I am one of the founder members of the Stoicism Today project, responsible for ‘Stoic Week’ and a series of annual public events dubbed ‘Stoicon’. The project’s (new) website can be found at modernstoicism.com (and on Facebook, Twitter).
In the Autumn of 2012 I was one of a number of invited participants at a workshop held at the University of Exeter, bringing together academics and psychotherapists with a view to thinking about whether it might be possible to test the efficacy of ancient Stoic practices. It was at this workshop that the idea of Stoic Week was born. The idea was simple: invite participants to follow a series of Stoic practices for a week, asking them to note their subjective sense of well being before and after. We rolled out Stoic Week for the first time in November 2012, primarily for a group of students based at Exeter, but inviting others who were curious to join in too. This was very much a trial run.
I gave public lectures on Stoicism and psychotherapy in the early months of 2013, in Bristol and at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Later that year, with the support of an AHRC grant (‘Putting Stoicism into Practice’, for which I was Co-Investigator), we repeated Stoic Week, this time with maximum publicity, in order to attract as many participants as possible. There was a good deal of media attention. I took the lead organizing a large public event in London to coincide with Stoic Week, which we called ‘Stoicism for Everyday Life’ (2013, held at Birkbeck). The event was a great success, with over 200 participants.
We repeated again in 2014. I was interviewed about the project on ABC Radio in Australia. A second public event was held in London (at Queen Mary), at which I spoke and ran a workshop. 2015 saw the fourth iteration of Stoic Week, and a further public event at Queen Mary, now dubbed ‘Stoicon’, at which I ran a workshop. In order to vary the range of participants, we invited a number of external speakers from the USA to join us at the event, some of whom came on board as new members of the steering group. This led to our next big public event, in Autumn 2016, being held in New York, with a smaller event in London. I was unable to attend either event, although I did a short interview in the run-up to Stoic Week 2016 for the project website. At this point, the website relocated from its original location at the University of Exeter to an autonomous site, and the organization was set up as an independent charity.
I was one of the contributing authors for the initial versions of the Stoic Week handbook, upon which subsequent versions have been based. I have written numerous blog posts for the project website, some of which have been published in Volumes 1 and 2 of Stoicism Today: Selected Writings (2014. 2016). I have posted copies of some of these and some other short pieces at 'Miscellanea Stoica'.
For 2017, Stoic Week will happen again, in October, and the large public event, Stoicon, will take place in Toronto. A series of smaller events, Stoicon-x events, are being planned at locations around the world.