The Perceptual Change Institute is an interdisciplinary thought laboratory exploring concepts and ideas around conflict resolution, including perception, identity and memory.
Conceived as an intensive, collaborative think tank, the Perceptual Change Institute acts as a thought incubator that provides Global Arts Corps with non-traditional insight and research to further its work in conflict resolution zones around the world, while exploring the importance of perceptual shift as a tool to change preconceived ways of thinking about people and situations. Just as Global Arts Corps’ theatre productions cross national, racial, civil and religious divides, the Institute crosses habits of thinking and brings together thought leaders from various disciplines – psychology, science and the arts.
Our inaugural institute, funded by the Charles Engelhard Foundation, was held in Jackson, Wyoming, in 2011 over a period of three days. It was an extraordinary success and the hope is that we will be able to make it a bi-annual event at which we will always bring together highly regarded thinkers from a variety of diverse disciplines and places around the world to give their unique perspectives on conflict resolution, multiple truths and perceptual change. In our first Institute, we combined talent from the performing arts, nuclear physics, particle physics, anthropology, neuroscience, journalism, anthropology, and psychology, ex-combatants, survivors of conflict and genocide to create new ways of thinking across disciplines. During this pilot session in 2011, we celebrated ideas of stunning originality, which explored the many ways of experiencing and perceiving forgiveness, truth and reconciliation. 150 participants enthusiastically joined us for the three-day discussion.