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Committees Leadership
Oct 14, 2021 07:00pm -
Oct 17, 2021 05:00pm

Event Type: Conference
Category: Annual Conference

Speaker Information

Keynote Address: Transforming Trauma – How to Do this Work and Sustain

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is the founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship and The Age of Overwhelm. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, she has worked locally, nationally, and internationally for more than three decades. Much of her work is being invited to assist in the aftermath of community catastrophes - whether they are fatal storms or mass shootings. Simultaneously, she has long been active in community organizing and movements for social and environmental justice and has taught on issues surrounding systematic oppression, structural supremacy, and liberation theory. Laura is on the advisory board of ZGiRLS, an organization that supports young girls in sports. She is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Network, which supports the development of capacity to address climate change. Laura also served as an associate producer of the award-winning film A Lot Like You, and was given a Yo! Mama award in recognition of her work as a community-activist mother.

Opening Session Performer

Nick van Bloss is the only acclaimed concert pianist in the world who suffers from severe, non-swearing Tourette Syndrome, a condition that causes him some 70,000 bodily tics per day.  However, once he touches a piano, his tics dissipate. Not only does this give Nick respite from an exhausting condition, it seems that the neuro and muscular activity that would normally cause uncontrollable tics allows Nick to harness this energy to the piano and music. Oliver Sacks, who wrote a chapter of his book Musicophilia about Nick, firmly believed that his Tourette’s enhances his musical ability.

At the age of 26, Nick played a televised concert in Poland, a concert that proved to be his last public appearance for 15 years - a time in which he effectively retired from music. During these years Nick rarely touched a piano, but he did write his autobiographical memoir about living with Tourette’s  ‘Busy Body’, which was published to much acclaim in 2006. The following year he presented a BBC television documentary in which he interviewed several people with differing neurological conditions who are helped, and also fuelled, by creative endeavours. This led to public interest in his piano playing and, in 2008, he restarted his performing and recording career, with a London ‘comeback’ concert hailed internationally as a ’Triumph’. Since then he has continued making recordings and has performed extensively all over the world.

Sharing his story of triumph over adversity, the obstacles that living with Tourette’s has presented personally and professionally, and how music has been the antidote to a debilitating condition, Nick has been featured as a guest speaker in multiple countries and in many different institutions including, UCLA, Yale, Royal College of Music, and the Miami International Festival. Interviews with Nick and features on him have been featured in media outlets internationally.


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