Edmund O’Sullivan is Founding Director of the Transformative Learning Centre and an award-winning educator. He is the author of numerous books including Transformative Learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century and Critical Psychology: An Interpretation of the Personal World. He is currently revising his transformative learning text in collaboration with other TLC members. Ed was the driving force behind the Spirit Matters Gatherings since 2004; he wanted to bring together leaders of wisdom traditions working on healing human-earth relationships. With his partner Eimear O’Neill and a council of advisors, he has created five such gatherings involving learners, educators, artists, and indigenous peoples from Canada and around the planet. In 2009, he was honoured by being adopted into the Loon Clan as an Elder of the Anishnabe and given the spirit name of the Bear (Macqua). A similar honor took place in Africa when he was adopted as an Elder into the Kikuyu People and was given the African name of Njage. He is also the drummer in a band that goes under the name of “One Earth Spirit.”
Blake Poland is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the director of the Collaborative Program in Community Development at UofT, a co-lead in the development of the new Healthier Cities and Communities hub at the DLSPH, and interim co-director of the TLC. His research has focused primarily on community development as an arena of practice for health professionals, the role of place in intervention design and evaluation (“settings approach” in health promotion), and issues of theory and method in critical qualitative health research. Since 2008 Dr. Poland has reoriented his work to issues of urban environmental justice, the ecological determinants of health, community resilience, dialogical methods, engaging emergence, and social movements as agents of change. He is leading a national study of the emergence of the Transition Town movement in Canada, and is involved in research on energy justice and the emergence of the ‘green jobs’ sector. To this he adds a strong interest in the connection between inner and outer transformation.
Dr. Jamie Magnusson is a faculty member of the Adult Education and Community Development, OISE. She organizes Fighting Out for LGBTQ communities and through the All Saints Community Drop In for Sex Workers. She holds a third degree black belt in Goju Ryu Karate, and has 20 years martial arts training experience.
Eimear O’Neill is a psychotherapist, educator and facilitator in transformative processes at community, cultural and personal levels. Affiliated with the Transformative Learning Centre since 1995, her presentations on intergenerational healing and art as epistemology are international. Since 2004 she has initiated and co-directed the Spirit Matters gatherings and Momentum with Ed and a creative community. In 2008, she led 28 indigenous educators around pre-colonial sites in Ireland. There will be another journey there to heal ancestral wounds in 2016. With Hazel Bell Koski, she is the creative director of Universe, Universe. She teaches and mentors in creative ways around decolonising education, expanding transformative learning and rekindling indigenous Spirit. She and Hazel describe themselves as “change artists”. Her latest publication is “The Place of Creation; Trauma, Transformation and Creative Praxis” in Radical Human Ecology Research Ashgate 2012. See www.eimearoneill.com.
Born and raised in rural Saskatchewan, Brandon’s desire to heal the pain in the world led him to work and volunteer for almost a decade with local, youth-led, and education-focused non-profits across Canada and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Adult Education and Community Development at OISE, where he studies experiential learning through food sharing, and the meaning of interdependence and community in people’s lives. He identifies with Radical Education, Transformative Learning, and Earth Democracy, and is a passionate advocate for meditation and spiritual ecology. Brandon began volunteering with the TLC in early 2015.
