Iain McGilchrist – Talks and Workshops



Iain McGilchrist’s 14 lectures are supplemented by a rich variety of optional talks and workshops as listed below

Click here to find out more about the event and to register interest

Iain McGilchrist - Talks and Workshop images



Paradigm Shift In Education? What Can We Learn From Iain McGilchrist? by Jenny Mackness


Jenny MacknessMany educators are concerned with the increasing instrumentalism of our education systems, where students are thought of as future economic assets. There are also concerns about the almost exclusive focus on a ‘back-to-basics’, essentialist approach in our schools. Some are happy with the existing system, others call for more progressive, existentialist approaches, and/or the greater integration of values such as integrity, diversity, inclusivity, and compassion. 

Iain McGilchrist has said that our current thinking is increasingly dominated by the left hemisphere’s narrowly focussed way of attending to the world. He believes that nothing short of a paradigm shift will bring about the change needed to counter this dominance. 

Jenny Mackness at Field & Field Iain McGilchrist event. John Cleese listening in.

In this session we will discuss some of the key themes that run through The Master and His Emissary, themes such as two ways of knowing, flow, embodiment, depth and breadth. Could these themes be used to bring about a paradigm shift in education, i.e. a shift towards the right hemisphere’s way of attending to the world? In this workshop, we will explore if and how this could happen.

Jenny Mackness’ career has included teaching, teacher training, education consultancy and educational research.  She has a PhD and Masters in Education.  Jenny has closely followed the work of Iain McGilchrist since shortly after the initial publication of The Master and his Emissary in 2009, and has attended all the Field and Field courses on The Divided Brain, since 2015.


Group Creativity and Musical Circulating by Tywi Roberts

Tywi RobertsThis is a practical session with instruments, in which Tywi Roberts will introduce a simple yet incredibly deep musical device known as circulating. No previous experience with music or the guitar is required in order to participate in this workshop. 

Dr Iain McGilchrist has described the process by which one learns a piece of music – first we encounter it and get a sense of the material as a whole. Then we must break it down and study its constitutive elements – timing, rhythm, key, form, phrasing, tone, etc. 

Field & Field, Iain McGIlchrist event. Music workshop with Tywi Roberts.Finally: we must put this thinking aside and play the piece as a whole again – returning to the music as we first encountered it. This workshop will give a small taste of this process, and, if we are fortunate, perhaps an encounter with music. The open and accessible approach to music we will apply places emphasis on presence, rather than on musical technique or knowledge of theory. If we can be available in the circle, music is often not far away. 

A limited number of guitars will be provided, but participants are highly recommended to bring their own instruments if possible:

  • Any acoustic guitar in standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-e) is ideal.
  • Other instruments are also welcome – smaller and mobile being especially suitable (ukulele, flute, recorder, violin, clarinet, etc).

Tywi Roberts Orchestra ImageTywi John Hywel Roberts is a musician in the final year of his PhD in composition at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He has composed for ensembles large and small, and regularly performed solo and with groups since his teenage years – as a guitarist, singer and electronic artist. He has frequently worked in the context of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft courses since 2005, performing with the League of Crafty Guitarists and related ensembles in Europe and the USA.

Creative work is serious play.” – Guitar Craft Aphorism


The experience of time passing: Time Line by Jane Turner

Jane TurnerTime flows, passing more or less rapidly, except when it stands still or stops altogether. That’s how we say it feels and the words we use to describe it. Iain McGilchrist’s work helps us appreciate how the two very fundamental ways of conceptualizing time – as flowing or fixed – reflect the specific ways in which the two hemispheres make sense of temporal experience. The right prefers to think of time as an on-going process, giving way to the notion of duration, whereas for the left, with its preference for order and sequence, time is a series of “points”, a succession of distinct, discernible units. 

 “In time” and “through time”, terms taken from the Time Line model to evoke our experience of time, overlap quite adequately the notions of duration and fixity. In this talk, we’ll explore the “Time Line”, how time and space are interconnected, how metaphors of time use space and those of space, time. 

Alley way - Jane TurnerClock - Jane TurnerA clinical psychologist, I am quite conscious of how the awareness of time and space as an embodied experience is essential to the development of psychological health and well-being, as well as how experience of time differs in mental suffering – frozen in trauma, speed in mania; slow, sluggish in depression.

As a professional I have written several books, one on the subject of this talk came out in the 3rd edition in 2019 under the French title “Bien diriger sa vie avec la Ligne du Temps” (Take charge of your life with Time Line). An American, I Iive and work in Paris as a trainer, coach, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist and supervisor. 



Being in the body-sound bridge by Anne L Ryan

This is a 75 minute introduction to my body-sound 2-day (12 hours) workshops. In this creative safe space we will explore vocal sound in the body. By improvising with body-sound, tensions and holding patterns in the body ease, and the mind becomes rested.

Being with the body, encouraging slow movement, and focusing gently on the breath, the body becomes relaxed.  Taking time to tune to your own rhythm, the body’s system slows into moving stillness.   From a deep quiet space, we tune to the impulse to make sound.  Working from this soft space, gently we begin to sound our own emotional healing bridge. 

