Educators from the US and several other countries, in town for the 11th International Transformative Learning Conference, at Teachers College, Columbia University, spent a pre-conference afternoon with Institute director Lois Holzman. Her workshop, entitled Spaces to Become A Head Taller introduced the Vygotskian-influenced, performatory psychology-of-becoming to a group of 20.
Conference organizers and Institute colleagues, Ellen Scully-Russ (George Washington University) and Aliki Nicolaides (University of Georgia at Athens), gave the 200 conference-goers several options (of which Holzman’s was one) for ways to explore some on-the-ground, transformational spaces in NYC. Designed to help participants broaden and deepen their exploration of this year’s theme, Spaces of Transformation and Transformation of Space, the pre-conference day activities helped “bring the outside culture and experience of NYC into the conference.”
The Spaces to Become a Head Taller workshop started out at the Institute where the 20 participants experientially explored the social activity of creating spaces in which individual and collective learning and development are a unified whole and accomplished through the activity of performing who we are. The group then moved to the All Stars Project National Headquarters on West 42nd Street. There they toured the 31,000-square-foot performance space and heard first-hand from young people and adults about the impact the All Stars programs (and its overall performatory environment) had on their lives and on challenging the limitations of poverty and exclusion.
There were kudos all around for the “spaces that you generated for our conference goers.” “What a way to begin an academic conference! We loved the space you created.”