust and later learned fear. We will explore how we might increase our level of trust and enjoy the simplicity and peace that emanates from that. When in a state of fear, can we be reasonable in our actions?

    (Mr. Warwick Brewster) Session 3


“A beautiful day! I have found some solutions to difficulties in my life, and have a much more expanded perspective—very inspirational!”

“Enlightening, a chance to focus upon ideas, thoughts, and ways of being, that I don't often take time to consider.”

“Excellent and thought provoking. Encourages one to want to learn more.”

Cultural Day logo

During a tea break

A session in progress

Practising fine attention

The glorious buffet lunch

Enjoying good company


The bustling tearoom

Fine results

A session in progress

A session in progress