Over time the body is replenished and revivified. It opens a space for the expression of our individual body-sound and our unique way of being.

Workshop: limited to 12 participants

Wear loose warm clothing  

Bring a yoga mat or rug to lie on, and a blanket for warmth

About Anne L Ryan

Anne L Ryan

My career began as a singer, performance artist and vocal coach. Working with performers, I am drawn to how lyricism and intonation portray emotion, and how physical movement also plays a role in affecting vocal expression. In my work I use creative arts, body work, music, breath and voice to explore this intricate relationship to bring about the unique sense of well-being open to us all.

Anne L Ryan is a Body Psychotherapist working towards accreditation with UKCP and Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, Ditton Walk, Cambridge. Her consulting room is in the Practice Rooms, Oxford, where she holds workshops to explore vocal sound in the body-mind relationship.

Spirituality in Research, Professional Practice and Education by Annalisa Burello

Annalisa BurreloAn initial fascination about the source of human artistic creativity led to a much deeper research about the nature of spirituality. This involved excursions into Art, Psychology, Spiritual Studies, Meditation and Neuroscience. 

Each discipline brought to light a different aspect of spirituality, each with emphasis to a specific dimension.

However, from the outset, various disciplines stumbled on the general ‘ineffability’ of, and a seemingly lack of consensus about, what constitutes a spiritual experience. Nevertheless, spiritual practitioners and most transpersonal psychologists seem to converge on the essential experiential nature of spirituality. 

This talk aims to present a more integrated multidisciplinary approach to this topic and hopefully to stimulate a discussion about the necessity of an epistemological paradigm shift about the ontology of spirituality, predicated on the emergence of an overarching but currently fragmented and disjointed consensus in regard to its phenomenology. 

The proposed methodology is to first restrict the definition of spirituality along only two axes of the threefold framework utilised by Fraser Watts for his Psychology of Religions: the (1) experience/feeling and the (2) practice/behaviour, discarding the (3) belief/thinking for now, which is more useful for the analysis of organised religions. By analogical method, I extend the realm of spiritual experiences to include aesthetic experiences via comparing James’s definition of mystical experiences, Peter Ashley’s definition of Wilderness Spirituality and Funch’s conceptualisation of Aesthetic Experience. 

This phenomenological approach allows for non-religious experiences to be reclassified as spiritual and therefore extend the field of studies beyond religious experiences. My points of departure from Funch’s Aesthetic Experience theory, which are open to further discussion, are: first, to clearly differentiate between the artist’s and the viewer’s phenomenological experience and, second, to challenge Funch’s central existential assumption that a work of art can indeed possess identifiable characteristics to elicit a spiritual experience, based on McGilchrist’s Right/Left Hemisphere theory.

Changing Minds – McGilchrist and Ancient Chinese Philosophy by Stephen Lowy

Stephen LowyStephen has an Associate Degree in Logotherapy and is currently working to wards a PhD at The Global Center for Advanced Studies. Since 2017, he has been studying the writings and video lectures of Iain McGilchrist. His doctoral dissertation will examine Dr. McGilchrist’s theory of brain hemisphere lateralization in the context of the Philosophy of Science.

For the Field & Field Cotswolds retreat, Stephen will present a working paper that aligns the two foundational concepts of the Chinese Book of Change (I Ching), The Creative and The Receptive with the right and left brain hemispheres, respectively.

Stephen Lowy - Discussion Group at Field & Field Iain McGilchrist eventCould the wisdom that inheres within this imaginative book of constancy and change help to fully restore to us our wayward and misguided ‘servant’, the left hemisphere? With an open mind towards the I Ching’s exotic teachings and methods, there is good reason to believe it can.

The main source texts for I Ching references are the Richard Wilhelm/Cary F. Baynes translation and the essays of Wilhelm and those of his son, the sinologist, Dr. Hellmut Wilhelm.


The presentation will be 40 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A.


Making Connections with Christianity by Douglas Wren

Douglas WrenIain frequently references the Bible and other religious texts to illustrate his points. So, what might be the connections between the brain’s two distinctive ‘takes’ on reality and the developing practice and experience of Christianity, the dominant religion of the culture of the West?

Douglas Wren

In this interactive workshop Douglas will attempt to make those connections as he presents the full sweep of Christian theology, the entire contents of the Bible and the last two thousand years of history, all without the aid of a safety net. There will also be opportunities to explore some texts in a variety of ways, including through our imagination.

No prior knowledge or religious affiliation will be required or expected.

Although Douglas has degrees in philosophy and theology he is not an academic theologian. He is more of a practitioner, being an ordained minister in the Church of England (the equivalent of the Episcopal Church of The United States). He is the Rector (a.k.a. Vicar) of a parish just outside Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK.


Improvised Dance by Anthony Gimpel

Welcome to the dance. Find yourself, there is no wrong way, no right way either. Let the music inspire you. Let yourself be surprised. Leave expectations behind, they are rarely fulfilled anyway.

My hints as leader are just invitations. You don’t have to follow them.

