School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan
U

Program in Creativity & Consciousness Studies

Program in Creativity & Consciousness Studies class

The U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies is an initiative devoted to theoretical and applied exploration of the nature and development of human creativity and consciousness. Recent years have seen increasing interest in “peak experiences” or “flow” states as not only episodes of heightened performance but apertures into expanded conceptions of the human being.

Many visionaries consider a revolution in consciousness as key to addressing the growing number of challenges facing our world, a proposition that poses exciting, as well as challenging ramifications for the educational leadership of our times. Viewing creativity as the exterior manifestation of consciousness growth, PCCS takes the further step of moving beyond strictly materialist approaches to these realms and embraces insights from the world’s wisdom traditions, including age-old views of consciousness as primary in the broader spectrum of creation. The juxtaposition of mystical perspectives and cutting-edge contributions from the sciences yield an expansive, and culturally diverse and inclusive epistemological framework that is brimming with capacities to transform every facet of the contemporary academy. Learn more about PCCS.

Message from PCCS Co-Directors

Welcome to the U-M Program in Creativity and Consciousness website!

We look forward to welcoming you to another year of stimulating lectures and conversation.

While the topic of creativity is nothing new in higher education, burgeoning fields such as contemplative studies and consciousness studies are more recent additions to academic discourse. As these emergent areas steadily gain traction, we are particularly excited about continuing our exploration of post materialist approaches to this work. Inspired by organizations such as the Institute for Noetic Sciences, Society for Consciousness Studies and Society for Scientific Explorations, we believe the time is long overdue when higher education creates a space for probing the most far-reaching dimensions of human experience and evolutionary potential. As emphasized by our most recent speaker, Dr. Kim Pemberthy from the University of Virginia Division of Perceptual Studies, notions of physically transcendent, nonlocal and collective consciousness are not incompatible with scientific inquiry, and in fact, point toward new paradigms of science that may be the source of important insights regarding how humanity addresses the most pressing challenges of this moment in history.

We hope to see you at one or more of our forthcoming events and applaud your interest in this
exciting work!

Ed Sarath, Professor of Music
Molly Beauregard, Professor of Sociology, College for Creative Studies

Curriculum

A wide range of coursework is available on the U-M campus that intersects with the terrain of PCCS. Common to much of this coursework is theoretical inquiry into the interior dimensions of human awareness and applied exploration of this realm through contemplative methodologies such as meditation. A burgeoning contemplative studies movement, which is galvanized by organizations such as the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, suggests that these practices and studies represent the next major wave in higher education. The BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies program at U-M, moreover, has been regarded as at the forefront of this new wave in moving from single courses to a full degree program with a significant contemplative studies component. It might be noted that core courses in the curriculum (such as 450 Contemplative Practices Seminar, and 455 Creativity and Consciousness) are open to students from all fields regardless of musical backgrounds. An important aim of PCCS is to design a cross-campus version of the Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum that integrates a contemplative component and creativity studies with wide-ranging conventional concentrations.

Contemplative Studies Courses at SMTD

Related Courses from across the University

Note: not every course is offered in each term or for credit in every degree. Check your school’s course guide for more information.

American Culture 262: Native Religious Traditions
Anthro Cultural 416: Global Health: Anthropological Perspectives
Anthro Cultural 448: Anthropology of Religion: Ritual, Sanctity, and Adaptation
Anthro Cultural 449: Metaphor Enacted: Magic, Healing, and Ritual
Asian Lang & Culture 325: Zen Buddhism Immortals, Elixirs and Revelations
Engineering 100: Biotechnology and Human Values (section 2)
German 304: Expressionist Art in Munich
German 304: Freud, Jung, & the Unconscious
German 304: Joseph Beuys
German 309: Imagination
German 386: Fairy Tales
Judaic Studies 470: Models of Jewish Renewal
Judaic Studies 478: Jewish Mysticism
Kinesiology 474: Worksite Wellness
Philosophy 344: Ethics in Health Care
Philosophy 383: Knowledge and Reality
Psychology 231: Brain, Learning, and Memory
Psychology 401: The Psychology of Consciousness
Psychology 418: Psychology and Spiritual Development
Psychology 442: Perception, Science, and Reality
RC SOCSCI 254: Mind and Brain in the Creative Process
RC SOCSCI 360: Perspectives on Creativity and Consciousness
Religion 381: Witchcraft: An Introduction to the Literature and History of Witchcraft
Religion 455: Religion and Society
Religion 465: Islamic Mysticism
Sociology 455: Religion and Society
Sociology 555: Culture and Knowledge
Social Work 734: Complementary, Alternative, and Indigenous Healing Systems
Univ Course 163: Biotechnology and Human Values
Univ Course: Faith and Science

Consciousness Next!

