Think Tank Grant Recipients
Mind & Life Think Tanks are intimate, two- to three-day, self-organized gatherings designed to advance a particular project or problem within the contemplative sciences. Grants support the travel, accommodations and general organization of Think Tanks to convene small groups of collaborators including scientists, scholars, humanitarian leaders and changemakers, contemplative practitioners, educators and applied professionals to workshop a coherent topic with well-defined deliverables/outcomes and potentially high impact.
Congratulations to our 2018 recipients!
African Contemplative Practices for Healing the Past, for Transforming the Present and for Future Flourishing
Organizer: Lucy Draper-Clarke
Invited Participants: Lucy Draper-Clarke, Warren Nebe, Nonkululeko Faith Busika, Sinethemba Makanaya, Bandile Seleme, Prince Theogene Niwenshuti, Gregory Maqoma, Vincent Mantsoe, Karen Fitzgerald, Dr. Melike Fourie, Caryn Green, Hamish Mabala Neill
Proposed Meeting Date: November 2018
Location: North West Province, South Africa
There is an urgent need for a rigorous empirical qualitative description of African contemplative practices in terms of the current science and Buddhist frameworks, in order to bring the African academic community into the global research efforts to alleviate suffering and enhance human flourishing. The discussion over the 3-day retreat will center on defining contemplative practices in the African context. This Think Tank seeks to bring together scholars and contemplative practitioners from different African traditions to: 1) categorize African embodied (predominantly movement-based) contemplative practices; 2) develop a scheme of classification of their perceived state and trait benefits; 3) design a collaborative, interdisciplinary research agenda; and 4) form a professional learning circle of colleagues committed to community building, knowledge- and resource-sharing, and social transformation through contemplative practice in order to heal the past, transform the present, and allow for future flourishing.
Mindfulness Practices as Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Strategies for Preparation, Implementation, and Assessment
Organizer: Greta Gaard
Invited Participants: Greta Gaard, Zenzele Isoke, Beth Berila, Alex Haley, Doug Kennedy, Louise Delagran, Erik Storlie, Shannon Gibney, David Voelker, Alison Staudinger, Franklin Chen, Sawa Senzaki, Samuel Cocks, Ann Lawton, Kaylee Spencer, Courtney Wells, Mary Wright, Ann Brand, Michelle Hamilton, Terri Karis, Brian McAlister
Proposed Meeting Dates: November 2018; November 2020
Location: Wisconsin, United States
This Think Tank will convene a team of teaching and mindfulness experts to explore the science, the benefits, and potential risks of using mindfulness as an anti-oppressive pedagogy—an approach that helps students recognize the ways that most people are variously privileged and oppressed, understanding how both relations perpetuate suffering for others and for oneself. The team will include 21 faculty from 18 disciplines and 6 institutions. Outcomes will include a coherent set of learning objectives, practices, and assessments for using mindfulness pedagogies in higher education—not only for stress reduction and self-compassion, but also for unlearning oppression and addressing trauma on intrapersonal, interpersonal, social and cultural levels. Within nine months after the Think Tank meeting, participants will contribute or coauthor essays culminating in a book of discipline-specific mindfulness practices for unlearning oppression and addressing trauma in higher education.
Mechanisms of Meditation and Consequences for Clinical Practice
Organizer: Marieke van Vugt
Invited Participants: David Vago, Antonino Raffone, Elena Antonova, Jos Brosschot, Anne Speckens, Heleen Slagter, Philipp Kanske, Judson Brewer, Susan Bogels, Henk Barendregt, Zoltan Dienes, Amber Carpenter, Shaun Gallagher, Thorsten Barnhofer, Brian Ostafin
Proposed Meeting Date: March 2019
Location: Leiden, Netherlands
Mindfulness and meditation are increasingly used in clinical practice to treat conditions such as depression, anxiety and addiction. However, the fundamental mechanisms underlying these practices are not yet well-known and theoretical frameworks are sparse. Two important explanatory mechanisms that will be considered in this workshop are sticky thinking (cognitive fusion) and the sense of self. Experts on these topics from a wide range of disciplines including neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, mathematics and philosophy will collaborate to develop more integrated theories of how those topics are involved in meditation practice. In this workshop, we hope to synthesize their ideas towards common theoretical frameworks, and to define a robust research agenda for future research in this field. Anticipated outcomes include a position paper and a plan for a multi-lab grant proposal to advance work in these areas.