Invited speakers

Although we will provide many spaces for smaller groups to convene, we will begin each day with a plenary session structured around our invited speakers (link to page). We believe in the value of plenary sessions as providing unity to the various events making up the conference, a place where all participants can share ideas and experience together.

The following invited speakers (shown in alphabetical order) have confirmed their participation. As they become available, further details will be published on this page and included in the conference update emails for subscribers and registered participants.

As time permits we will also include short submitted papers (see submission guidelines) (link to page)in the plenaries. Submitted papers may also be used as foci for some of the conversation sessions.

The presentation schedule will be developed and published after 30-May-2012.

Graham Barnes

Graham Barnes

Graham Barnes

Early in his career Graham Barnes, with a foundation grant, founded Fellowship for Racial and Economic Equality, an organization that helped integrate people of color into the leadership of segregated white institutions. The success ofthis work led to an invitation to work with the largest military posts of the U.S. Army. During this period he founded Southeast Institute in Chapel Hill, NC, designed a therapist training program for traditionally African-American universities under a grand from the Lilly Endowment, Inc, and also led in developing the experimental Master of Arts program in clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Southeast Institute. More than twenty students completed the experimental two-year program, the first graduate program in psychotherapy in the United States. Accrediting Associations recommended the program to universities as a model of excellence for the education of psychotherapists. In Chapel Hill he was also adjunct lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry of the University of North Carolina and lecturer in the School of Public Health.His first lecture tour of Sweden, in the mid-1970s, was motivated by a desire to find out about how Swedes democratically managed their companies and other organizations and themselves. He arrived in Sweden in 1983 and was naturalized in 1996. In Sweden and Norway he has had long-term assignments with companies such as Pharmacia, Norsk Hydro, and Swedbank. He began teaching group therapy in Belgrade in the 1970s. As a result of his teaching in Zagreb, a school for the cybernetics of psychotherapy was established in the Department of Psychiatry of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zagreb where he has been a guest lecturer since 1990. This school has led in the education of psychotherapists in Slovenia as well as in Croatia. As a direct result of the social commitments of this school and of Graham’s teaching and guidance, a foundation was established to promote democracy in Croatia and cooperation between leaders and citizens in the republics of the former Yugoslavia. One of the first activities of the foundation was to give intellectual support to StepeMesic, the first president of Croatia to promote democracy, seeking to end the oppressive and corrupt policies and practices of his predecessor. Graham assisted the foundation to organize a series of annual seminars on the theme of all people living together cooperatively. In 2004 the foundation organized a meeting of systems experts, including Governor Jerry Brown of California, to celebrate Gregory Bateson’s centennial. The focus of this intensive three-day seminar was on trust and the cybernetics of leadership, and it brought together, on the island of Brijuni, elected leaders of the countries of the former Yugoslav republics for a dialogue on democracy and regional cooperation. What made these seminars unique was the focus on the practical application of cybernetics to politics and the everyday practice of democracy. Graham’s expertise in cybernetics was demonstrated in his PhD dissertation at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Earlier he was awarded a graduate degree in theology by Harvard University Divinity School. He was given the Eric Berne Memorial Award in 2005 for his cybernetic study of the role of theory in psychotherapy. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Cybernetics and is included in Marquis Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare. He lives in Stockholm where he practices cybernetics and psychotherapy, works with young leaders, consults and writes.
Drottninggatan 73c, SE-111 36 Stockholm; +46 70 582 2021; e-mail: grahambarnes@me.com www.inform.se

Nora Bateson

Nora Bateson

Nora Bateson

Nora Bateson is the writer, director and producer of the award-winning documentary An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father Gregory Bateson’s way of thinking.
Nora has been a filmmaker, lecturer, and writer in many capacities and calls herself an interloper as she travels between conversations in different disciplines and with different audiences. She has developed curricula for schools in Northern California, and produced and directed award winning multimedia projects on intercultural understanding.