Consciousness Next!
New Frontiers in Mind

The PCCS Consciousness Next! initiative examines a wide spectrum of ideas and phenomena that unite cutting-edge scientific perspectives, the creative vitality of the arts, and age-old spiritual wisdom in pursuit of not only a new paradigm for the burgeoning field of consciousness studies, but new horizons of educational and societal practice and policy.

A growing number of visionaries regard a revolution in consciousness as key to addressing the wide array of challenges facing humanity. If this revolution is to become a reality in the world at large, it will need to take hold in our educational systems.

Consciousness Next! takes a number of bold steps in aspirations to forge new terrain academic consciousness studies and beyond.

Integral worldview: Consciousness is primary

Consciousness Next! embraces a view of the human being and human development in which cultivation of interior dimensions of consciousness is considered foundational to the educational mission. An emergent consciousness-based worldview called Integral Theory, predicated on the spirituality-art-science interplay, provides the basis for a new educational paradigm. The age-old precept that consciousness is primary in the broader creation is also a key integral premise that is placed front and center in terms of its educational and broader ramifications.

Diverse epistemologies is key

Engagement with diverse epistemologies, or ways of knowing, being and creative and spiritual expression, is central to the integral paradigm.[i] Meditation and related contemplative disciplines, including embodied, nature-based and artistic practices, are as vital to a viable 21st century education as the most rigorous modes of intellectual and analytical inquiry in the humanities and sciences. This principle applies to not only creativity and consciousness development, but research as well. Direct experience of pure consciousness[ii] as uniquely invoked in meditation and the moment-to-moment creative turbulence—often accompanied by peak experience, or flow—that is characteristic of improvisation in jazz and across disciplines[iii] are just as essential to understanding consciousness as theoretical, philosophical and neurobiological approaches.

Consciousness Next! promotes the best of all worlds, combining robust and wide-ranging consciousness-based epistemologies with the analytical rigor for which the academy excels.

Challenges materialist conceptions of consciousness

Consciousness Next! takes a strong stance on the shortcomings of materialist conceptions of consciousness. In defining consciousness as reducible, or even epiphenomenal to a physical substrate, the materialist worldview perpetuates a narrow conception of human nature and development that is wholly inadequate to the needs of today’s world. While a gradual retreat from strict reductionism toward a more moderate materialist perspective seems to be evident, the so-called “hard problem of consciousness”[iv]—the question of how conscious experience might emerge from physical reality—looms ever large in materialist circles and strongly suggests.

In addition to materialism’s philosophical conundrums, a growing body of research poses serious, if not fatal challenges, to the physicalist understanding of consciousness. This includes research conducted at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia Medical School that suggests consciousness survives bodily death; findings at the Institute for Noetic Sciences, founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, that support the idea of collective or nonlocal dimensions of consciousness as well as mind-matter interaction; work on dream telepathy at Maimonides Hospital in NYC; and experiments by the US military in remote cognition.[v]

The fact that materialism not only runs counter to most individuals’ experience and intuition, and as examined below from a social justice standpoint, age-old wisdom from cultures across the globe only strengthens the case against materialism and points in the direction of an integral understanding of consciousness.

The socio-political dynamics of consciousness inquiry in the academy

It goes without saying that the possibility of physically transcendent, nonlocal and intersubjective dimensions of consciousness stretches the boundaries of ordinary academic discourse when it comes to the nature of the human being, human potential, and what constitutes valid academic research. Consciousness Next! critically examines the resistance to these findings and ideas in the academy through the lens of paradigmatic change in the sciences and a range of disciplines.[vi] Indeed, when one considers the above possibilities in the context of the mission statements of most academic institutions, which typically proclaim a commitment to a broader vision of human development, questions about what paradigm—the materialist or the integral—are arguably turned on their head.

