Dr. Lois Holzman is a performance activist who helps people and communities worldwide to discover new hope and possibilities for who they are becoming.
As a developmental psychologist with a PhD from Columbia University, she is the founder of the East Side Institute in New York City where she and her colleagues use a fresh approach to development she calls“non-knowing growing.”
We explore what this means along with the importance of play, improv and performance in changing our world today.
Highlights from the episode:
The meaning of “non-knowing growing.”
How knowledge can be used to serve people’s becoming.
Why play is important to adults and children.
“Play is an approach to life—not a thing you do but an attitude.”
What the social therapeutics approach offers.
What the developmentalist perspective is with a live example of a letter to “Dear Developmentalist,” Lois’ “advice” column.
For information about work with dementia mentioned in the interview Reimagining Dementia: A Creative Coalition for Justice or listen to this earlier
podcast episode with Mary Fridley and Susan Massad, East Side Institute
Hear the interview:
More about our guest:
Lois Holzman received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology and psycholinguistics from Columbia University. Lois founded the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy in the 1980s with philosopher, therapist and activist Fred Lois Holzman received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology and psycholinguistics from Columbia University. Lois founded the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy in the 1980s with philosopher, therapist and activist Fred Newman. She is its current director. With Newman, she developed Social Therapeutics as a methodology in which human development and community development are inseparable, and linked to play, performance and practical philosophy.
Lois is also a founder and the chair of the biennial Performing the World conferences, which support the emerging social change approach known as performance activism. As a leading proponent of postmodern, activity-theoretic, cultural approaches to human learning and development, she has brought the ideas of Lev Vygotsky to the fields of psychotherapy, organizational and community development, in addition to their traditional location with education.
Her teaching, research, and writing have developed in tandem with and in service to her community organizing work. Over forty years Lois has built and led grassroots organizations that are engaging poverty and underdevelopment utilizing the transformative power of performance.
She lives her life as an activist who uses her academic background and experience to organize people—as individuals and communities—to participate in creating their development and in so doing, to create hope and new possibilities.