Currently Nora is traveling around the world with the film holding conversations and seminars with international change-makers, ecologists, anthropologists, psychologists, designers, and IT people. Utilizing the film as a tool to introduce some of her father’s thinking tools, Nora is engaged in giving her audiences a lens through which to see the world that effects not only the way we see the world, but how we interact with it. In addition to hosting discussions at film festivals from Brazil to Budapest, she is currently writing a book about the practical application of systems thinking and complexity theory in everyday life.
“The task she took on was hardly easy. Pinning Bateson down takes a fair amount of effort. Coming up with a simple definition of, say, systems theory is one thing. Doing so in a way that educates the average filmgoer without making her film feel like a mere academic exercise is something else entirely. Yet Nora Bateson manages to do so by always keeping the man she knew at the center. “ Dan Webster, NPR

Ximena Dávila

Ximena Davila

Ximena Dávila

Ximena Dávila will be co-presenting with her colleague Humberto Maturana. Through her work with individual and family counselling she has developed the ambience of “liberating conversations” as reflexive conversations for the recovery of self love and self respect in the face of cultural pain. This has brought her to realize that human living, since its origin in the ancestral family is intrinsically both biological and cultural. Dávila has a vast experience with corporations in Chile, wherein she guides conversational investigations on topics such as “The sense of the Human Being in organizations” and “Toward a Co-inspirational management.” Furthermore, she has participated in numerous conferences, seminars, congresses, workshops, short courses, reflective circles, symposia and reflective meetings in different academic and business settings.

Terrence Deacon

Terrence Deacon

Terrence Deacon

Professor Deacon’s research has combined human evolutionary biology and neuroscience, with the aim of investigating the evolution of human cognition. His work extends from laboratory-based cellular-molecular neurobiology to the study of semiotic processes underlying animal and human communication, especially language. Many of these interests are explored in his 1997 book, The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain (W. W. Norton).

His neurobiological research is focused on determining the nature of the human divergence from typical primate brain anatomy, the cellular-molecular mechanisms producing this difference, and the correlations between these anatomical differences and special human cognitive abilities, particularly language. In pursuit of these questions he has used a variety of laboratory approaches including the tracing of axonal connections, quantitative analysis of regions of different species brains, and cross-species fetal neural transplantation. The goal is to identify elements of the developmental genetic mechanisms that distinguish human brains from other ape brains, to aid the study of the cognitive consequences of human brain evolution.

His theoretical interests include the study of evolution-like processes at many levels, including their role in embryonic development, neural signal processing, language change, and social processes, and how these different processes interact and depend on each other. Currently, his theoretical interests have focused on the problem of explaining emergent phenomena, such as characterize such apparently unprecedented transitions as the origin of life, the evolution of language, the nature of information, and the generation of conscious experience by brains. This is fueled by a career-long interest in the ideas of the late 19th-century American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce and his theory of semiosis. His new book, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (W. W. Norton, 2012), explores the relationship between thermodynamic, self-organizing, evolutionary and semiotic processes and provides a new technical conception of information that explains both its representational and normative properties.

Debora Hammond

Debora Hammond

Debora Hammond

Debora Hammond has been teaching in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies since 1996. She completed her doctoral work in the history of science at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on the history of systems thinking. She has been particularly interested in finding ways to nurture more participatory, co-creative approaches to decision making. Her teaching in the Hutchins School, which emphasizes student-centered interactive learning, is an active embodiment of this orientation. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses on healthcare, monetary systems, and food systems, she works with graduate students in the Action for a Viable Future MA program, and is actively involved in the local community on food policy and sustainability. She has recently taken over as Director of Sonoma State’s MA Program in Organization Development.

Peter Harries-Jones

Peter Harries-Jones

Peter Harries-Jones

Peter Harries-Jones was born in Oxford, England. He attended secondary school in both England and the United States and universities in the United States, South Africa, and Oxford where he obtained his doctorate. Subsequently he was a research officer in the Institute for Social Studies, Zambia where he introduced together with his research group the subject of social networks into anthropology. He taught in the University of Wales, Swansea; University of Khartoum, Sudan; and York University, Ontario, Canada. Until the 1980s he was a specialist in the field of African Studies. Subsequently he developed an interest in communication studies, systems theory and ecology. This research culminated in an intellectual biography on Gregory Bateson’s ‘ecological epistemology’ drawn from the Bateson Santa Cruz archives, entitled A Recursive Vision: Ecological Understanding and Gregory Bateson (1995). He was one of the first attendees of the “Gatherings in Biosemiotics’ and co-edited the internet journal SEED together with Edwina Taborsky which published some of the first contributions from biosemiotics. That experience introduced him to many of the current members of that group. He is currently researching a second book on Bateson covering his earlier years in anthropology (drawn from the Library of Congress archives) and the Bateson legacy in Biosemiotics, where Bateson shares ‘founder’ status along with C. S. Peirce and Jacob von Uexküll.