Parallels between resistance to diverse epistemologies in music and the sciences may be instructive. If improvisatory epistemologies remain at the margins in music studies, one can only imagine the challenges inherent in serious consideration of the above consciousness-based or “psi” anomalies. Yet, just as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach and many musicians of their times were extraordinary improvisers, even if the process is foreign to most of today’s classical musicians, one need not look far within the pantheon of their iconic counterparts in science to find profound openness to inquiry about dimensions of consciousness that extend beyond typical boundaries. Einstein, having witnessed firsthand Mary Sinclair’s gift for remote cognition, emphasized in his foreword to Upton Sinclair’s book Mental Radio the need for science to devote attention to this phenomenon. The scores of studies noted above in recent decades even more strongly supports Einstein’s edict. Unfortunately, this kind of baseline receptivity to paradigmatically challenging ideas does not prevail in the academy, with a growing body of commentary illuminating the patterns of fear, intellectual provincialism and deeply ingrained hostility toward anything that hints at spirituality or mysticism that constrain the study of consciousness.[vii]

Happily, even a cursory look at the leadership and membership of organizations such as the International Consciousness Research Laboratory, Society for Scientific Exploration, Scientific and Medical Network, World Institute for Scientific Exploration, Institute for Noetic Sciences, Society for Consciousness Studies, Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, and Fetzer Institute provides reason for optimism that a consciousness-driven scientific revolution of historical significance may not be far off.

Consciousness Next! has begun to establish ties with these and other organizations in order to render U-M a leading site for this kind of innovation.

Consciousness and social justice

A further Consciousness Next! pillar involves the social justice implications of materialist and nonmaterialist/integral perspectives on consciousness. In confining itself to a limited epistemological range that essentially precludes ways of knowing, being, and creative expression that have been key to cultures across the globe, materialism arguably stands in stark contradiction to the diversity, equity and inclusion imperative to which most academic institutions ardently claim commitment. Consciousness Next!, intersecting with the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies Diversity Next! initiative, draws attention to this consciousness-based social justice contradiction as among the many layers of hegemonic impediments that need to be identified, critically interrogated and addressed if significant strides toward diversity, equity and inclusion in the academy are to be made.[viii]

Application to a broader range of real-world world issues—including ecological sustainability, technological development, educational reform, economic disparity, political and ideological divides (including extremism and its sometimes violent outbursts), and global peace.[ix]

While humanity has amassed unprecedented information about the outer world, this has developed along with unprecedented challenges to the future of civilization as we know it. A growing body of visionaries views a revolution in human consciousness—which from an integral standpoint entails understanding and enlivenment of the interior creative and spiritual dimensions of the human being—as key to humanity addressing these challenges and taking its next evolutionary strides. An integral revolution in creativity and consciousness yields unifying ground that, in a single stroke, radically redefines the educational mission and renders the academy a site for global healing along multiple fronts. While domain-specific interventions will always be needed to address the various crises of the world, a creativity-consciousness revolution grounds these interventions in a vastly expanded conception of the human being and human potential and new kinds of relationship between individuals, their environment, and cosmic wholeness.

The Consciousness Next! series begins with an inaugural lecture by neuroscientist and futurist Julia Mossbridge, PhD, on Premonition. The talk is on Monday, November 5, at Rackham Ampitheatre (fourth floor), at 7pm. Admission free.


Notes

[i] See Ken Wilber,  “Introduction to Integral Theory,” Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, vol 1/1, 1-40. 2006. “Integral Psychology.” Collected Works. Vol. 4. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.

[ii] Charles Alexander and Ellen Langer, Higher Stages of Human Development (New York: Oxford, 1990) provides significant commentary on pure consciousness. Here is where burgeoning consciousness studies and contemplative studies movements could benefit from joining forces. If prevailing distinctions between the two emergent academic fields might be not unreasonably generalized: Contemplative Studies favors epistemology yet remains ambivalent about ontology; consciousness studies—emphasizing the what (ontology) of consciousness but ambivalent about the lens of investigation (epistemology)—succumbs to the reverse. See Ed Sarath, Improvisation, Creativity and Consciousness (Albany: SUNY 2013).

