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The International Class

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    Christine Helm

    for performance activists and other social change leaders
    For practitioners and academics with a range of educational
    and life experiences, and a passion for innovation.

    A 9-Month Intensive Online Program
    Sept 2023 — June 2024

    With deepening social, environmental and political crises worldwide, many who want to make a difference in the world are finding that they need new tools to make social change, to grow, and to develop their communities.

    The East Side Institute’s International Class is a 9-month virtual immersion in creative and cultural approaches to human development, learning, and social change. The course introduces and examines social therapeutics, a philosophically informed, practically oriented method in which human beings develop themselves while building the ensemble, group and community.

    Social therapeutics has influenced both the postmodern and cultural-historical, activity​-​theoretic movements in psychology, education, community and organizational development. And as a unique synthesis of individual and community development, social therapeutics has unlimited potential to reinvigorate social activists and re-initiate developmental social change.

    For over a decade, The International Class has been using and creating tools for long distance learning with diverse groupings. Our faculty have expertise in fostering rigorous and intimate class environments and for mining the ever-expanding potential of technology for creativity and development. Participants in the class have the opportunity to create a global support network, to engage the philosophical, political and psychological issues of their practices and to study as developmentalists.

    Hear what our alumni say:

    During the International Class, I found an international family and community with whom to change the world. The most important thing I came to understand is we human beings are who we are and who we are becoming, at the same time. Being in the world is a continuous and infinite process, we are never finished. I have learned to embrace uncertainty and accept growth opportunities — not as tasks to be solved, but as ways to explore. I am currently working to bring the social therapeutic approach into Latin American and Spanish speaking contexts.

    –María José Castrillo, psychologist and performance activist, Aguascalientes, Mexico

    The International Class has made me learn to challenge some of my old beliefs and to peel away the rigid self-image that we all try to portray. The cultural and economic differences of students in the program gave us an even broader viewpoint on all the topics that were discussed.

    — Ishita Sanyal, psychologist, India

    I’ve been a school principal for 25 years and now work with teachers from four different countries and students representing six different nationalities. The International Class helped me find a path toward creating relational and emotional activities which keep me developing — independent of ideology​, truth, ​labels​ and ​programmatics. I am immensely grateful to Lois Holzman, wh​o​ gave me back the pleasure of learning and teaching in the classroom.

    –Qazi Abdur Rahman, school principal, Oman

    For the last 11 years, I have worked as a CEO of a Brazilian subsidiary focusing on corporate goals and stakeholders’ desires. After a tough year, I decided to take a sabbatical and join the International Class. In the program, I studied with classmates from a variety of social-historical-cultural backgrounds. We explored new performance approaches, tool-and-result methodology, the concept of being and becoming, the magic of play, and the limitations of knowing. I have successfully incorporated these revolutionary ideas into my life, deconstructing and reconstructing myself and my work. It’s been so joyful!

    –André Liberali – Mac Madiba, Brazil

    A Flexible Structure and Curriculum

    Week-long Intensives. The International Class meets for three week-long intensives, one in October, one in February and one in June. Students will have an opportunity to observe and participate in social therapeutic group activities, improv classes, workshops and seminars. Intensives will include an introduction to the Institute’s alliances and initiatives with guest faculty who will introduce cultural, educational and political change organizations that the Institute works with closely.

    Ongoing Study (both live and asynchronous). In between intensives, students continue their studies with International Class core faculty through Google Groups discussion and bimonthly live Zoom calls.

    Public Classes, Events and Workshops. Students will engage in a variety of classes, events and workshops offered to the public by the Institute throughout the year.

    Topics for Week-long Intensives and Ongoing Study include:

    The Politics, Philosophy and Psychology of Social Therapeutics
    Youth Development
    Performance Activism
    The Postmodernizing of Marx, Vygotsky and Wittgenstein
    Play, Performance, Learning and Development
    Improvisation and Theater
    Community Organizing
    Independent Fundraising

    Applications for the 2023-24 program will be accepted through June 15. Tuition is $4,000; and is payable in installments. A limited number of full and partial tuition scholarships are available.

    For more information, contact: Melissa Meyer, Associate Director:

    The East Side Institute is an international education and research center for new approaches to human development and community building. We develop and promote practices that relate to people of all ages as social performers of their lives.

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