Cultural Day

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

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 on March 22nd, 2020.

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

Sunday November 10th, 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

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Read by Mr. Stewart Morritt, Mrs. Anastasia Morritt and Mr. James Webster

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was written in 1797. It relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage and uses narrative techniques such as personification and repetition to create a sense of danger, the supernatural or serenity.

Bring Cultural Day to a glorious close with this performed reading by ex-professional actors who bring the poem spectacularly to life, underpinned by a musical score to highlight the different moods of the plot.

Workshop Details

  1. 100 Years of Life

    The Isha Upanishad begins “Should one wish to live a hundred years on this earth, one should live doing Karma”. We are increasingly living longer but are we living healthier lives? Are we getting wiser as we age? What lessons can we learn from communities around the world that are living to 100 with less chronic disease? How does this align with what the wise tell us? There are simple choices we can make to ensure a healthier happier life. We will discuss what they are.

    (Mr. Stewart Morritt) Session 2

  2. Abhinaya the Dance

    Movement, connecting with the senses, expression and freedom are some of the keys to 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 let me share with you why I love this form of dance. No dance experience needed. Dress for comfort.

    (Miss Fua Evile) Session 1

  3. Adventures in Inner Space

    Does the creation or the universe expect something from us? Does life just happen? What do we humans need to accomplish in this life? Does living like the celebrities, the super rich, constitute the “good” life? Do we decide about this for ourselves, or does the media, society, or some other outside authority? Are there any authorities we can trust about the life well lived? Join me in exploring these and related questions, to see if we can arrive at a reasonable answer. At least we may journey to a point from where we can see a destination more clearly.

    (Mr. George Telkes) Session 1

  4. All in Knots (or Celtic Knots De-mystified)

    The use of interlace patterns have been woven through the artwork of many cultures across the centuries — think of Ireland's Book of Kells, Islamic art, Buddhist mandalas, to name a few. In this practical workshop, you’ll learn a simple system to draw seemingly complex Celtic knots by hand. No prior experience is necessary.

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 2

  5. Allowing Philosophy to Help Us Find 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

  6. The Art of One Love, One Relationship

    This practical presentation looks at the nature of “relationship” and how we might come to experience One essential relationship with all — whether they be partners, family, friends, acquaintances, even complete strangers. We’ll consider the unifying nature of Love and how this might inform how we look on the world.

    (Mr. Tim Rogers) Session 3

  7. The Art of Self Discovery

    Dialectic is an ancient art of conversation made known in the West by Socrates, through the writings of Plato. Its aim is to discover the Truth, ultimately about your own Self (“Know thySelf”). Let’s dive deeper into this art and ultimately penetrate the depths of our own Selves through practise. The discoveries are always phenomenal, enlightening and deeply refreshing. See for yourSelf!

    (Mr. Rajesh Bhandari) Session 3

  8. An Ayurvedic Approach to Mental health

    The ancient Indian holistic medicine system of Ayurveda approaches mental health from both a spiritual and a physical standpoint. This will be a highly practical workshop focusing on mental health (as distinct from mental sickness) to help you live a happy and fulfilling life.

    (Mrs. Philippa Street) Session 2

  9. 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 2

  10. Calligraphy: Pen, Ink and Paper

    Have you ever experienced the joy of writing with a calligraphy pen? Watch and feel the ink as it flows out of the pen at your fingertips and take delight in the handwritten letterforms. This is a practical workshop and no prior experience in calligraphy is necessary.

    (Mrs. Deirdre Hassed) Session 1

  11. A Case of Mistaken Identity?

    Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? Did you know police use a systematic approach and set of procedures to determine someone’s true identity when solving serious matters of mistaken identity. From a philosophical and spiritual point of view, one’s true identity can be sought through self-discovery, and eliminating who you are not. In this workshop, we’re going to use the story of Adam and Eve, from the Book of Genesis, as a guide to exploring who we are and how we mistakenly become what we are not.

