A conversation with Rosalind Watts, Gul Dolen, Akua Ofoshene, and Anya Oleksiuk

Wednesday, July 7th from 12-2pm PST


This year of lockdown has seen psychedelic drugs and research at the forefront of public attention. As the global culture shift is well underway, discourse about the benefits, harms, and possibilities of psychedelics is more important than ever. 

Supported by MAPS, The Psychedelic Renaissance is a documentary encapsulating the re-emergence of psychedelics into modern culture. Following the exponential growth in psychedelic research and media, the documentary captures perspectives from many crucial figures.

Predominantly female-directed, the documentary captures the diverse voices of many inspiring women, empowering the work of women in psychedelics, which has historically been forgotten. 

Chacruna ishosting a special fundraising event for The Psychedelic Renaissance this Summer. The event will be a panel discussion among some of the movement’s most influential female figures, followed by an audience Q&A. Addressing some of the most critical issues within the psychedelic renaissance, including the lack of diversity and concerns over commodification and corporatization, this will be a highly topical, important conversation.

We will be screening a preview of new, exclusive documentary footage at this event. 

Speakers at the event include Rosalind Watts – Clinical Lead of the Psilocybin for Depression Study at Imperial College London; Gul Dolen – Associate Professor and psychedelic researcher at the Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Akua Ofosuhene, who has powerful lived experiences of healing with psychedelic medicine and Anya Oleksiuk, the Director/Producer of The Psychedelic Renaissance and Psychedelic Society’s Co-director.

The Psychedelic Renaissance documentary needs your support to help finish production of the film. Please consider donating to their crowdfund here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/thepsychedelicrenaissance

Anya Oleksiuk is a documentary filmmaker, host and educator. She is a Co-Director of the Psychedelic Society UK, leading on video production, harm reduction and education about psychedelics. She curates and hosts talks and panel discussions for the Psychedelic Society and for Anthropos Festival. She is also associated with the Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands and is a consultant for the Polish Psychedelic Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Psychodeliczne). Anya is a founder and director of Triptika Studios, which is a collective of independent filmmakers with interests in health, science, innovative solutions, mental health, drug advocacy, social and racial justice and environment-friendly lifestyles. She is also the creator, director and producer of The Psychedelic Renaissance – a not-for-profit documentary film about the worldwide re-emergence of the psychedelic movement and the crucial role of psychedelic substances, plants and mushrooms in human culture.

As Clinical Lead of the Psilocybin for Depression Study at Imperial College London, Dr Rosalind Watts led the clinical team which facilitated over a hundred psilocybin treatment sessions in just over a year.  She has published qualitative research into the psychological mechanisms of psilocybin treatment, a model of psychedelic therapy- ‘Accept, Connect, Embody (ACE)’ -and designed a psychometric tool for measuring connectedness. In her new role of Clinical Director of Synthesis Institute, she is leading the Clinical Track of the Synthesis Practitioner Training Program, and developing programs to build ‘connectedness to self, others and the natural world’ based on her research.  Ros is committed to building structures to safeguard the ethical expansion of psychedelic therapy, and consults for Usona.

4 years ago Akua Ofosuhene found out that her teenage son had been groomed into a Countylines drug dealing while at school. The shame and guilt brought on  depression, high blood pressure and a cancer scare. Although the police, and youth services were ‘doing their best’ Akua realised that institutional out dated practises were not working. She had to find a different way. Akua learned about psychedelic medicines, alternative healing modalities and African spirituality. By putting these together she was able to treat her depression and eventually get her son out of the drug dealing ring. Today Akua advices on intentions and integration while working with psychedelic medicines. She also advices other parents dealing with the effects of grooming and gang activity. She’s a member of  INSCAPE a psychotherapy led psychedelic retreat organisation. Akua works full time as designer and importer natural and artisanal products from Ghana.

Gül Dölen, M.D./Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Solomon H. Snyder Department Neuroscience and the Brain Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The principal research focus of Dr. Dölen’s laboratory is to understand how plasticity and neuromodulation govern social behavior in health and disease (www.dolenlab.org). Their studies of psychedelic drugs in evolutionarily distant species like octopus, have revealed that these drugs target ancient mechanisms that have been conserved for hundreds of millions of years (Edsinger and Dölen, Current Biology, 2018). Recently, her laboratory has made the groundbreaking discovery that MDMA can reopen a novel critical period of brain plasticity in mice (Nardou et, al., Nature, 2019). Building on this discovery, Dr. Dölen has initiated the PHATHOM project (Psychedelic Healing: Adjunct Therapy Harnessing Opened Malleability; www.phathomproject.org), which aims to test the hypothesis that psychedelic drugs as a class act to reopen multiple critical periods across the brain, and that this property can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit. Dr. Dölen is also a member of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and serves as an Executive Advisory Board Member for the International Arts and Mind laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. 

This talk will be recorded and immediately available for rewatch for all attendees.

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