Klaus Krippendorff

Klaus Krippendorff

Klaus Krippendorff

Klaus Krippendorff is the Gregory Bateson Professor for Cybernetics, Language, and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. He holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Illinois, where he studied with W. Ross Ashby, and a graduate degree in design from the avant-garde, now defunct, Hochschule für Gestaltung, Ulm. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Communication Association, the East-West Center in Hawaii, and Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies. He is a Past President of the International Communication Association, founder of the International Federation of Communication Associations, and active in the American Society for Cybernetics. Krippendorff has published over 100 journal articles and several books on communication, social science methodology, system theory, cybernetics, and design. Among his books are The Analysis of Communication Content (co-ed.); Information Theory; Content Analysis (translated into several languages); Communication and Control in Society (ed.); A Dictionary of Cybernetics; Design in the Age of Information (ed.); The Semantic Turn: A New Foundation for Design; The Content Analysis Reader (co-ed.); and On Communicating, Otherness, Meaning, and Information. He is currently exploring the role of language in the social construction of selves, others, and social organizations; issues of conceptual entrapment and emancipation; the human use of cyberspace; and the design of future technologies.

Humberto Maturana

Humberto Maturana

Humberto Maturana

Humberto Maturana Romesín was born in Santiago, Chile. He studied medicine at Universidad de Chile, neurophysiology and anatomy at University College of London, and Biology at Harvard where he received a PhD in 1958. He continued at MIT where he worked with the neurophysiology of vision. After returning to Chile, in 1965 he worked with colleagues to found the Science Faculty at the University of Chile; of which he is now Professor Emeritus. In 2000 Maturana and Ximena Dávila co-founded the Matriztic School of Santiago. http://matriztica.cl/eng

Maturana is the recipient of several national and international awards including the Chilean National Science Award for his research on perception and his approach to the biology of cognition. He has been bestowed with Honorary Doctorates by Belgium, Spain and Chile in recognition of his vast body of scientific work concerning living (autopoiesis), language and cognition (biology of language and cognition) and humanness (biology of love). Most recently he and Ximena Dávila have developed the biological-cultural Matrix of Human Living.

Jeremy Sherman

Jeremy Sherman

Jeremy Sherman

Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D., M.P.P. studied with Gregory at UC Santa Cruz in the mid ’70′s and became a founding member of Terrence Deacon’s Bateson-inspired Consortium on Emergent Dynamics in the late ’90s. Sherman applies Bateson to both the vast and the everyday. With the consortium he collaborates on specifying the differences between energy and information and enumerating the steps from matter to mattering, or from natura to creatura. With Psychology Today he applies Batesonian concepts to everyday decision-making in a weekly blog called “Ambigamy: Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical.” Sherman also teaches psychology and rhetoric at University of San Francisco, writes two other blogs — Mindreaders Dictionary and Soulnerd — and composes, plays bass and sings in local jazz combos. He has a masters in public policy from U.C. Berkeley and a Ph.D. in evolutionary epistemology from Union University.

Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson

Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson

Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson

The production and perception of human speech are among the most complex functions that differentiate us from less-evolved species. Building on research into the visual events that supplement speech recognition and early attempts to synthesize human speech, Dr. Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson has done extensive work on investigating the various mechanical and neurological processes that combine to create speech, as well as on the visual processing of facial movement that aids in comprehension. His work has crossed many disciplinary lines, including biology, computer science and engineering, and has drawn extensive interest from a variety of organizations around the world.

Rex Weyler

Rex Weyler

Rex Weyler

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, an indigenous history of the Americas, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing. He is a co-author of Chop Wood, Carry Water: Finding Spirituality in Everyday Life.

In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He has served on campaigns to preserve wild rivers, endangered species, indigenous forest land in Argentina, and is currently active with Tanker Free BC, protecting the BC coast from tar sands oil tankers.

He writes about ecology, economics, and energy in his “Deep Green” blog at Greenpeace International; he appears on The Tyee, Energy Bulletin, other sites, and at his own blog at rexweyler.com. He is currently writing a book about “Ecology and Economy.” Weyler lives on Cortes Island, where he cofounded the Hollyhock education centre.