EGA International Psychedelic Symposium Keynote presenters:
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., MAPS Founder and Executive Director
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master's thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary's Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife and one of three children (two in college).
Kathleen (Kat) Harrison is an ethnobotanist who loves to explore the relationship between plants, mushrooms and human beings—particularly in the realms that are often hidden: cultural beliefs, personification of species, rituals of healing and initiation, vision-seeking modalities, and artistic creations that illustrate the plant-human relationship. She also studies and teaches the deep history of humans in nature, encompassing time and innovation before and since the advent of early agriculture.
Kathleen founded the nonprofit organization Botanical Dimensions in 1985, with her then-husband, the late Terence McKenna. Kat has been its President and Project Director throughout BD’s history, and actively manages both ongoing and new projects. She recently opened the unique Ethnobotany Library in California, which is her current teaching base. She produces BD's new, annual Ethnobotany Festival and Symposium.
Kathleen has taught both university and independent courses in Hawaii, California and the Peruvian Amazon. Please sign up on BD’s mailing list if you would like to be informed about her future travel intensives, local courses, conferences, public talks and coming publications.
Erik Davis is an author, award-winning journalist, podcaster, and lecturer based in San Francisco. His wide-ranging work focuses on the intersection of alternative religion, media, an the popular imagination. He is the author, most recently, of Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica. He also wrote The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape, and TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information, which has been translated into five languages and was recently reissued. He also wrote a short critical volume on Led Zeppelin.
Erik’s essays on music, technoculture, and spirituality have appeared in dozens of books, including Zig Zag Zen, Sound Unbound, AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Μan, and Rave Culture and Religion. Davis has contributed to scores of publications, including Bookforum, Salon, Slate, Artforum, Wired, the LA Weekly, and the Village Voice. He has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, public radio, and the New York Times, and explores the “cultures of consciousness” on his weekly podcast Expanding Mind, on the Progressive Radio Network. He graduated from Yale University, and recently earned his PhD in religious studies at Rice University.
Ben Sessa is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist working in adult addiction and senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff and Imperial College London Universities, where he is currently taking time off clinical medical practice to study towards a PhD in MDMA Psychotherapy. He is interested in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental health disorders. In the last ten years he has worked as study doctor (or healthy subject receiving test doses of medicine!) on UK trials with LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine. He is the author of two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015) and is currently conducting research studying the potential role for MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome. Dr Sessa is outspoken on lobbying for change in the current system by which drugs are classified in the UK, believing a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of recreational drug use. He is a co-founder and director of the UK's Breaking Convention conference.
Fiona Measham is co-founder & co-Director of ‘The Loop’. The Loop conducts forensic testing of drugs at UK festivals and nightclubs and provides associated welfare support. Fiona Measham was appointed Professor of Criminology in the School of Applied Social Sciences at Durham University in 2012. Fiona has conducted research for over two decades across a broad area of criminology and social policy, exploring changing trends in legal and illegal drugs; the night time economy and the socio-cultural context to consumption; gender; the regulation and policing of intoxication; electronic music scenes and club cultures; issues of deterrence, displacement and desistance; and broader policy implications. A key feature of her research has been the development of in-situmethods of data collection in pubs, clubs and festivals, a working environment with which she is familiar, having spent her early adulthood working in bars and clubs across several continents in various guises.
Web site: http://wearetheloop.co.uk
Thomas B. Roberts
Thomas B. Roberts’s current life project is to inform the humanities and religion of psychedelics wide cultural implications.
He one of the quartet that requested the Drug Enforcement Administration to hold hearings on the scheduling of MDMA. He is a founding member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a cofounder of the Council on Spiritual Practices and of the International Transpersonal Association. He started the Rising Researcher sessions at psychedelic conferences and launched the celebration of Bicycle Day to commemorate the day Albert Hofmann first intentionally took LSD.
AB Hamilton College, MA University of Connecticut, PhD Stanford, Roberts is an emeritus professor of educational psychology at Northern Illinois University, where he taught Foundations of Psychedelic Studies as an Honors Program Seminar. Started in 1981 and taught through 2013, it is the world’s first university-cataloged psychedelics course.
In the fall of 2006, he was a Visiting Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Medical Schools' Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit (Griffiths psilocybin team).
