The ISRS invites to the (online) ISRS Seminars organized 3 times a year.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to

Participation in the seminar is free.

Upcoming seminars

The seminar will take place on Thursday 27th October at 4 pm of UK time /11.00 US EST time /5pm Polish time / 5pm Malta /6pm Israeli time / 6pm Turkish time / 11pm Hong Kong / 1am next day Melbourne.

The seminar will be held in the MS Teams application. If you want to join, click here.

Finitude, solitude, and the renewal of generosity

This contribution takes its inspiration from Edward Jabès’ observation that ‘thought has no ties: it lives by encounter and dies of solitude’ (Jabès, 1994). It will draw on reflections that have arisen in the process of organising a ‘convivium’ for a young colleague who is facing a terminal illness (Pirrie, 2022).

Facing the prospect of one’s imminent demise can be a time when we are confronted with being ‘but one’ in our mortality. And yet perhaps it is only by engaging with our mortality that we can make sense of what is meaningful in our lives and what is not. Only in this way can we fully appreciate the preciousness of the now and the intimacy of human connection, qualities that paradoxically are perhaps best appreciated in solitude, or in alone/together forms of association (in a theatre or cinema, for instance). Organising the convivium referred to above has brought about an anticipated ‘renewal of generosity’ among the prospective participants, casting further light on the being alone/together in higher education that was the subject of my co-authored contribution to the Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness. The heightened sense of community and solidarity generated by the prospect of the convivium was also the animating principle for the creation of Dancing in the Dark. A Survivor’s Guide to the University, a richly illustrated pocket book (an anti-handbook, of sorts) in which the art and the text live by encounter and die of solitude (Pirrie et al, 2022).

Frank, A. (2004) The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine and How to Live. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jabès, E. (1996) The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion, Stanford University Press.

Pirrie. A. (2022) ‘Educating for (the blossomest) of blossoms’, presentation at a convivium on the arts, finitude and education at Moray House School of Education, 29th October 2022.

Pirrie, A., Fang, N. and O’Brien, E. (2022) Review of Dancing in the Dark. A Survivor’s Guide to the University, Educational Philosophy and Theory

Anne Pirrie is a Reader in Education at the University of the West of Scotland. Formerly a contract researcher, Anne is a generalist with an eye for the particular. Her book Virtue and the Quiet Art of Scholarship: reclaiming the university (2019) explores the conditions for human flourishing in an environment blighted by managerialism. She considers her role as a teacher in the same terms as Nan Shepherd (1893-1981), the author of The Living Mountain: to try to prevent a few of the students who pass through the institution from conforming altogether to the approved pattern.

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Archive (view video recording)

Lonely as a crowd: solitude in schools and the inner family (with reference to Internal Family Systems)

The seminar will take place on Thursday 28th October at 4pm of UK time /11.00 US EST time /5pm Polish time / 5pm Malta /6pm Israeli time / 5pm Turkish time / 11pm Hong Kong / 1am next day Melbourne.

This presentation considers the multifaceted nature of solitude in schools and schooling, with particular attention paid to the solitude issues of schools as a system of social education. In such a context solitude is a personal matter but also touches the crowd, the community. What is the dialogue between these two domains of personal and public when it comes to people choosing aloneness? Furthermore what other dialogues might be involved that both the personal life of people and the social, public side of living (in this case through education in action) might not know or not hear? I am interested in the context of the tension inherent in the above in the interplay of self and “self-other” discussed within the therapeutic framework of internal family systems (IFS as started by Richard Schwartz). What is it when we achieve solitude in schools only to discover within ourselves is a multitude of parts (acting as separate “beings”) impossible for us to escape but possible to educate?


Dr Helen E Lees is an independent scholar, specialising in ways for people to achieve inner peaceful selfhood via the realisations inherent in educating oneself. She recently wrote the chapter Schooling and Solitude in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness (Stern, Walejko, Sink, Wong, 2021). She lives and works near Florence, Italy as a writer and educator.

The meeting will be held on MS Teams. If you want to join, click on the link ISRS Seminar 28.10.2021

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to


Professor Amanda Fulford (Edge Hill University)

Title: Solitude: Encounter, Communion and Revealing in Shepherd and Thoreau

The seminar will take place on Friday 9th July at 3 pm of UK time /10.00 US EST time /4pm Polish time / 4pm Malta /5pm Israeli time / 5pm Turkish time / 10pm Hong Kong / 0am next day Melbourne.

