Home / POLITICS / With talks on politics, art, psychology and more, TEDxBerkshires returns July 31 | The Berkshire Eagle

With talks on politics, art, psychology and more, TEDxBerkshires returns July 31 | The Berkshire Eagle

By Clarence Fanto, Special to The Eagle

STOCKBRIDGE — For the third year, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is hosting a series of locally organized TEDxBerkshires talks ranging from community politics to new psychiatric techniques, research on sleep and dreams, and the connections between political protest and music.

The event is on will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 31.

“What’s exciting for us is this unique cross-section of thought leaders from the local community gathering together,” said Ethan Berg, co-organizer with his wife, Jamie. “It’s neat to experience them on the stage and in the audience, all together, all there for learning and sharing ideas.”

“This year, I think people are feeling a lot of stress,” Jamie Berg suggested. “So, in a stressful world we thought this year’s TEDx should have a focus on mindfulness, and what better place to elaborate on that than at Kripalu. Our speakers have been carefully chosen to introduce various aspects of mindfulness.”

The featured speakers include:

– Dr. Andrew Gerber, medical director and CEO of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge. His topic is “Mindcraft: The Evolution of Precision Psychiatry.” He is also associate clinical professor at the Child Study Center at Yale University, adjunct associate professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and associate clinical professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

– Tzivia Gover, author of “The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep and Joy in Every Moment.” Based in Northampton, she is a writer, educator, and certified dream therapist and the director of the Institute of Dream Studies. Her topic is “Joyful Night: How Our Fear of the Dark Can Lead Us Back to Sweet Sleep and Good Dreams.”

– Yehuda Hanani, founder and director of Close Encounters with Music, who will discuss how music and politics can intersect. Hanani is a cello soloist, chamber musician, teacher, essayist and broadcaster. Close Encounters, which originated in Great Barrington, also presents concerts in Miami; Scottsdale, Arizona; Kansas City; Omaha and at the Frick Collection in New York City. At WAMC Northeast Public Radio, he appears on “Classical Music According to Yehuda.” Hanani recently founded the High Peaks Festival, a teaching and chamber music festival in Hunter, N.Y.

– Deb Koffman, discussing “The Healing Power of Making Art.” Her work includes writing, drawing, painting and performance art. “My artwork is about understanding words; concepts, feelings and ideas that don’t make sense to me,” she stated. “Words have the power to ground me and comfort me or twist me into a whirling ball of distress, confusion and fear.”

– State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli on the role of community in politics. He is in his eighth term in the Legislature and is the longest-serving Berkshire representative. The Lenox-based Democrat’s districts includes 20 towns, including three in adjoining Hampden County. His topic is listed as “The Importance of Local Communities in an Increasingly Networked World.” He described TED talks as “very effective and informative, with a global audience. With the right topic, we can get the message out there.”

“The speakers will re ect on stories from their rich lives and share with us uplifting insights,” said Jamie Berg. The format includes 18-minute talks by each speaker, augmented by TED Talks videos.

Kripalu, which has donated space for the event, will offer a full lunch to participants, she said, and also welcomes those attending the talks to take part in midday yoga or meditation classes.

“We are pleased to once again host TEDxBerkshires at Kripalu following last year’s successful event,” Kripalu CEO Barbara Vacarr stated in an e-mail. “The alignment of thought leadership between Kripalu and TEDxBerkshires makes us the perfect setting for this kind of generative gathering.”

TEDx, which promotes the spirit of “”ideas worth spreading,” is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The format is licensed by the international TED organization.

“TEDxBerkshires seeks to re-create the unique experience found at TED, where the world’s leaders, thinkers and doers congregate to share what they are most passionate about,” the organizers stated. “Each TEDxBerkshires program aims to bring powerful ideas to an audience that is as interesting as the speakers.”

The international TED nonprofit organization was formed in 1984 as a conference that brought together people from technology, entertainment and design. Since then, its scope has expanded to include two annual conferences.

TED also includes the TEDTalks video website at www.ted.com.

TEDxBerkshires “is a wonderful fusion of nationally recognized experts in the field and local people who are equally remarkable,” Ethan Berg said. “Hopefully we’ll create a compelling, interesting and provocative day for people.”

Reach correspondent Clarence Fanto at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.

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