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 most recent Cultural Day was held on Sunday 26th March, 2017.

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

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Sunday 26th March, 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)
  • 1.00 pm:Workshop Session 3
  • 2.15 pm:Refreshments (Hawthorn Tea Room)
  • 2.45 pm:Special Presentation
  • 3.45 pm:Closing address
  • 4.00 pm:Close

Special Presentation

The Mindful Bard

By Associate Professor Craig Hassed and Mr. Stewart Morritt

After 400 years of silence, William Shakespeare has unexpectedly surfaced and published a new book - The Mindful Bard. Is he just getting on the mindfulness bandwagon or does he have a legitimate claim to be an early adopter of mindfulness? Decide for yourself as a member of the studio audience. You will hear the Bard make his case as he is grilled by the renowned, hard-hitting interviewer, David Froth. If you are lucky you may even be able to put a question or two to the great man himself.

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. An Inner Journey through Creative Expression

    This is an opportunity to play! Guided by the presenter’s training in transpersonal art therapy, use art and creativity to explore your inner landscape and be surprised by what you discover. No artistic ability or artistic experience necessary.

    (Mrs. Michele Hutchins) Session 3

  3. The Bhagavad Gita - Its origin and journey to the West

    This popular book of spiritual guidance was once available only to certain devotees. Discover how it came to the West and compare translations of its immortal words.

    (Miss Judith Lowenherz) Session 3

  4. Dwarum - Doorways

    Do you ever feel shut inside a small box? Is freedom attractive to you? Join in a conversation on opening the door to freedom. We will draw from such diverse authorities as Michael Singer, Shantanada Saraswati, Patanjali and Shakespeare to open the door in a practical way.

    (Mrs. Philippa Street) Session 3

  5. Empathy

    What is it? Why do we need it? Why is the world in danger of becoming unstuck without it?

    (Mrs. Esther Telkes) Session 2

  6. Finding a Home

    Finding a home can be a daunting task. How does one go about finding and then recognising that place of rest? What guiding principles can be followed to avoid the grips of the real estate market? We will discuss how it may be possible to enjoy the discovery!!

    (Mr. Warwick Brewster) Session 1

  7. The force of justice in Economics. Plato’s view

    The experience of life in any society is deeply intertwined with the condition, working and make-up of its economy; in fact these days, a good economy is often seen as interchangeable with a good society. According to Plato, all ‘human goods’ depend on ‘divine goods’; he also says Justice is one of only four divine goods. Like any other human ‘good’, the virtue of an economy would depend on what extent the divine goods are a force within it. With help from Plato and Socrates we will search for justice and consider its effects in the economic world. Join us for a stimulating, searching and insightful enquiry into economic justice from a new, yet timeless perspective.

    (Mr. James Webster) Session 2

  8. The Fortunes of Dialectic Inquiry

    True knowledge dawns at various times during one's lifetime. The art of Dialectic is a conscious approach to discover true knowledge with the spirit of inquiry. Just like Socrates and his friends over 2000 years ago! Test out questions such as; "What is Truth?" "What is Justice?" What is freedom?" "Is Absolute Freedom possible for the individual?" Bring your own questions! Let's invigorate our understanding with a sincere inquiry. Guidance for the inquiry and knowledge from the ancients will be shared.

    (Mr. Rajesh Bhandari) Session 2

  9. The Freedom Trap

    Popular modern notions of freedom mostly revolve around the removal of limits on individual desires whereas wisdom traditions say freedom depends upon discipline, setting limits, the rule of reason rather than desire, and obeying natural laws. Which view is correct? Are there true and superficial forms of freedom? If we do not understand what true freedom is are we unwittingly falling into a trap of our own making? What are the consequences of such a mistake? These and related questions will be explored from philosophical, practical, political and scientific perspectives.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 2

  10. Heartfulness - beyond Mindfulness, finding your real life

    Mindfulness is now a very popular technique that helps us be aware, and accepting of what we are aware of. Do we need more than a technique? Do we need more than what mindfulness has come to mean? Heartfulness expands the mindfulness technique by re-connecting it with its deep philosophical source, and thereby re-connecting us with our deep life source, and with each other. The session will be based on the newly released sequel to Mindfulness for Life and Mindfulness at Work.