Abstract: This presentation will consider what it might mean to experience solitude in nature through the work of two writers: the 19th nineteenth-century American philosopher, essayist and naturalist, Henry David Thoreau, and Anna (Nan) Shepherd, the 20th twentieth-century author and poet. It will show that the life that both these writers spent, often (though not always) alone in nature, should not lead to an understanding of their works merely as self-help texts for ‘getting away from it all’ and spending time in the outdoors alone to de-stress. Nor are their works appeals to live some kind of hermit-like existence alone in nature. Rather, both books are richly poetic, deeply philosophical works that open up questions of how, through the practices of solitude, we are opened up to the possibilities of society with Nature herself. This radically shifts our understanding of what is meant by solitude (commonly, as the state or situation of being without human company), and opens up a richer understanding developed through ideas of encounter and engagement, solitariness and communion, and separation and revealing.


Title: Children and Silence

The seminar will take place on 22nd April at 3 pm of UK time /10.00 US EST time /4pm Polish time / 4pm Malta /5pm Israeli time / 5pm Turkish time / 10pm Hong Kong / 0am next day Melbourne.

Richard E. Cleveland, PhD is an associate professor and program director of the Counselor Education Program at Georgia Southern University, USA. His research interests include mindfulness, school counseling, and psycho-physiological responses to traumatic incidents. He has published on student wellness in schools, contemplative practices and mindfulness interventions with first responders. Additionally, Richard is a practicing nationally board-certified mental health clinician.

Although children often demonstrate silence, adults may not always consider whether such experiences are healthy or detrimental. Healthy silence must recognize two integral factors: differing cultural expectations pertaining to children and silence; and the role of agency. This presentation gives an overview of common cultural perspectives on silence and a synopsis of definitional aspects of silence. As the majority of children’s daily lived experiences occur in schools, addressing silence in the school/classroom setting seems relevant for all helping-profession practitioners working with children especially those in and educational/school setting. Parallels between mindfulness and solitude are presented as a means for introducing interventions that foster healthy silence for children. The presenter hopes to persuade the argument that healthy silence is a necessary aspect of human development, and not solely reserved for adults.

Our first guests will be outstanding specialists Malka Margalit and Eyal Rosenstreich from Peres Academic Center  who will give a lecture on Loneliness and hope during childhood and adolescence: Personal and interpersonal perspectives

Malka Margalit, Ph.D is a professor and Dean of the school of behavioral sciences, Peres Academic Center, Professor emeritus, Tel-Aviv University.  Among others, she was the laureate of the Israeli prize 2017, for her research in education. Research interest: Loneliness, hope theory, social support and learning disorders.

Eyal Rosenstreich, Ph.D  is a senior lecturer and the head of the methodological studies. Research interests: Loneliness, mindfulness, false memory, conscious and unconscious memory processes.

The seminar will take place on 28th January at 3 pm of UK time. (Polish time: 4pm; Israeli time: 5pm; California time: 7am; Hong Kong: 11pm; Australia: 2am – we are sorry for that, our Australian friends!)

The seminar will be held on the MS Teams platform. If you want to participate, write to us at We will send you a link with access to the event.


Loneliness and hope are gaining a special significance during the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the social distancing international policy and the periodical lockdown.  Recent developmental studies and a comprehensive meta-analysis demonstrated the stability of inter-individual differences, and call  for a special awareness to the impacts of their social and emotional intra- and interpersonal antecedents, concomitants, and consequences (Beller & Wagner, In press; Mund et al, 2020; Mund, Freuding, et al., 2020).The significance of awareness to loneliness, hope and solitude in the early developmental stages will be demonstrated in the presentation through focusing on development of risks, resources and coping within contextual and cultural perspectives (George-Levi, Schmidt-Barad & Margalit, In press). Considering educational and interventional considerations, we shall propose future research and intervention directions.


Beller, J., & Wagner, A. (in press). Loneliness and health: The moderating effect of cross-cultural individualism/collectivism. Journal of Aging and Health

George-Levi, S., Schmidt-Barad, T., & Margalit, M. (in press). Loneliness in childhood. In J. Stern, C. A. Sink, M. Walejko, & P. H. Wong (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Solitude, Silence and Loneliness, Bloomsbury.

Mund, M., Freuding, M. M., Möbius, K., Horn, N., & Neyer, F. J. (2020, Feb). The stability and change of loneliness across the life span: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 24(1), 24-52.

Mund, M., Lüdtke, O., & Neyer, F. J. (2020). Owner of a lonely heart: The stability of loneliness across the life span. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), 497-516.