From Amazonian ayahuasca ceremonies to university laboratories, invited speakers discuss the resurgent relevance of psychedelic drugs in science and culture. The panel is chaired by Kerry Rowberry, and includes Haroon Mirza, David Luke, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, and Alex O’Bryan-Tear, Scientific Researcher and Assistant to the Director at the Beckley Foundation.
David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he teaches the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience. He was President of the Parapsychological Association between 2009-2011 and has published more than 100 academic papers on the intersection of transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness. He has co-authored/co-edited four books on psychedelics and paranormal experience, directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the institute of Ecotechnics, and co-founded Breaking Convention.
Dr Alex O'Bryan-Tear is one of the Beckley Foundation's Science Advisors. He keeps an eye on scientific developments taking place in the labs of the Beckley Foundation's collaborators and worldwide, and contributes the scientific content to its website, newsletters, and blogs. Prior to this position, Alex completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, studying how the brain's ingenious data processing mechanisms lead inevitably to delusions and hallucinations of the type seen in psychosis, under the influence of certain drugs, and of course in everyday life.
Kerry Rowberry graduated as a journalist in 2004. Whilst on a personal journey to address the depression suffered following redundancy she came across ayahuasca. Having experienced ayahusca's efficacy first hand she set out to help others see it too. Not as a supplier, but as a researcher. In 2011 she embarked on her part time PhD with the University of Cumbria which aims to provide an ethnographic perspective of Amazonian Shamanism in Britain. She founded The Psychedelic Society of Birmingham in February 2015, and has presented at a variety of academic conferences over the course of her PhD, including the Breaking Convention 2015 and 2017.