Laara Fitznor, Cree First Nation (with German/Scots ancestry) is a member of the Nisichawaysihk Cree Nation in Manitoba, and she was raised in the boreal forests of Northern, Manitoba. She pursued her dream of a university education once she learned that with a university education she was in a position to embrace ways to challenge and counter acts of oppression while advancing Aboriginal/Indigenous knowledge(s), perspectives, histories, experiences, spiritualities, and cultural realities through her career. She assisted professionals (teachers, educators, community workers, social workers, police officers, etc.) to understand the uniqueness of Aboriginal peoples’ histories, philosophies, cultures, languages, spiritualities, knowledge(s), the contested Aboriginal-Canadian relationships, and contributions to Canadian society. She incorporates decolonizing and bridging pedagogies in her work where people learn to challenge past wrongs, coexist and collaborate in a way of transformative possibilities toward relevance, respect, reciprocity and responsibility. Laara has served on boards, councils, committees, grassroots and working groups where the focus of the work was to advance principles of diversity, equity, and Aboriginal rights, knowledge(s), and participation/leadership in the culturally appropriate growth of Aboriginal peoples. Laara teaches Aboriginal Education and Cross Cultural Education for the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. She also taught at the Ontario Institute for Studies of Education, University of Toronto from 1998-2003. Laara’s academic publications include: doctoral thesis Aboriginal Educator’s Stories: Rekindling Aboriginal Worldviews; and book chapters The Circle of Life: Affirming Aboriginal Philosophies in Everyday Living; The Power of Indigenous Knowledge: Naming and Identity and Colonization in Canada, and Indigenous Scholars; and Writing through Narratives and Storying for Healing and Bridging (this chapter is published in a book co-edited by Dr. Laara Fitznor and Dr. Joy Hendry titled ‘Anthropologists, Indigenous Scholars and the Research Endeavour).
The late Anne Goodman taught in the Adult Education and Community Development program at OISE. She was Director of a Certificate program in Community Healing and Peacebuilding and had been previously co-Director of the Transformative Learning Centre (TLC). Anne was a founding member and president of InterChange: International Institute for Community-Based Peacebuilding. Anne died with great grace and dignity after a short battle with cancer in August 2013. She continues to inspire.
Budd Hall is co-founder of the Transformative Learning Centre, UNESCO Chair in community based research and social responsibility in higher education School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria. Life-long adult educator, founder of CASAE, he is also a poet.
Daniel Schugurensky is currently Professor at Arizona State University (School of Public Affairs and School of Social Transformation). He is the founding director of the Participatory Governance Initiative there. Previously, he was the coordinator of the Adult Education and Community Development Program and the co-director of the Transformative Learning Centre.
Mark Hathaway is a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar and a PhD candidate in the Adult Education programme at OISE/UT. His research explores the processes of transformative learning involved in developing an ecological worldview and in cultivating ecological wisdom. Together with Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, Mark co-authored The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Orbis Books, 2009, www.taoofliberation.com) which explores the political, economic, and psychological dimensions of the current ecological crisis as well as cosmological insights related to processes of transformation. This book was launched at the Transformative Learning Centre in 2009 and has since been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian. In addition to his academic research and teaching, Mark has extensive previous experience working on social and ecological justice issues in the non-profit sector in both Canada and Latin America. He currently lives in Toronto with his spouse, Maritza, and his daughter, Jamila.
Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation at Six Nations Grand River Territory, traditional Indigenous wisdom teacher, ceremonial leader, healer, writer, educator, convergence activist http://www.soulofthemother.org/board.html.
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Jeannette McCullough, a Shamanic Practitioner and Educator, and Registered Nurse, has served in a variety of ways in all of the Spirit Matters gatherings and TLC events. Jeannette’s work in the world is fostering community, healing and empowerment through ancient sacred ways. She also weaves the work of elder and eco-philosopher, Joanna Macy, into many of her offerings. Jeannette is a founding member and served for three years on the executive of the Complementary Therapies Nurses’ Interest Group, and she chairs the Spirituality In Health Care Network in Toronto. She is also a founding member of the international Society for Shamanic Practitioners. Jeannette considers herself a member of the Transformative Learning Center tribe. www.shamansong.ca
Larry Nusbaum is a musician, storyteller, psychotherapist, and a physician. He uses music, personal stories, and inner communication tools to unlock the healing power of our imagination and free the magic we all carry within. He has been teaching and offering his unique blend of arts and medicine internationally for over 20 years. Larry has been the heartbeat of Spirit Matters and TLC since 2007. As Deena Metzger has said of him, he is “not only a medical man but a true medicine man”. Larry uses his creative knowledge of the body and of rhythm to heal interpeoples and intergenerational wounds in Israel and in Palestine, in Canada and the US. With Ed O’Sullivan, Reeves Miller and Paul Royes, he is a member of the band One Earth Spirit.