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Breaking Convention Conference


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Breaking Convention

There are a few UK Busters going along to this gig -

A Multidisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness being held at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, between the 2nd and 3rd of April, 2011


The UKC Psychedelics Society, in association with the Beckley Foundation, the University of Kent School of Anthropology and Conservation, the Greenwich University Psychology Department, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Four invited symposia

Two evening parties with live music, socials and film screenings.

Workshops, seminars and presentations from submitted abstracts will run in parallel with the track of invited speakers.

Some of the invited speakers –


Working for Professor David Nutt and Dr Sue Wilson, RobinÂ’s thesis focused on sleep and serotonin function in ecstasy users. In 2009, working closely with the Beckley Foundation, he successfully coordinated the first clinical study of psilocybin in the UK and the first clinical study of a classic psychedelic drug in the UK for over 40 years.

Now at Imperial College London, Sponsored by  Beckley Foundation and supported by MAPS and Heffter, Robin aims to discover how psilocin works in the brain by using “BOLD fMRI” measuring increases and decreases in activity in different regions of the brain induced by the drug

IVAN CASSELMAN Ph.D. Anthropology.

His main research interests are plants which create heightened states of consciousness, social models of psychoactive use and the development of novel natural product therapies

CAROLINE CHATWIN, Ph.D.  lecturer in criminology at the university of Kent

Dr Chatwin has published widely in the field of European drug policy and has a book on this subject coming out in April (Drug Policy Harmonization and the European Union).

JON COLE, Ph.D. psychopharmacologist

Dr Jon Cole  has been working on controlled drugs for the past twenty years. He is currently working extensively in the criminal justice and social policy areas.


Val Curran is Professor of Psychopharmacology and Director of UCL's Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit. She is also research Lead and Hon. Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Drug Services at a north London NHS Foundation Trust, a Principal Editor of Psychopharmacology and a member of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

Val recently gave a very interesting and informative talk at “High Society” Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection (What is a drug?)


Paul Devereux, worldwide lecturer and prolific author, including  'THE LONG TRIP - A Prehistory of Psychedelia'. Also blogs on the 'Reality Sandwich' and 'Brainwaving' websites


Executive Director and founder of MAPS, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies


Kevin Feeney, J.D., received his law degree from the University of Oregon in 2005, and is currently a student of Anthropology at Washington State University (U.S.A.), where he is studying the religious use of peyote in American Indian traditions. Other research interests include examining legal and regulatory issues surrounding the religious and cultural use of psychoactive substances


Amanda Feilding is director and founder of the Beckley Foundation, which researches consciousness from an interdisciplinary perspective. It investigates how psychoactive substances work, why people use them, and what is the best way for society to control and integrate their inevitable presence. The Foundation has initiated pioneering research in both the scientific and policy fields, conducting breakthrough research into LSD, psilocybin and cannabis. The aim of the BFÂ’s Drug Policy Programme is to work towards a rational system of regulation which minimises the harms to the health of the individual and society while recognising personal freedoms, and optimising potential benefits to health and well-being.

The research project “The Treatment of Cluster Headaches Using 2-Bromo-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” is supported by the Beckley Foundation


Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, author, and public speaker has curated dozens of successful conferences including Horizons and this yearÂ’s MAPS Psychedelic Science conference.


Roland is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. His research has been largely supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes on Health and he is author of over 300 journal articles and book chapters. He has an interest in meditation and is the lead investigator of the psilocybin research initiative at Johns Hopkins, which includes studies of psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experience in healthy volunteers and cancer patients, and a pilot study of psilocybin-facilitated smoking cessation.


Andy Letcher teaches in the Study of Religions at Oxford Brookes University and is a freelance writer and folk musician. He is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom,

Recently Andy gave an entertaining and informative talk at the “High Society Exhibition” at the Wellcome Collection (what is a drug?)


Torsten is assistant professor for clinical psychiatry and psychotherapy at Hannover Medical School. is an expert on the pharmacology and clinical/therapeutic use of hallucinogenic drugs. His publications appeared in Journal of Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychobiology, Addiction Biology, Addiction, CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics and others

Co author of “Attack Cessation and Remission Induction with 2-Bromo-L SD

for Cluster Headache”

Co-Founder, Chief Scientific Officer, Board of Directors of Entheogencorp.


Dr Ben Sessa MBBS BSc MRCPsych is a consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist working in Taunton, Somerset with the National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. He began publishing in medical journals on the subject of psychedelics as a trainee and since then has spoken nationally and internationally to doctors in a campaign to see these fascinating substances return to the mainstream pharmacopeia where their lives began. In 2008 he became a Research Associate under Prof. David Nutt at Bristol University, where he consulted for the ACMD on MDMA before working on the UK's only human hallucinogen study in modern times - being the first person to be legally administered a classical psychedelic drug in this country for 33 years.

His papers include

From Sacred Plants to Psychotherapy, The History and Re-Emergence of. Psychedelics in Medicine


History of Psychedelic Research in the United Kingdom (available on vimeo and youtube)


Dr. Franz X. Vollenweider is currently the Vice-Director of Research and Teaching and Director of the “Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging” Research Unit of the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zürich East, and Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, University of Zürich. He is also the Director of Heffter Research Centre Zürich for Consciousness Studies (HRC-ZH), which he founded in 1998 and incorporated in his research group. Dr. Vollenweider has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers, many of which address the mechanisms of action of psychostimulants, hallucinogens, and entactogens in humans.

Available on vimeo and youtube Dr Vollenweider gave a stunning talk -

“Neuronal Network and Neurotransmitter Dynamics Underlying Psychedelic-Induced Altered States of Consciousness in Humans”


Anna is a medical anthropologist who studies self-medication with herbal medicines as a form of empowerment and/or resistance to biomedical hegemony


Charlotte Walsh was awarded her LLB and MPhil from Manchester University. She has lectured in law at the University of Leicester for thirteen years, at the intersection of criminal justice, drug policy and neuroscience. Her research focus is on psychedelics and the law, seen from a human rights perspective. She is a founder member of Drug Equality Alliance, an organisation that campaigns for equal rights and protection of all drug users.

Two excellent pieces by Charlotte -

Magic Mushrooms: from sacred entheogen to Class A Drug (2006) Entertainment & Sports Law, Volume 4, Number 1

Magic Mushrooms and the Law [2005] Criminal Law Review October, 773–783.

And a forthcoming piece to look out for

Drugs & the Internet: Cyberdelic ®Evolution" (2011) Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

The conference is being covered by the “ashroomwithaview” Podcast.

A preview can be heard here -


Breaking Conventions part1 > episode 34 – part 2 > episode 36

Interview featuring -

Dave King, founder of the UKC Psychedelics Society

Dr. David Luke Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Greenwich and Director of the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series

Dr. Ben Sessa MD. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr. Cameron Adams, research fellow and lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent.

Cameron Adams is an anthropologist studying psychedelic culture.

In his own time and with his own funds Cameron is doing short research survey on the medical/healing uses and users of psychedelics.

Here - http://ukcpsychedelics.co.uk

Come along if you can.

Free O2, T-Shirt and Cmasx.


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Thanks (again) for sharing Shocked.  I was completely amazed that the ingestion of psilocybin would reduce activity in the brain.  I found something titled "Blue Brain" somewhere that I'm going to go back and research that one too now.

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