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 2019.

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

Sunday 24th March, 2019 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

Musical Recital

by Ms. Georgina Docherty and Mrs. Krishna Martin

Bring the Cultural Day to an uplifting close, listening to the glorious voice of Ms. Georgina Docherty as she sings a selection from classical and contemporary music, accompanied by the classically trained pianist, Mrs. Krishna Martin.

Ms. Docherty is a vocalist with international experience. She is also a Cantor at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hawthorn where she directs a community choir. Singing has always brought her great joy, and she is passionate about music and its ability to connect people to their heart. 

Mrs. Martin is an acclaimed and highly skilled pianist and who has performed extensively around Melbourne and overseas, both as a guest soloist with orchestras and with other professional musicians. As well as her love of performing, Mrs. Martin is a passionate teacher of piano, with a particular love of teaching young children.

Workshop Details

  1. Abhinaya the dance

    Movement, connecting with the senses, expression and Freedom are some of the art of Abhinaya. An ancient form of Dance which means ‘leading the audience towards’ the experience of Abhinaya. Join me to experience such a wonderful art and for me to share with you why I love this form of dance. No dance experience needed. Dress for comfort.

    (Miss Fua Evile) Session 1

  2. Being Happy

    Where do we find happiness? How do we become happy? Traditional wisdom tells us that true happiness is found within our being. Living a life according to the virtues results in happiness. This presentation will look at the advice of various philosophers on happiness and pose the question “What do I need to do to achieve lasting happiness?”

    (Mr. Peter Stoddart) Session 1

  3. 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

  4. Democracy on Trial

    These days democracy is held by many to be the highest form of government, but in Socrates' and Plato's league ladder, democracy came 4th out of 5 and only one step away from tyranny. In this interactive exploration into the types of government we will attempt to determine whether democracy really is at the pinnacle, or whether Plato should have been given hemlock, as well as Socrates, for daring to question democracy's pre-eminence.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 2

  5. Dialectic - Discourse that Uplifts and Enlightens

    How many of our waking hours are spent in conversation? How much of that conversation is uplifting and enlightening? How might that proportion be increased? The art of discourse or conversation is one that can be greatly improved by guidance and practice. In this session we will learn some basic principles that we can follow and we will also gain some practice that will help us to spot the pitfalls that can so easily hinder the development of an uplifting discussion.

    (Mrs. Marita Brewster) Session 1

  6. Dialectic - Practice Makes Perfect

    We hear a lot of buzz words such as 'Dialectic' around the halls of philosophy and may even have some ideas about them. This workshop will give you hands-on experience of dialectic, with ample time to practise the art of dialectic with fellow students. The aim of Dialectic is to discover the truth, beyond any doubt, about the topic you are investigating. Come along and enjoy discovering this universal gift.

    (Mr. Rajesh Bhandari) Session 3

  7. Divinity in Design

    The creative principle in each of us delights in natural order. Great works of art, music and architecture speak directly to the intelligence of the heart - beyond the senses and mind. A work of conscious design connects us instantly to the mystery of human existence and our relationship to the Divine.

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 1

  8. Ethics

    The subject of ‘ethics’ is on the lips of many in the professional and business worlds and in the general community at large. Recently the leader of a bank, responding at the banking royal commission, said: ‘It depends on what you mean by ethics’. During this interactive workshop we will reflect upon what ethics may mean in truth and how it may be applied in practice. How can we remain ethical in our thoughts and actions in a sometimes unethical world?

    (Mr. Warwick Brewster & Mr. Stephen Abrahams) Session 3

  9. Introduction to the Enneagram

    "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise." Lao Tzu. This session provides a basic introduction to the Enneagram, an ancient and very useful tool to help us discover who we really are - a spiritual presence living a human embodiment. If you wish to know yourself better, and gain greater personal wisdom as a result, this session maybe for you.

