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Wise Things Festival is an online festival, promoting the sharing of ideas and experiences that can help all of us be happier, healthier and more successful. The festival will run from 30th July to 1st August 2021. Whether you choose to attend every activity or just one, we hope you’ll find something that makes your everyday feel special. You can save your place for specific sessions below. All sessions are offered free of charge. If you are moved to support this and future events you can do so by clicking "Give Back" above. 

Our Story

We’re a group of volunteers from around the world who have come together to create an inclusive global community in which meaningful ideas and practices can be explored.

The festival is hosted by the School of Philosophy and Economic Science, an educational charity offering knowledge and ideas to help people make sense of their world, offering courses on Philosophy and Economics valuing real-life experience over theory.


Contributors 2021

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Emma Slade

Emma Slade studied at Cambridge University, before starting her career as a financial analyst. However, following a dramatic and life-changing event during a work trip to Indonesia, she left her job and embarked on a process of self-discovery. In 2014, she became the first western woman to be ordained as a Buddhist monastic in Bhutan. Since then, she has founded a charity: 'Opening Your Heart to Bhutan', to improve the lives of children with special needs in Bhutan. In 2017, she published her first book, 'Set Free', which details her inspiring personal story. She has also spoken for Tedx in 2017.

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Satish Kumar

A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish Kumar has been quietly setting the global agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains, and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality. If you would like to purchase Satish's new book 'Pilgrimage for Peace' click here to visit the Resurgence and Ecologist website.

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Dr Craig Hassed

Dr Craig Hassed, OAM, is a leading mindfulness expert and Professor within the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University in Australia. Craig was the founding president of Meditation Australia, is a regular media commentator, and has published 13 books and 14 book chapters. This talk will explore different states of awareness, modes of mind and corresponding effects on brain and body, and then look at how ancient meditative practices such as mindfulness have been rediscovered as an antidote to modern life and its maladies.

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Dave Erasmus

David spends time both OFF grid in his Sussex woodland and ON grid in his studio on the river thames. He coaches emerging family businesses and budding entrepreneurs and cares about fostering our human potential made of our capacity to be creative for the love of it! He is a guest lecturer at the London Interdisciplinary School and UCL, with 4 TEDx talks and has won a debate at the Oxford Union. You can find more about him on his YouTube channel /daveerasmus. His forth coming book on the power of moments as scaffolding to generate meaning in life seeks to help seekers to find the most value from this human experience we are offered. To find out more about Dave, take a look at his website.

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Preethi Gopinath

Preethi Gopinath is an educator, textile designer, product development, and marketing professional with extensive international experience in the area of creative design for home and apparel textiles, CAD (including texture mapping), styling, production, sourcing, merchandising, entrepreneurship, and research with over 20 years of international experience in the textiles industry. She graduated from the National Institute of Design in India where she focused on weaving, printing, embroidery, and garment design. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in textile development, design, marketing and technology at the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as fashion design, business, and management at George Brown College in Toronto. Gopinath has written for TheSweet, and has worked on product and design for Carini Lang, NYC; Springs Global, Canada; and Hua Fang USA. Gopinath’s research explores traditional Gyaser weaving techniques, particularly handloom, silk brocade weaving of Benares, India.

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Robin de Carteret

Robin de Carteret is an educator, facilitator and consultant with a knack for bringing his scientific knowledge to groups in innovative and fresh ways. Using experiential techniques from performance improvisation, systems games and nature connection activities he introduces thought-provoking concepts from complexity science, Biomimicry and systems thinking. He has worked for many years improving sustainability in schools, and was co-founder of Transition Leicester, applying a systems perspective to reviving local communities. He now works freelance with many organisations and educational institutions, nationally and internationally and is currently building a zero-carbon Passivhaus. To find out more about Robin's work, take a look at his website.

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Stefanie Behredht

Stefanie is the founder and CEO of We Go Zero. She grew up in beautiful Salzburg, Austria between the alps and crystal clear lakes. Stefanie trained in real estate management in Vienna but found that she needed to find something that would fulfil her. She is currently based in Amsterdam and Athens, and with her zero waste consultancy, We Go Zero, she aims to inspire people to live more sustainably, and provide resources for zero waste living. Her consultancy is working on a variety of projects currently including connecting the European zero waste network, helping to bridge existing infrastructure to those who want to take action. Click here to visit her website and here for We Go Zero on LinkedIn.

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Vena Ramphal

Vena Ramphal is a Dancer and Wellbeing specialist. Trained in classical Indian dance Vena has performed for royalty, prime ministers and celebrities around the world. Her dance performances have been featured on the BBC and Channel 4. 