You’re a beginner? Well, everyone was a beginner once, forget what the others are doing, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. Even so, you might like to mirror, to make a connection, to compose a group.

Movement, letting my body move, allows my active mind to become an observer. If I try to determine, to decide in my mind, how to move, to think I’ll do this, or I’ll move like this, invariably I become clumsy, awkward. The flow stops, jolts. It doesn’t work – whatever that might mean. Of course, my mind doesn’t stop thinking, that’s not possible. But I notice, I observe. There may be insights, understanding, appreciation. Being creative is not something I can decide. I move and look and say it is good.

Follow your body, you need no words. When the music ends we’ll have time to share how it was. To be practical:

  • Please leave your phone outside, switched off – interruptions aren’t helpful.
  • Wear clothes that allow you to move easily, without restriction, high, low, fast, slow.
  • Barefoot is good.
Anthony Gimpel

About me

When I was in my thirties I was sunk deep in depression. Even when a good friend reminded me “mens sana in corpore sano” I couldn’t hear him. Much later I understood. Now it is part of my common practice.

I’m a Quaker and I’m Jewish. I’ve been a civil engineer and a land surveyor. I’ve worked creatively with people with learning difficulties. I’ve worked in the Borough Council looking after listed buildings. I’m a painter, writer, actor, dancer. I’m married to Ann. We live in Loughborough.


The Music of the Hemispheres by Paul Cavaciuti

Paul Cavaciuti at Iain McGilchrist Field & Field eventMost people would acknowledge that music has a “spiritual” dimension, that it has the power to awaken strong emotions within us, even that it has healing properties. Sadly, this is not most people’s experience of actually making music, or, more often than not, even of listening to it. Musician, educator and music therapist, Paul Cavaciuti argues that the reasons for this lie in the hemispheric imbalance that characterises European thought and culture. The musical education that most of us experience is almost entirely left-brain in emphasis, even when it purports not to be, and, as such, deprives us of many of the transcendental and therapeutic qualities of music.

Iain McGilchrist’s work has deepened enormously our understanding of what the hemispheres actually do, and of the vital importance of achieving balance between them. As he points out, the creative arts are one of the principle means of engaging with the right hemisphere, with music being, perhaps, the most direct of them all.

As a teacher who specialises in working with children and young people with autism and learning difficulties, Paul has been dealing with the relationship of music and the hemispheres for almost 30 years. In this workshop, he will explore some of the ways in which music can be used to balance the hemispheres, helping to reduce stress, awaken creativity and, most importantly, make playing music fun again! No previous musical knowledge or experience is required, nor is an instrument, (although you can bring one if you want to), but you will need a hair-brush!

Paul Cavaciuti is an internationally renowned performer, composer, music teacher and therapist. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and of the Institute for Music and Health in New York. As a jazz drummer and percussionist, he has played, toured and recorded with some of the top names in British and American music, including Jim Mullen, David Gordon, Roland Perrin’s Blue Planet Orchestra, Chris Garrick, Nick Meier, Nigel Price, Tina May, Jacqui Dankworth, Christie Hennessy, Donovan, Lew Soloff, Sheryl Bailey, The New York Festival of Song (NYFOS), and the London Chamber Orchestra, among many others.

Paul Cavaciuti at Iain McGilchrist Field & Field event

Paul is an active music educator. He was chairman of the percussion department at the Musician’s Institute (MI) in London, Head of Music at Dutchess Day School in Millbrook, New York and has lectured extensively on music education and creativity. He has given numerous workshops on jazz improvisation, including at the Royal Academy of Music and the Purcell School, and is a workshop leader for the London Chamber Orchestra’s Music Junction programme. He is an Artist-in-Residence on the Inspired by Berklee international musical development programme run by Berklee College of Music. He also teaches at the Centre for Applied Music Research at Roehampton University, and at Linden Lodge School where he works with students with autism, visual impairment and learning difficulties.


Emotional & Psychological Resilience by Simon Maryan

Simon MaryanSimon Maryan is a former Royal Marine and Human Intelligence specialist, who, now as an International Speaker, author, coach & trainer, specialises in Emotional & Psychological Resilience and behavioural change not just in high pressure environments but for coping with life in general.

In this workshop speaker and author, Simon Maryan will describe the practices he has devised to inhibit the left side of the brain for emotional and psychological regulation, stress reduction and how it can be used both reactively and proactively. 

His talk is based around a set of Psychological and Psychotherapeutic techniques which provide simple and highly effective self-regulating tools for mental health crisis intervention. The purpose of the process is to interrupt negative thought patterns and disconnect the negative feelings associated to those thoughts; inducing a state of mental and physical relaxation thereby dulling down the limbic system, reigniting executive functioning and balancing left brain, right brain activity to allow rational, logical functioning and thinking.  Allowing individuals to self-regulate and anchor themselves.

He designed The Immediate Care Process and this year published the book to enable more people to access these incredibly simple and powerful techniques. He has been using his process for the last 12 years and utilised it to help thousands of people. He is working on a research study to dive deeper into the process and enable further research to be carried out.