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 $80 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 in November, 2018.

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

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Sunday 25th March, 2018 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

NPCO Duo Recital

The New Palm Court Orchestra (NPCO) is a passionate chamber ensemble, founded in 2011 by Australian pianist and composer Gemma Turvey. The NPCO is based in Melbourne and has a core of nine players comprising some of the city’s most talented classical, jazz and improvising musicians.

Bring the Cultural Day to a glorious close, basking in the brilliant musicianship of pianist Gemma Turvey and cellist Campbell Banks. The program will be a potpourri of classical works and contemporary art music.

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 2

  2. The Act of Drawing

    ‘The practice of observation and response.’ The great works of art throughout history were commenced through the natural impulse to draw. This session will provide guidance and the basic principles of learning to draw.

    (Mr. Phillip Wills) Session 1

  3. The Body is the Shadow of the Soul - an exploration of mind-body medicine

    The metaphysical view of the relationship between body, mind and consciousness sits easily with the world's great wisdom traditions but not so easily with a materialist view of science. This interactive workshop will explore the science and philosophy of mind-body medicine and see what insights it provides for the cause and treatment of a variety of illnesses.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 1

  4. Creative Expression and Self Discovery

    Come and explore the intersection of philosophy, transpersonal psychology and art therapy through creative expression and self-enquiry. No artistic experience necessary.

    (Mrs. Michele Hutchins) Session 3

  5. 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 3

  6. The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

    The Divine Comedy of the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri is the literary masterpiece of medieval Europe. Part autobiographical and part allegorical, the Commedia tells his journey from despondency and despair to the discovery of his true nature. It is the story of every man and woman and can be used as a manual for life. This presentation gives an overview of the work, its timeless quality and how it resonates even today. We will also explore Dante’s influence on medieval society, the Florentine Renaissance and the establishment of the Italian State.

    (Mr. Peter Stoddart) Session 1

  7. Enhance your Handwriting

    Our handwriting is unique to each of us. During this workshop we will experiment how rhythm, repetition and the tools we write with can add character and interest to our writing. Materials will be provided, but if you have a favourite pen, please bring that along.... and your finest attention!

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 2

  8. Gayatri Mantra

    The Gayatri Mantra originated thousands of years ago in the sacred texts of the East where it was said to be the primordial sound of creation. More recently it has been described as having the power of 1000 nuclear explosions and famous scientist said that the Gayatri Mantra was so powerful that it should be carved on the door of every science laboratory. Discover the power and beauty of the Gayatri and allow it to awaken your vital energies leading to health, wealth and wisdom. A practical session requiring no singing experience.

    (Mr. Robert Udovicich) Session 1

  9. Gold Miners’ Guide

    An important hidden rule allows a gold miner to prosper and flourish: they keep the gold and let go of everything else. In this workshop we will apply the gold miners’ wisdom to our own lives, dig a little, and discover how we too can be enriched by this simple secret to smart living.

    (Mr. James Webster) Session 2

  10. Happiness and the seven virtues of the Western tradition

    Can the practice of Courage, Wisdom, Temperance and Justice make you happy? Can Faith, Hope and Charity make you blissful? How can the virtues be applied to daily life? Learn from the wisdom of Dante Alighieri, Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin and others.

    (Mr. Peter Stoddart) Session 2

  11. A History of Justice through 5½ Film Clips

    A history of justice from Ancient Greece to Australia today. Using clips from well known and lesser known movies to illustrate what justice is/is not and to consider, through conversation, whether we are a just society.

    (Mr. Robert Udovicich) Session 3

  12. Illuminating Wisdom - A Taste of Calligraphy

    Beginning with a brief presentation of how the written word can bring words of wisdom to life, this workshop will offer an opportunity to try the traditional art of calligraphy. Experience the tactile delight of the handwritten word. Feel the touch of the nib on paper while watching the wet ink as it glides from the pen, turning shapes into letters on the page. We will focus on a simple script. No prior experience of calligraphy is necessary, just a willingness to give your attention to the pen.

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 1

  13. Islam - A concept of Unity

    What is Islam? What are its origins and its place in the modern world? Can we discover its essence through contemplating its unique approach to art and architecture?

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 1

  14. 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 2

  15. Japanese Tea Ceremony

    Experience the mindfulness and meaning imbued in the Japanese tea ceremony. Learn about the history of this ritual from a practicing student, and how this transformative practice and traditional cultural activity is steeped with wisdom and peace.

    (Ms. Nadia Forlani) Session 3

  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. Learning from Indigenous Cultures

    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? What lessons can we learn? In this workshop we set out to explore some traditions and practices concerning law, caring for family and land, and living out the truth of the connectedness of all things.

    (Mr. Frank Kennedy) Session 1

  18. 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

  19. 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 2

  20. A Meeting of Great Minds: Shakespeare meets Plato

    Is Shakespeare the most famous literary figure of the Western world merely because he was good with words, or was he inspired by something greater than himself? Were his plays a vehicle for philosophy? Who influenced him? Was he a Platonist? This interactive workshop will begin with dramatic 'meeting of great minds' and then explore Platonic themes in Shakespeare's life and plays.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed, Mr. Stewart Morritt, Mrs. Helen Nichol) Session 3

  21. The Organic Labyrinth

    Solvitur Ambulando says St. Augustine of Hippo meaning “it is solved by walking”. Come along and find out why this is so. Why walk a labyrinth? This session covers the history and the most famous 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 on the labyrinth.

    (Mrs. Madonna Rigoni) Session 3

  22. Philo-Jam

    Where does knowledge come from? This spontaneous improvised musical jam may tell us. A small group of musicians who have never played together before and have almost no idea what they will play will be guided by the music itself and enter the realm of immediate timeless unity.

    (Mr. Adam Nicoll) Session 3

  23. 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

  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. Platonic 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

  26. Resilience - Finding your inner strength and stability

    What is resilience? What qualities come together to make a person resilient? How can these qualities be developed to make us more resilient?  This interactive and practical workshop will explore the nature of resilience and how it may be developed and put into practice to meet life’s many challenges and live well…

    (Mr. Michael Luscombe) Session 1

  27. Sacred Art - East and West

    Some works of art and architecture have qualities that immediately bring us to rest. While they are expressions of a culture and an era they also display qualities that inspire us to recognise something timeless within them and consequently within us. Explore the nature of Beauty, Truth and Sacred while contemplating extraordinary works of art and architecture from different traditions.

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 2

  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 1

  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 1

  31. Unleash Your Creative Potential

    All of us were born creative….many of us have just forgotten how! In these changing times, creativity is now considered by some to be as important as literacy. So what is it that allows each one of us to be creative and how do we find it? What did Leonardo Da Vinci know? Learn Leonardo’s secret and other simple, hands-on practical techniques that can be applied in all aspects of your life. This session will help you to rediscover and unleash your creative potential.

    (Mr. Stephen Abrahams) Session 3

  32. Using the Body’s Energy System to Liberate

    Do you react when buttons get pushed? The body itself can be used to transform unwanted emotions which have been stored in the body, mind and heart, and which bind our reactions to situations. Through experiencing the body's energy stream, emotions can be merged with that stream and liberated. This is true alchemy! A practical and instantaneous form of renunciation or letting go. It's exciting and easy. Instant results!

    (Mrs. Jane McNab) Session 2

  33. 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 Jepson) Session 2

  34. Why Trust and Not Fear?

    We were born with trust and later learn 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 1

  35. 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