[iii] Practitioners in domains as disparate as business, medicine, education, sociology, law and sports have looked to jazz’s improvsitory foundations for inspiration and guidance for expert practice and innovation in their areas.

[iv] Materialism may be roughly defined in terms of two perspectives. One is the view of consciousness as reducible to a physical substrate, the second—which is a more moderate form of materialist thinking—is the assumption that consciousness is epiphenomenal to, hence a byproduct of, that substrate. However, the elusive nature of the hard problem suggests the need for foundational reexamination of the entire materialist enterprise. See David J. Chalmers, 1996, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (New York: Oxford University Press), and “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 17: 7–65, 2002. In a recent Ted talk, Chalmers reluctantly confesses to what might be an inevitable trajectory for contemporary philosophers of mind: materialism to dualism to panpsychism to idealism (compatible with the integral view).

[v] Imants Baruss and Julia Mossbridge, Transcendent Mind (American Psychological Association), 2017; Kelly, Edward F.; Kelly, Emily W.; Crabtree, Adam; Gauld, Alan; Grosso, Michael; and Greyson, Bruce. 2007. Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield) 2007; Dean Radin, 2006. Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in Quantum Reality. New York: Paraview Pocket Books, 2006. Charles Tart, The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal Is Bringing Science and Spirit Together. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger. 2009. Larry Dossey, 2013, One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House).

[vi] The point is not that every single one of these studies in itself constitutes unassailable evidence against materialism and for an integral worldview, nor that there is no place for further research. Rather, that the sheer scope of this research at this point in time at the very least warrants a kind of fair consideration in the academy that has not—due to fear, intellectual provincialism and bias, and perhaps stilted imaginative capacities—been seen on any significant scale.

It might also be added that Consciousness Next! does not categorically reject (perhaps as a form of reverse hegemony) appeals for retention of a materialist worldview as research and educational template. Nor does it render immunity to alternatives to materialism. Rather, it redirects the onus within the What is Consciousness? conversation. Whereas the burden of justification has fallen on the shoulders of integralists and other non-materialists, now it falls on the shoulders of materialists to advocate their worldview against an integral backdrop that is itself subject to ongoing critical interrogation.

[vii] Among the most recent volumes to significantly address this concern is Imants Baruss’ and Julia Mossbridge’s Transcendent Mind (ibid) which inventories the patterns that define such resistance. This includes “false insistence that there is no evidence,” uninformed dismissal of carefully constructed scientific studies as “hallucination, delusion, or wishful thinking,” categorical rejection of papers from scientific journals “simply due to their content,” and derogatory characterization of this research as “fraudulent.” (p.15-17)

[viii] See Ed Sarath, Black Music Matters (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018) for commentary on the ramifications that extend from understanding of consciousness to a range of these issues, including social justice, environmental justice and peace. Materialism is part of a limited epistemic matrix that fuels racialized hegemony, disconnection from ecological surroundings, and societal and international conflict.

[ix] Ibid.

Diversity Next!

Diversity Next! in an initiative of the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies that seeks to broaden the horizons of diversity deliberations on the U-M campus through the lens of the arts, consciousness/spirituality, and further areas that are not commonly tied to the diversity/social justice conversation. Arts, creativity and consciousness extend the epistemological and cultural scope and help individuals and communities critically interrogate and liberate from conditioned assumptions and behavior that often impede efforts toward social justice and inclusive communities. This invites new perspectives on familiar topics and also helps place front and center areas that may elude conventional diversity discourse altogether.

As discussed below, Diversity Next! intersects with the PCCS Consciousness Next!

Following are a few of the potential themes that might be explored in the Diversity Next! series.

Black Music Matters

While prominent in not only American musical culture but much global syncretism, African American music remains marginalized in the vast majority of music curricula across the nation—a disparity whose ramifications extend far beyond the training of musicians to society at large. The fact that this goes largely unrecognized in diversity conversations within and beyond music studies is particularly conspicuous given the highly charged black-white racial dynamics that riddle our nation. Diversity Next! will critically interrogate this oversight within a celebration of the powerful tools that African American music offers 21st century musical navigation as well as American cultural unity, identity, and healing.

