“Change life! Change society! These precepts mean nothing without the production of an appropriate space…New social relationships call for a new space, and vice versa.” —Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space
What is Incite Seminars?
We are a group of experienced educators, scholars, and artists who are convinced of the power of courageous intellectual discussion to inspire personal transformation and innovative real-world change. We are passionate about bringing consequential ideas from the ivory tower to the general public. At this point, we do not offer any kind of credit, certificate, or degree. We do offer an exhilarating educational experience.
What are the seminars about?
Our seminars focus on a wide range of topics and disciplines selected by the facilitators. Broadly, they engage participants in reflecting deeply on what it is to be human and what it means to live together in the world. We draw on thinkers, themes, and texts from both humanities and social sciences, including literature, poetry, philosophy, music, the arts, psychoanalysis and psychology, history, religion and theology, anthropology, cultural studies, and more. Regardless of the topic, we strive to cultivate both a deep appreciation for and a critical assessment of the subject at hand.
What is a seminar?
A seminar is a style of education designed to facilitate intensive and in-depth study of the topic. It is a place where books and ideas are taken seriously. Unlike a lecture, a seminar involves sustained engagement with written or other material together with robust open discussion among the participants. For that reason, the optimal number of learners in a seminar is generally between to six to fifteen. Also unlike lectures, seminars are fueled by participants. The course facilitator ignites the fire. Participants fan the flames.
What happens in a seminar?
It could hardly be simpler. We come together, either in person or online. We focus on a single text, theme, thinker. We explore ideas, theories, and concepts. We assess practices, actions, rituals, and performances. Together, we read, think, listen, question, speak, respond, argue, and laugh. The environment is warm and nurturing but crackling with the risky unpredictability of new discoveries.
What is expected of the participants in advance?
We assume that you are a working adult with a busy schedule. So, we assign reading and writing accordingly. Given the variety of material we work with, it is difficult to nail down exact quantities. For example, for one seminar you might be asked to read three short poems and jot down your reactions in the margins. For another session, you might be asked to read fifty pages of dense philosophy and write a couple of pages of response. The work is always worked out with participants’ expressed desires and limitations in mind.
We believe that something uncommonly dynamic occurs when we explore crucial ideas with other people. Dialogue centered on texts and other cultural material becomes an impetus for self-reflection and self-understanding. Such encounters enable each of us to glimpse into our ideological blind spots, to see and think more clearly. This ferments an acute awareness of social reality. It is here—where the personal collides with the social—that such education catalyzes the possibility of social change. At Incite Seminars we cultivate critical discernment, intellectual integrity, and moral courage. We are not content with the mere acquisition of knowledge. We are on the hunt for possibilities of transformation.
Who teaches the seminars?
Our seminar facilitators are experienced teachers, scholars, writers, or artists, accomplished in their respective fields and passionate about teaching and learning. Some have or are in the process of acquiring advanced academic degrees. But there are many paths to passionate expertise, and we want to unleash it on the world in whatever form it comes in. If you would like to teach for us, you can begin the process here.
Who are your participants?
Our participants are adults, young and old, who believe that life makes the most sense when they are reading and thinking about serious ideas, and are discussing and exploring those ideas with others. Some of them are working professionals. Some of them are at the beginning of a career. Some are retired. Some want nothing to do with the conventional career treadmill, and are looking for alternatives. Many are passionate about finding ways to enact change in the world. All are curious as hell about what’s out there in the world of thought. We actively attempt to ensure that our spectrum of participants includes a broad, rich range of ages and racial, ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds. Everyone will find an Incite Seminar warm and welcoming.
When do seminars meet?
We currently offer two types of seminars. One is an intensive one-day workshop. This session typically runs on a Saturday from 10am-2pm. Occasionally, it meets on a weekday evening from 5-9pm. The second is a four-week course. This seminar meets once a week. Each meeting runs from either 6:00pm-8:30pm on a weekday evening or 10am-12:30pm on a Saturday. We also hold several groups that meet regularly and indefinitely, as long as the participants commit to gather.
Where are the seminars held?
At The Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall East, Suite 540, Philadelphia. That’s on 5th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets. Here’s a map.
What does a seminar cost?
We are committed to making our offerings of knowledge, dialogue, and community available to anyone who feels they can benefit from them, regardless of ability to pay. If you would like to request a partial or full assistance, please fill out this short scholarship request form.
Can I contribute to Incite Seminars?
Glad you asked! Yes. Click one of the donate buttons at the bottom of this page, and 100% of your donation will go toward scholarships. Even the smallest amount is greatly appreciated.
What is your refund policy?
If you withdraw before the start date, we will refund the cost of the seminar minus a 10% administrative fee. If you withdraw after the first class session (of a four-week seminar), we will refund 50% of the cost of the seminar. After the second session: 25%. No refunds will be given after the second session.
Cancellations will be made up at the end of the seminar or at a day and time agreed on by all participants.
Is it okay to contact you with any other questions I may have?
Please do! We are also open to any suggestions, recommendations, or requests you may have. Maybe you’d like us to come into your workplace or business to facilitation a reading group. (There’s a ton of research that shows how beneficial outside-facilitated workplace learning is.) Or maybe you’d like to form a small private group. Maybe you’d even like some individual sessions. Or maybe you have some other creative idea for us. We can accommodate it all! Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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