x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Body of Knowledge.

This event occurred on
November 19, 2016
10:00am - 4:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
United States

CURATOR'S STATEMENT The Body of Knowledge conference is a culmination of 3 years of planning. Even before the 2013 show hit the stage, I knew the theme of the next conference. Speakers were quick to commit to an autumn 2014 date and the bill was nearly complete when the miracle of all miracles graced my life. After 8 years of improvisation and planning, science and prayers, Eóghan made us quick parents. Of course I could run the show with a 2 month old en tow! Guided by the voices of reason, I postponed the event until 2015. The bill changed somewhat, but it was full speed ahead through the summer and fall, with a Nov. 2015 date on the calendar. As my baby grew in leaps and bounds, so did my “first born;” TEDxShelburneFalls was growing out of its venue and required a change. At the 11th hour, another postponement. Enter Mohawk Regional School and Falls Cable. With forward thinking and flexibility, we happily assume our place in West County’s bastion of learning; where Buckland resident Mary Lyon first began schooling girls in the 1800’s and founded the worldwide model of higher education for women. Apropos, no?

With a fresh bill of speakers and ideas for our time, we present this body of knowledge to you today. You are called to witness these stories, these perspectives, and critically consider their place in your life, in your community. You will be challenged. You will hear ideas you agree with, and some you don’t. Growth and progress is not always easy. Expectations do not always manifest as planned. We are resilient. We improvise. With loving hearts and focused intentions, we forge a future of possibility in earnest as we find or create answers.

I hope you enjoy hearing about the ideas your neighbors - on, behind, and in front of the stage – have to share with you, whether you agree with them or not. A cultured mind is an open mind. Thank you all for your energy, your inquisitiveness, and your support through this grand experiment.

Stacy Kontrabecki, Organizer & Curator
19 November 2016

Mohawk Trail Regional High School
24 Ashfield Rd. (112)
Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, 01370
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Shelburne­Falls events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Violet Rawlings, Adam Benjamin & Lucy Carr

Artists & Students
(Shelburne Falls & Ashfield) Violet, a junior, and Lucy and Adam, both Sophomores, are students at Mohawk Trail Regional High School.  These creative students also pursue interests in athletics, literature & writing, rock climbing, and cultural critique. They are interested in the way art intersects personal and social issues and will present artistic works that explore the use of metaphor as a means for making images about what each artist is "made of".

Angela Marie Dostie

Singer, Voice Teacher
Opera Singer/Voice Teacher (Greenfield, Massachusetts USA) Angela has studied Opera, Classical, Broadway music and performed in many places around the US for over 23 years. Her vocal performances have won her many scholarships and awards and she continues to share that talent today. She has been teaching private voice/music theory lessons for 14 years. Coming from a strong background of wonderful mentors and teachers herself, she enjoys passing on what she’s learned to those who need guidance within the community. When not performing or teaching, Angela is a full-time banker in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts USA, a proud mother of three beautiful children, and wife to a very supportive husband.

Arlie Hart

Flying Trapeze Instructor, Owner of Pathfinder Rigging, Psychologist
Flying Trapeze Instructor, Owner of Pathfinder Rigging, Psychologist (Putney, Vermont USA) Arlie grew up climbing up on things and then jumping off things. When he discovered the flying trapeze it was as if a part of his childhood was reborn. 15 years later, he brings his love of flight and the joy of self-discovery through the experience of flight to people all over the world. By allowing people to develop a deeper understanding of themselves through the use of the flying trapeze, Arlie has helped people of all ages to stretch their notion of self to include things that may have at one time seemed impossible. Being a part of that growth is Arlie’s favorite part of teaching and flying on the trapeze.

Brenda Lynn Siegel

Executive/Artistic Director Southern VT Dance Festival, Choreographer/Director IBIT Dance Company
Executive/Artistic Director Southern VT Dance Festival, Choreographer/Director IBIT Dance Company (Brattleboro, Vermont USA) Brenda earned her BS in dance & composition from Hampshire College. She teaches residencies, classes & workshops throughout the US & runs a pre-professional training program for modern dancers.  Siegel’s choreography has been shown at multiple festivals & venues throughout the country, including MA Dance Festival, Rhythm Festival, The Oberon, & The Dance Complex.  At 19 years old, Siegel was published in “Celebrating the lives of Jewish Women” & continues to publish on dance and non-dance related subjects.  Siegel interned in Bernie Sanders office in Washington DC & volunteered on his 2016 campaign.  Her career weaves through social, political & artistic projects & she often brings them together with work on “Creative Economy” to create a thriving infrastructure for economic & artistic growth.