For more info about Vena's dance classes click here to visit her website

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Charlotte Hastings

Charlotte has been a trained psychodynamic psychotherapist since 2009 with the backbone of her work being Anthropology, Social Philosophy, and Jungian depth-psychology. People, their stories, and communities have been an abiding fascination for her, leading to further training in Systemic Family Therapy. Kitchen Therapy has been in development since her 1970’s childhood, split between her grandmother’s home cooking and her working mother’s boil in the bag TV dinners. She integrates therapy into cooking to enhance personal and social wellbeing in individuals, families and groups, from her garden studio, outdoors when she can, or in space large enough for a kitchen, people and laughter. You visit Charlotte's website here or visit her Facebook page here. In her spare time she supports UK based charity Chomp which aims to support needs such as food poverty and holiday hunger with meaningful engagement.

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Lindsey Porter

Lindsey Porter is a yoga teacher, author, and award winning wellbeing advocate. In 2015, Lindsey founded Yoga-Nu-U to focus on helping people embrace and accept who they are on and off the mat, making yoga accessible and keeping it real. Lindsey describes her teaching style as fluid and fun, focusing on body positivity, community, and wellbeing..

To learn more about Lindsey's yoga classes click here to visit her website

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Zahra Elaf

Zahra is qualified in teaching both Vinyasa and Yin Yoga. The style she mainly teaches is Yang to Yin Yoga (combining two styles of yoga into one practice) promoting the importance of movement, energy healing, meditation and holistic nutrition. 

To learn more about Zahra's yoga classes click here to visit her website

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Kate Siraj

Kate Siraj is a fully qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner with a BSc in Ayurveda (Manipal, India, First Class Honours) and a Masters degree in Chemistry from Oxford University. She is also a qualified Shadow Work coach and a full member of the Ayurvedic Professionals Association after she completed her clinical Ayurvedic internship training in India (Kochi, Kerala and Hassan, Karnataka). She is a founder and lecturer at The Ayurveda Academy as well as the co-founder of the Ayurveda Practice which promotes balance in all through Ayurvedic practice.

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Joanna Webber

Ayurvedic Practitioner, Teacher & Head of Pukka Herbal Education,  Jo Webber is a fully qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner (BSc Ayurveda, MAPA) and hatha yoga teacher. She is currently Head of Herbal Education at Pukka Herbs and is the founder of AyurvedicYogi in Bristol. She loves to weave the two sister sciences of Ayurveda and Yoga together in an engaging way to support people to feel more empowered about their health and well-being.   She has a Masters in Human Sciences from Oxford University and a Post graduate Certificate in Education. She has 3 children and lives in Somerset.

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Phil Blackburn

Phil Blackburn is a well-recognised Martial Arts teacher, having trained for over 40 years. He has been teaching for 30+ years now. Phil specialises in Eastern Martial Arts, working with energy to a high level. Phil has taught Martial Arts throughout Europe, and further afield, through his connection with the International Bujutsu University. As well as teaching Qi Gong for Pause & Breathe CIC, Phil is a Reiki Master and offers Acupressure and Tapping (EFT / TFT). Pause & Breathe is a not-for-profit organisation, who's mission is all about accessible wellbeing. To learn more about Pause & Breathe and to join Phil's online classes running twice per week, click here to visit his website. 

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John-Paul Bowman

John-Paul works as a music teacher in a secondary school. He studied composition at Guildhall School of Music & Drama and enjoyed commissions for theatre, choirs and orchestras before embarking on a career in teaching. He is also Musical Director of Discantvs, the choir of the School of Philosophy and Economic Science. Occasionally he still finds time to compose, more so when it is for a specific occasion. To hear more of his work check out his Sound Cloud

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Helena Ruinard

As part of her practice as a musician Helena has years of experience playing with major British orchestras for high profile concerts, broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Classic FM & Scala, and commercial recordings. Making music in the community is an increasingly important part of this and during the pandemic she has been privileged to bring music to care settings via online platforms together with other musicians from City of London Sinfonia and Sinfonia Viva. She is committed to delivering creative music-making both to older people in care settings and to children through group music-making activities and is excited to be getting back to this kind of work in person. Take a look at Helena's music via her Youtube channel and keep up to date on what she's up to via her Twitter!

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Zara Wilkins

Zara has been a student in the School of Philosophy and Economic Science for 6 years, and from attending the Practical Philosophy classes, she has discovered the parallels between philosophy, mindfulness and creativity that complement each other greatly. After offering courses on their website called 'A New Way of Seeing' which were in high demand, she is now expanding to create her own art and mindfulness courses. If you would like to see the courses Zara has to offer and her other work, head over to her website!  You can now book the 2nd and 3rd session of The Practise of Seeing via Eventbrite here.