Consciousness/spirituality

Artists often think of their work in terms of a spirituality that transcends (though does not necessarily reject) denominational borders, yet tend to repress this aspect of their work and being—let alone the diversity-spirituality connection—when they set foot in the academy. Indeed, in most cultures, artistic creativity and spirituality are inextricably linked; substantive inquiry into one realm is not possible without significant consideration of the other. Spirituality is thus the connecting link between Diversity Next! and Consciousness Next! Restoring this connection to diversity discourse not only deepens the conversation by recognizing interior dimensions of diversity awareness and growth, it also renders the conversation more inclusive in expanding the spectrum of cultural and other (gender, sexual orientation, philosophical, etc—for all of which corresponding spiritual perspectives may be identified) entryways that may enter into the conversation.

While there is no denying that spiritual concerns pose challenges in not only conventional academic discourse but also in diversity circles; burgeoning contemplative and studies movements in higher education, with no dearth of literature and symposia and curricular initiatives, provide precedent and models for engaging in this area in systematic and rigorous ways. Connections to social justice are also taking hold in contemplative/consciousness studies conversations and research.

Diversity, consciousness and sustainability

While the close relationship between ecological and social justice crises steadily attract attention, this remains a neglected area in diversity discourse. The art and consciousness connection brings multiple perspectives to this issue. One involves the importance of the arts to cultural sustainability and the sense of identity that empowers individuals to not only uncover their own unique gifts, but also to maintain healthy relationships with others and the physical world. Second involves what  robust creative underpinnings of the arts informs these relationships. For example, black music, linking back to the prior theme, provides a model for what might be called “improvisatory ecologies” and “improvisatory hermeneutics” (Sarath 2013, 2016) whereby individuals engage with their social and physical surroundings from the standpoint of the dynamic interplay central to the creative music environment, and critically reflect on the meaning and integrity of these relationships.

Affiliates

PCCS is comprised of a wide range of scholars-practitioners involved in many areas related to creativity and consciousness studies. As the list of Affiliated Faculty indicates, the field connects with virtually every area of campus, and as interest in the interior dimensions that underlie all disciplines grows, we anticipate that faculty and student involvement will expand considerably. While the focus for some colleagues is on innovative pedagogical approaches, for others cutting-edge theoretical and quantitative research, and still others direct exploration of the terrain through creative and contemplative engagement, it is the uniting of all these areas that will define the leadership in this emergent academic field. PCCS is guided by this integrative vision.

Affiliated U-M Faculty

  • Frederick Amrine, Dept. of Germanic Languages & Literatures
  • Robert Anderson, School of Medicine
  • Pamela Andriata, School of Medicine
  • Percy Bates, School of Education
  • Judith Becker, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Rita Benn, Integrative Medicine / Family Medicine / Institute for Research on Women and Gender
  • Donald Clewell, Dept. of Biology
  • James Cogswell, Stamps School of Art & Design
  • James Crowfoot, Program in the Environment / Michigan Community Scholars Program
  • Aditi Dave, School of Medicine
  • David Doris, Dept. of African American and African Studies
  • Jane Dutton, Ross School of Business
  • Jeffrey Evans, Residential College / School of Medicine
  • William Gehring, Dept. of Psychology
  • Eliott Ginsberg, Dept. of Near Eastern Studies
  • Sara Adlerstein Gonzalez, School of Natural Resources & Environment
  • Elizabeth Goodenough, Residential College
  • Patricia Gurin, Dept. of Psychology
  • Melissa Hall, Dept. of Kinesiology
  • Max Heirich, Dept. of Sociology
  • Carol Hutchins, Athletics Department
  • Sharon Kardia, School of Public Health / Life Sciences and Society
  • John King, Vice Provost for Strategy
  • Patricia King, School of Education
  • Susan King, Life Sciences and Society
  • Andrew Kirschner, Stamps School of Art & Design / School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Ram Mahalingham, Dept. of Psychology
  • Richard Mann, Dept. of Psychology; and Program on Studies in Religion
  • Maureen Martin, Development Office
  • George Mashour, School of Medicine- Anesthesiology, Neuroscience
  • Marie McCarthy, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Henry Meares, School of Education
  • David Meyer, Dept. of Psychology
  • Carl Miller, College of Engineering- Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Stephen Modell, School of Public Health
  • Anne Mondro, Stamps School of Art & Design
  • Thylias Moss, Dept. of English Language and Literature
  • Christopher Peterson, Dept. of Psychology
  • Robert Quinn, Ross School of Business
  • Stephen Ragsdale, School of Medicine
  • Beverley Rathcke, Dept. of Biology
  • Stephanie Rowden, Stamps School of Art & Design
  • Edward Sarath, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Brett Seabury, School of Social Work
  • Susan Shand, Athletics Department
  • Martha Winona Travers, School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Karl Weick, Ross School of Business