    (Dr. Stephen McKenzie) Session 1

  11. The Heart of Good Business

    Are businesses merely a vehicle to generate money, or do they serve a greater purpose in supporting human beings to live a true and happy life? To live such a life, Plato asked us to find the ‘good’ in things.  Is there such a thing as ‘good’ in business. This workshop explores the concept of a good business, and whether it may accord with our experiences.

    (Mr. Chris Ford) Session 3

  12. Illuminating Wisdom

    For millennia the world's great spiritual traditions of east and west have combined the beauty of calligraphy with words of wisdom. This interactive workshop provides an opportunity to explore a variety of styles of calligraphic art and the meaning embodied in quotations drawn from various authors, wisdom traditions and historical periods.

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 1

  13. Islam - A concept of Unity

    What is Islam? Discover its origins and practices, the differences between sunni and shi’ia Islam. What is the role of Islam in a modern world?

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 1

  14. Is the Universe Intelligent? A dialectic inquiry

    The predominant view in scientific circles these days is that the universe is insentient and unintelligent whereas the view held by the world's great wisdom traditions has long been that the universe is both conscious and intelligent. In this interactive workshop we will engage in a dialectic process of question and answer in an attempt to see which of these views stands the test of reason and which is the product of blind faith.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 3

  15. It is as it is

    Inner non-resistance to what is leads to a life of Harmony, Simplicity, Love and Peace. Come and try out some inner non-resistance.

    (Dr. Neil McNab) Session 1

  16. 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

  17. Laws, a Path to Freedom?

    Surrounded as we are by laws, regulations, traditions, expectations and other influences, what if we are on the wrong track altogether and on a road full of complications? Let us examine what governs us and the world around us and whether a deeper understanding of the Laws and their purpose can enhance our daily lives.

    (Mr. Michael Smith) Session 2

  18. Learning from Indigenous Cultures

    There’s a growing awareness of historical injustices and continuing 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? We’ll look at how law has been practiced, caring for land and family, and living out the truth of the connectedness of all things.

    (Mr. Frank Kennedy) Session 1

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. Number

    Why did Pythagoras and Plato place so much emphasis on Number? Why does Number appear in so many religions, philosophies and myths down the centuries? Does Number have some universal significance? Or is it just about 1 + 1? If you’re interested in these questions, come along and join in as we explore this most intriguing topic.

    (Mrs. Marita Brewster) Session 2

  22. Pen, Ink & Paper

    Using these three basic tools plus a relaxed hand and an open mind, discover how calligraphy can focus the attention through sight, touch and sound - and create beautiful letters at the same time. This is a practical workshop and no previous experience is required.

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 2

  23. Perception… Perspective… States of Consciousness

    It’s not what we are looking at that matters, but where we are looking from. Come and explore perception and the way it shapes, limits or expands, the world we live in.

    (Mrs. Michele Hutchins) Session 1

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. The Power of Sound

    What is Sound? What is the purpose of sound? What is our sound? Can we be transformed by sound? Can our nation be transformed by sound? All or none of these questions may be answered by this session.

    (Mrs. Lynette Kennedy) Session 2

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. So said Shakespeare: History's most philosophical dramatist

    “To be or not to be. That is the question.” A very good question indeed. What is the answer? Who has it? Who was this man Shakespeare? What/How did he know? “Who wouldst fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life?” Another good question, and poor old Hamlet’s dilemma. So come, seek out a soul-stirring soliloquy or savour a sweet sounding sonnet and…discover your own Shakespeare within.

    (Mr. John Jepsen) Session 2

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. Why Take One Step at a Time?

    How may a “step by step” approach to daily life increase efficiency, creativity, focus and at times lead to surprising outcomes whilst enjoying peace of mind? Trust and patience are keys which we will discuss. 

    (Mr. Warwick Brewster) Session 3

  33. The Wisdom of Eckhart Tolle

    Eckhart Tolle, made famous by his bestselling book “The Power of Now”, reported experiencing a radical spiritual awakening in 1977 when he was 29. He has since "become a spiritual teacher in the eyes of the world". In this workshop we will listen to selected recordings from the man himself and by using a reflective practice aim to hear his words not just as information but as an experience of the underlying truth.

    (Mr. Brett Williamson) Session 2


“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