Charlie Spencer and Kathryn Swanson

Head of Center School, Greenfield
Charlie Spencer Head of Center School, Greenfield, Massachusetts (Amherst, Massachusetts USA) Kathryn Greenwood Swanson Educator & Gender Justice Activist (Montague, Massachusetts USA) Charlie is in her eighth year as Head of the Center School, began her work there in 2007 as lead teacher of the Middle and Upper Primes (2nd and 3rd grade). Prior to her work at the Center School, she taught at the distinguished Brearley School in Manhattan, produced children's educational theatre, managed theatre companies in the UK focusing on identity politics and education, and helped launch acclaimed Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. Her varied work experience in the US and abroad served to strengthen her passion for progressive education. To her, education is an amazing social justice platform and change begins with teaching empathy and giving students the skills and foundation to access the amazing world around them. Kathryn holds a BA from Hampshire College. She has been a classroom teacher at the Center School for five years, championing gender-nonconforming students and families. She lives in Montague, MA with her son Linden. 

Kathy Lytle

Nurse, Amateur Historian/Genealogist, Entrepreneur
Nurse, Amateur Historian/Genealogist, Entrepreneur (Buckland, Massachusetts USA) Kathy lives in a big old farmhouse in the beautiful village of Upper Buckland, Massachusetts USA. She has raised three daughters and started a coffee roasting business with her husband Curtis Rich. Her first career was as a Registered Nurse, with a strong focus in psychiatric and elder care. Kathy’s research on the history of Buckland uncovers and unravels the fantastic story of one of its most interesting residents, Josiah Spaulding Jr., a young man confined to live for 56 years in a cage in his family’s home. The tale begins in Buckland, but has sweeping impacts on the industry of mental health across many states and several centuries. A book is in progress.

Leslie Grinnell

Pet Mobility Expert at Eddies Wheels
Pet Mobility Expert at Eddies Wheels (Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts USA) For 20+ years Leslie has personally cared for a succession of disabled dogs including Buddha, Hardy - a Doberman with Wobblers, Autumn - a Dobe with spondylosis, Toby - a Rotti mix with torn ACLs, Nick - a boxer with spinal fracture, Daisy - a dachshund with IVDD, Sweet Pea - a paralyzed pitbull, and Nelix - a 3-legged cat. Currently Leslie cares for Webster - a chi-weiner born with no front legs, and Beau - a 3-year-old pitbull with three crushed vertebrae. Leslie works with canine rehab practitioners and holistic vets to help pets of all species survive & thrive.

Mariana Luz

End of Life Doula
End of Life Doula (Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts USA) Mariana has worked in the helping professions with children, women in emotional distress, adults with developmental disabilities and elders since early adulthood. For a decade she’s provided home care services to elders and the disabled. Mariana provided many of the support services these people need to live fulfilling lives in their own home – often until their dying day. She believes we all need and deserve a kind companion to witness and usher in the process of dying. Mariana has two adult children. A life-long learner, she studied at The University of Massachusetts, Greenfield Community College and Stillpoint School of Massage Therapy. She is in the process of obtaining her certification as an End of Life Doula.

Shirley Prescott

Entrepreneur, Survivor
Entrepreneur, Survivor (Westfield, Massachusetts USA) Shirley is co-owner of a leadership development company with her husband. She is a survivor of a rare form of breast cancer whose story tells us that “hard is not impossible” and personal outlook changes circumstances. She has a strong personal faith with an underlining belief that our minds can be altered for the better by the power of positive thinking and a change in perspective. Shirley is an inquisitive person who loves to research. She loves bringing out the best in people while building strong communities. She loves bringing out the best in people while building strong communities.

Tara Roberts

Family Builder, Educator, Fertility Rights Activist
Family Builder, Educator, Fertility Rights Activist (Springfield, Massachusetts USA) Tara teaches high school English in Western Massachusetts. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English: Creative Writing from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in School Administration. She is an active member of Resolve New England and the Donor Sibling Registry. She lives in Springfield, Massachusetts with her partner David and their son, Silas.

Organizing team