    (Mr. Chris Ford) Session 1

  12. Creative Expression and Self Discovery

    “Creativity is a defining quality of the human spirit, a force of nature, the mainstream of imagination accessible to all,” says Shaun McNiff, author of Art as Medicine. All of the stresses of our lives are stored in and affect the body, often creating distress and imbalance, which are reflected in our emotional and mental states. Creative expression can be a powerful means for personal transformation, emotional and spiritual healing. Come and join this practical workshop with Art Therapist Michele Hutchins. No artistic ability necessary.

    (Mrs. Michele Hutchins) Session 3

  13. 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’ll 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 2

  14. Finding Serenity in Japanese Gardens

    Traditional Japanese gardens have a very different form from those we’re familiar with in the west. They spring from a different inspiration and philosophic stance, but the one thing they all have in common is an overriding quality of profound serenity. We’ll explore the forms of the Japanese garden, their symbolic meanings and why they are so peaceful.

    (Mrs. Lorraine Martin) Session 2

  15. Freedom and Me

    What is Freedom and how does one attain it? Do we have to sell all our worldly possessions and live like a hermit or be fabulously wealthy to attain true freedom? This talk looks at our deep desire to be free, and also our resistance to that desire. Can we be, as Shakespeare puts it, “bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space”?

    (Mr. Tim Rogers) Session 2

  16. Heartfulness

    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 book Heartfulness: Beyond Mindfulness, Finding Your Real Life.

    (Dr. Stephen McKenzie) Session 1

  17. How Do I Make Better Choices?

    If it’s choice, not chance that determines our destiny, what destiny are you choosing? The decisions that we make moment by moment, day by day, are steering a course for our lives. By understanding the choices we make and the basis for those decisions, we can begin to steer a more conscious path for our lives. This workshop will help you to make more conscious choices for your life’s path.

    (Mr. Stephen Abrahams) Session 3

  18. The Intimate Relationship between Humanity and Earth

    How do we see our relationship with land? Where does Justice fit in? How does this affect Economics? How does Economics affect us? Justice is the ethical basis of Economics, and our understanding of our relationship to the Earth is critical to realising that Justice. There is a right and lawful way to relate to nature, which, if well understood and followed, offers a natural way of living in harmony with each other in our sharing of nature. Practical philosophy indeed!

    (Mr. James Webster) Session 3

  19. Introduction to the Enneagram

    Who are we really? The Enneagram is an ancient spiritual concept of great richness and depth, and can be a profoundly powerful as a tool of personal self discovery and transformation. If you’re curious to know more, this session may be for you!

    (Mrs. Christine Harris) Session 2

  20. An Introduction to Sanskrit

    This ancient language holds the deepest aspects of knowledge of one’s own self as well as the most profound philosophy. The journey inwards starts with hearing the language and having it clearly in mind. Among languages, Sanskrit grammar is the most eloquent and explicit so that it is possible to determine the subtlest meaning through analysis of the words. We will start the process by hearing the sounds of the alphabet, and learning an ancient verse.

    (Dr. Barrie Mayall) Session 1

  21. Islam: Unity in Diversity

    One approach to discovering the essence of Islam is to explore its unique architecture, which reflects the spiritual message of Islam. This survey includes the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the brilliant glazed domes of Isfahan and the magnificent Taj Mahal in India.

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 1

  22. 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

  23. Kahlil Gibran: Wisdom for Life and Living

    Kahlil Gibran’s sublime poetry is said to be the most often quoted verse of the 20th century. His books have been sold in the millions and read at significant life milestones, especially weddings and funerals, for its wisdom, practical guidance and spiritual inspiration. This workshop explores some of his major themes, particularly as expressed in his most famous work The Prophet.