His website is: www.niu.academia.edu/ThomasRoberts
James Oroc (pronounced o-roc) is the author of 'Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad; Journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field' (2009), proclaimed 'the best book on psychedelics since Terence McKenna' by High Times Magazine. A regular contributor to publications such as Reality Sandwich and the MAPS Journal, as well as a popular world-wide public-speaker, his latest non-fiction offering – 'The new Psychedelic Revolution: Genesis of a Visionary Culture (2017) – should enhance Oroc's reputation as the leading entheogenic philosopher of his generation, while his new collection of (fiction) short stories – 'Who's Got The Bomb?' – introduces a genre he calls 'Psychedelic Noir',
For Entheogenesis, James will give 2 presentations – 'The 2nd Psychedelic Revolution', which is a history of contemporary psychedelic culture, and 'Confessions of a Modern Mystic' which will focus on his radical theory of a quantum-consciousness origin for the entheogenic experience (as outlined in Tryptamine Palace.) Expect a far-reaching conversation to both the boundaries of current scientific speculation and underground investigation.
Photo by Tracey Eller for Cosmic Sister (@CosmicSister)
Nese Devenot is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Puget Sound, where she teaches classes on psychedelics and literature and is also working on her book project, "Chemical Poetics: The Literary History of Psychedelic Science." In 2016 she was awarded "Best Humanities Publication in Psychedelic Studies" from Breaking Convention in the United Kingdom as part of their First Annual Psychedelic Research Awards. As a 2016 Cosmic Sister Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance grant recipient, she is working on a journalistic account of a fully-funded trip to ayahuasca retreat centers in the Peruvian Amazon. She was a 2015-16 Research Fellow at the New York Public Library's Timothy Leary Papers and also a Research Fellow with the New York University Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study, where she participated in the first qualitative study of patient experiences. She received her PhD in 2015 from the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied psychedelic philosophy and the literary history of chemical self-experimentation (“trip reports”). She taught the class “Drug Wars: The Influence of Psychoactive Rhetoric” as a 2014-15 Critical Speaking Fellow, and she was also a 2014-15 Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Research Fellow with the Penn Humanities Forum, where she worked on the project “‘Innumerable Fine Shades’: Psychedelics and Synesthesia in the Literary Self-Experiments of Aldous Huxley.” She is a founder of the Psychedemia interdisciplinary psychedelics conference, and the former editor of “This Week in Psychedelics,” a Reality Sandwich column that reported on psychedelic news in the media between 2011 and 2013. She was a founding member of the MAPS Graduate Student Association, which she moderated during 2011-13, and she has presented on psychedelics at numerous conferences in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and the Netherlands. Her opinion articles about psychedelics and social justice have helped to inspire a psychedelic "coming out" movement in the United Kingdom.
David Nickles is an underground researcher and moderator for The DMT-Nexus community. He has worked on numerous harm reduction projects including KosmiCare, TLConscious, The Bunk Police, The Open Hyperspace Traveler and others. David has offered cultural critiques and commentary on psychedelics and radical politics as well as novel phytochemical data for psychedelic preparations at venues ranging from scientific conferences to music festivals around the world. David is also a glassblower, operating under the moniker of Oneiros Glass, and can be found in his glass studio during most of his waking hours.
Jennifer Dumpert is a San Francisco-based writer and lecturer, and the founder of the Oneironauticum, an international organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams as a means of experimenting with mind. She also teaches the practice of Liminal Dreaming—surfing the edges of consciousness using hypnagogic and hypnopompic dream states.
Jennifer has lectured and led workshops at festivals, conferences, and venues such as Summit at Sea, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, the Women’s Visionary Congress, Esalen Institute, Ojai Institute, Psymposia, and Priceless. She wrote “Meeting in Dream Worlds: Oneironauticum”, a chapter in Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness Liminal Zones, Psychic Science, and the Hidden Dimensions of the Mind, published by Evolver Editions. “Dream Tripping”, an article about using dreams like psychedelics, appeared in the summer, 2016 issue of Erowid Extracts.
In March/April of 2016, Jennifer led a six week class through Evolver called “Expand your Mind: How to Work with Liminal Dream States”. She contributes to the online journal Van Winkle’s, and has published in Dreamflesh, Dream Time, and Reality Sandwich. She is involved in the Consciousness Hacking movement and has presented at CH SF, CH NYC, and the Transformational Technology conference. Jennifer serves as secretary on the board of directors for Erowid Center. She posts a daily dream to Twitter as @OneiroFer.