External Advisory Board

  • Cheryl Banks-Smith, MFA, Dance, Pasadena City College
  • Imants Baruss, PhD, Psychology, Kings College, University of Western Ontario
  • Thomas Brophy, PhD, Co-President & Executive Dean Integral Health & Science Director, California Institute for Human Science
  • Leslie Combs, PhD, Psychology, California Institute for Integral Studies, founder and director, Society for Consciousness Studies
  • Brenda Dunne, PhD, Co-Founder and Director, International Consciousness Research Laboratories, former managing director, Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory
  • Bruce Greyson, Chester F. Carlson Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia
  • Oliver W. Hill, Jr., Ph.D. Interim Dean, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Professor, Department of Psychology, Virginia State University
  • Renee Hill, PhD, Philosophy, Interim Chair, Dept of History and Philosophy, Virginia State University
  • Carolyn Jacobs, PhD, Dean Emerita of the School for Social Work and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor Emerita of Social Work, Smith College
  • Menas Kafetos, PhD. Physics. Chapman College
  • Nancy King, JD, Department of Social Sciences & Health Policy, Institute for Regenerative Medicine., Co-Director, Center for Bioethics, Health, & Society, School of Medicine, Wake Forest University
  • James Lake, PhD. Psychiatry, Stanford University
  • Mitra Martin, Improviser, Founder, Oxygen Tango school
  • Garrett Modell, PhD. Electrical, computing and energy engineering, University of Colorado. Vice President, Society for Scientific Exploration
  • Julia Mossbridge, PhD, Neuroscience, Visiting Fellow, Northwestern University School of Medicine. Researcher, Institute of Noetic Sciences.
  • Kate Noble, PhD. Consciousness studies/psychology, STEM, University of Washington – Bothell
  • Dean Radin, PhD, Psychology, Senior Scientist, Institute of the Noetic Sciences
  • Angela Sanchez, MM, Internationally renowned Jazz Artist
  • Leanna Standish, PhD, Neuroscience, University of Washington School of Medicine, School of Public Health, Bastyr University
  • Joseph Subbiondo, PhD. President Emeritus, California Institute of Integral Studies
  • Chantal Topporow, PhD. Education Director, Society for Scientific Exploration. Vice President of Acquisitions, Development and Special Projects, House of Film
  • Tobi Zausner, PhD, LCSW, Psychology, Saybrook University

Cross-Campus Affiliations

Past Events

2004
“Ecophilosophy: Roadmap for a Future World”
Moore Music Building
Henryk Skowlimnowski PhD (engineering/philosophy)

2006
“Creativity, Consciousness and the Academy”
National Symposium co-sponsored by Center for Contemplative Mind in Society
MacIntosh Theatre

2007
“Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain”
David Lynch (filmmaker)
Power Center

2008
“Sound, Soul and Transformation”
Lorin Hollander (concert pianist)
Burton Tower

“Deep Change: Organizations as Transformative Catalysts”
Robert Quinn, PhD (Ross School of Business)
Residential College

2010
“Improvisation Across Fields”
Amy Chavasse (Dance), Peter Pulverini PhD (Dentistry), Jane Dutton, PhD (Ross School of Business)
Michigan Union