    (Mrs. Lorraine Martin) Session 1

  24. 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

  25. Learning from Indigenous Cultures

    How much do we know about what underlies 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. We’ll also briefly discuss the recent trip that a group of us took to some Aboriginal communities in NT. You can get an advance taste of this workshop at

    (Mr. Frank Kennedy & Miss Fua Evile) Session 3

  26. 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

  27. Living with a Modern Mind

    This fast-paced world in which we live is not that good for our minds. We seem to be endlessly jumping from one distraction to another, one TV station to another, never really finding any respite. Is it any wonder life can seem a little shallow? In this discussion group, we’ll explore the root causes of this and look at strategies to find a more fulfilling way to live.

    (Mr. Tim Rogers) Session 1

  28. The Magic of Haiku

    Haiku are short poems that originated in 17th century Japan, but are now popular worldwide. In their few words, haiku can create magic, whether they celebrate the natural world, express a personal experience or emotion, or make a powerful statement about the nature of reality. In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss the origins of haiku and how they’ve developed over the centuries. We’ll look at famous examples of haiku from east and west, and learn about their form and structure. Participants will be encouraged to create a haiku of their own to share with the group.

    (Ms. Sue Helme) Session 3

  29. A Philosopher’s Take on Genetics

    The scientific understanding of genetics has gone through a revolution in recent years and has, in many ways, aligned more closely with the ancient philosophical and metaphysical view of life. This interactive session will explore genetics and its younger cousin, epigenetics, to see what light they can shed on mind-body medicine, the health effects of meditation, and the causes of chronic disease.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 1

  30. 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

  31. Resilience: Finding Your Inner Strength

    At certain points in life, we’re all faced with challenge and adversity. How do we respond under these pressures? Are we resilient? This interactive and practical workshop will explore the nature of resilience and examine the lives of some everyday people who’ve been exceedingly resilient through great difficulty. Can we build our capacity for resilience and meet life with greater confidence, stability and happiness?

    (Mr. Michael Luscombe) Session 1

  32. Sacred Art: East and West

    Some works of art and architecture immediately uplift us. They possess a timeless nature reflecting qualities wherewith we may discover the sacred within ourselves. Discover how to contemplate such works with Beauty, Proportion and Truth.

    (Mr. Garry Martin) Session 2

  33. 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 would 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

  34. 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

  35. Two Leonardos

    Two Leonardos, one a giant of the Renaissance who died 500 years ago, the other a philosophical giant of the 20th century, who founded the School and died 25 years ago. What wonderful creativity did these great human beings have in common? What is their legacy?

    (Mr. John Jepsen) Session 2

  36. Vocal Toning for Wellness

    Using sound, we discover those that heal different parts of the body, senses and mind. We’ll compare various mouth positions and their effects on the muscles of the face and on sound. We will look at research on sound, and note the effect that Sanskrit has on neural pathways in the brain. The sounds and mouth positions of the Sanskrit alphabet positively affect mental and physical wellbeing.

    (Mrs. Jane McNab) Session 3

  37. Was Shakespeare a Platonist?

    Not much is known about the life of William Shakespeare, nor the people and literature that influenced him and his writing. There are hints, however, in his plays and sonnets to suggest that he was deeply influenced by the Platonic revival during the Renaissance. This interactive workshop will explore whether Shakespeare was a Platonist by focusing on historical and literary threads linking him with the Platonic tradition as well as passages from Shakespeare's works.

    (Assoc. Prof. Craig Hassed) Session 2

  38. When Art Meets Philosophy

    The purpose of art is to communicate. What it communicates is the question! Meet an artist and a philosopher. Join their conversation about intention and technique and watch your appreciation expand! We’ll explore the skill, love, devotion and intention in a few great works of art. Such exploration enlivens the art and ignites the heart; it’s all very simple!

    (Mr. Phillip Wills & Mrs. Helen Nichol) Session 3

  39. Who’s Really in Charge?

    An exploration into, and a perspective on, the mass of rules, regulations, expectations, desires, environmental and other factors which appear to drive our everyday existence, leaving us rundown with barely enough energy to go again. Is that all there is, and is this how it’s meant to be?

    (Mr. Michael Smith) Session 2

  40. 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’ll 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 3

  41. 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’ll 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 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