    (Mrs. Chris Harris) Session 2

  10. Islam - A concept of Unity

    What is Islam? What are its origins, history 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 2

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Learning from Indigenous Cultures

    How much do we know about what underpins the world’s oldest surviving continuous culture, here in our own country?  What sort of spirituality and philosophy has been practiced? What lessons can we learn? We’ll set out to explore some traditions and practices concerning lawfulness, carefulness about family and land, and living out the truth of the connectedness of all things. You can get an advance taste of this workshop at

    (Mr. Frank Kennedy) Session 1

  14. 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

  15. The Magic of Haiku

    The Haiku is a short three line poem that originated in Japan. A haiku can celebrate the natural world, express a personal experience of a moment in time, or make a powerful statement about the nature of reality. In this interactive workshop we will discuss the history and philosophy of haiku, share famous examples of haiku, and learn about their basic structure. Participants will then have the opportunity to write their own!

    (Ms. Sue Helme) Session 3

  16. Mental Health and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra

    A practical discussion looking at Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to find a way to mental vitality, balance, happiness and a harmonious heart.

    (Mrs. Philippa Street) Session 2

  17. The Mindful Labyrinth

    This session will cover the history and types of labyrinth, its sacred geometry, symbolism and relevance as both a practice in mindfulness and a spiritual tool in our time. You will be shown how to draw a classical finger labyrinth. The session will conclude with a guided walk on the labyrinth.

    (Mrs. Madonna Rigoni) Session 3

  18. Mindfulness: The Blue Pill or the Red Pill?

    Are we better off waking up or staying asleep? Is ignorance bliss? What are the blue and red pills? According to the wisdom traditions ignorance is not bliss and we desperately need to wake up. Mindfulness is one way of doing that. It is both a form of meditation and a way of living. In this practical and experiential workshop we will explore the science, practice and philosophy of mindfulness and why we should take the 'red pill'.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 1

  19. The Mind that Creates Happiness

    Explore the science of thinking in order to reveal why we do what we do and feel what we feel. Deepen your understanding about the mechanics of the mind and how to use the gifts of its powerful system to live the life you want.

    (Mrs. Jane McNab) Session 2

  20. The mystical aspect of Sanskrit

    Of the many uses of language, that directed towards the mystical or spiritual is the most challenging to understand, interpret and integrate. To move in this direction is going against the stream but is certainly possible and definitely rewarding. The journey starts with hearing the language and having it clearly in mind, moves to grasping the meaning through analysis, and then to integration in one’s being and expression through the life one lives. Start the journey and see where you arrive.

    (Dr. Barrie Mayall) Session 1

  21. Perception, perspective and 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

  22. 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, maintain, 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

  23. 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

  24. Plato in the Modern World

    Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, wrote his dialogues in the 5th Century BC. He was addressing the issues that the world was facing at that time. What issues do we face in our own modern day world? And how might Plato’s writings assist us in addressing those issues? In this session we will explore some of those issues and examine some words of Plato to see how he might help us.

    (Mrs. Marita Brewster) 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. Psychology and Philosophy

    Psychology has come a long way since it emerged from its philosophical origins like the moon leaving planet Earth, or has it? Has psychology’s increasing scientificness and decreasing philosophicalness meant that it is improving its ability to answer our small human questions at the cost of losing its ability to answer our large human questions? This thought and beyond thought provoking presentation will explore how psychology can help us Know Thyself, by exploring its history and future - from philosophy to science - and back.

    (Dr. Stephen McKenzie) Session 2

  27. Raising Children

    “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them”. How does Jordan Peterson’s 5th ‘Rule for Life’ sit with ancient philosophical wisdom on the issue of raising children? What have some of the greats had to say? This workshop looks at the challenges facing families today and will consider ways of meeting them.

    (Mrs. Melanie McKenzie) Session 3

  28. Resilience – Finding your inner strength

    What is resilience? What qualities come together to make a person resilient? How can these qualities be developed? 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 in order to live with greater confidence, stability and happiness.

    (Mr. Michael Luscombe) 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. Soul Searching

    Do I have a soul? If so, what is it? How do I recognise it? Is it transient or eternal? How do I take care of it? This presentation will investigate the concept of soul using the words of various philosophers to guide our understanding.

    (Mr. Peter Stoddart) Session 2

  31. 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

  32. 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

  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