2011
“Science and Spirituality: Marriage of Sense and Soul”
Susan King, PhD (Life Sciences), Sharon Kardia, PhD (Public Health), Richard Mann, PhD (Psychology), Jeff Evans, PhD (Neuropsychology)
Michigan League

2012
“Consciousness and Performance in Art and Sport”
Donald Sinta (Music), Carol Hutchins (Softball coach), Tommy Amaker (Basketball coach), Ed Sarath (Music)
Michigan Ballroom

“American Veda”
Phil Goldberg (author)
School of Education

2013
“Brain-Heart: Understanding the Mind-Body Connection”
Dr. Robert H. Schneider, M.D. (Maharishi International University)
Rackham Building

2014
“What Is Consciousness? Interdisciplinary Conversations on the Nature of the Human Being, Human Creative Development, and the Cosmos”
Donald Degracia, PhD (neuroscience, Wayne State University), Sharon Kardia PhD (Public Health), Stephen Ragsdale, PhD (Biomedicine)
Rackham Building

“Diversity, Consciousness, and Contemplative Engagement”
Meilu Ho, PhD (Ethnomusicology), Brandon Valentine (Ross School of Business), and Ed Sarath (music). Michigan League

2015
“Black Music in the Academy: Moving From the Periphery to the Core in a Global Age”
Kwasi Ampene, PhD (Ethnomusicology), Marion Hayden (Jazz), Brendan Asante (student) Michigan League

“Just This, Nothing More: Meditation Practice and the Art of Improvisation”
Mark Miller (Music, Naropa University) Moore Building

2016
“Nature-Based Contemplation, Outdoor Play, and Sustainability”
James Crowfoot, PhD, Elizabeth Goodenough, PhD, and Martha Winona Travers, PhD
Pierpont Commons
Program in Creativity and Consciousness Open House Palmer Commons

2017
“Expanding the Diversity Conversation: Art, Consciousness, and Social Justice”
Kyra Gaunt, PhD (Music, SUNY Albany) Residential College

“Meditation in the Classroom”
Molly Beauregard (sociology, College for Creative Studies) and Rita Benn, PhD (Integrative Medicine) Burton Tower

2018
“Retrocausation and Transformation: Journeys Across Time”
Julia Mossbridge, PhD (Neuroscience, Institute for Noetic Sciences)
Rackham Ampitheatre

2019
“Religious Naturalism”
Ursula Goodenough, PhD
Zoom lecture

2020
“Indigenous Wisdom in a Technological Age”
Yuria Celidwen, PhD (Independent activist)
Zoom lecture

2021
“New Frontiers in Consciousness Research”
Kim Pemberthy, PhD (Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia)
Zoom lecture

2022
“In Search for Extraterrestrial Technological Equipment”
Avi Loeb, PhD (Professor, Astrophysics, Harvard University)
Zoom lecture

About the Program

Formed in 2005 as a U-M cross-campus network of colleagues interested in creativity and its underpinnings in consciousness, PCCS has convened lecture series, faculty study groups, collaborative teaching and hosted a national symposium called “Creativity, Consciousness
and the Academy.” The recent partnership with the College of Creative Studies will further expand the PCCS scope.

An initial catalyst for the initiative was the creation in 2000 of a BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies degree, among the very first curricula nationwide to include a significant meditation and consciousness studies component. The PCCS “Improvisation Across Fields” initiative has drawn participants from Ross School of Business, School of Dentistry, Music and Athletics.

Coursework in SMTD such as Contemplative Practice Seminar and Creativity, Consciousness and the Future are highly subscribed and attract students from all fields. Guest speakers have included filmmaker David Lynch, religious naturalist Ursula Goodenough, indigenous
mystic/scholar Yuria Celidwen, meditation researcher Steven Schneider, physicist Arthur Zajonc, neuroscientist Julia Mossbridge, author Phil Goldberg, psychologist Richard Mann, Ecuadorian shaman Don Alberto Taxo, and ethnomusicologist Kwasi Ampene. A strong post-
materialist thrust and its intersection with social and ecological justice guides PCCS activities.

The PCCS speaker series is supported by a gift from Tuning the Student Mind.

For more information about PCCS, contact Prof. Ed Sarath.