• Lois Holzman

Lois Holzman, Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psycotherapy, an international educational and research center for developing and promoting alternative and radically humanizing approaches in psychology, education and community building.

If ever there was a time that the world’s people needed new ways of seeing
and being, it’s now. Living is precarious for vast numbers, a constant struggle
for too many others, and frustratingly challenging for everyone else far more
often than they’d like. Hear from developmental psychologist, play 
revolutionary and performance activist Lois Holzman how, where, and why 
play and performance generate social power for personal, community and 
global transformation. 

Lois Holzman lives her life as an activist who uses her academic background and experience to organize people—as individuals and communities—to participate in creating their development and in so doing, to create hope and new possibilities. This involves her in building partnerships that bring the best of grassroots practices into conversation with the most innovative of academic scholarship, and giving support to community educators and activists worldwide in their efforts to make the world more humane through a variety of international programs.


Lois is co-founder of the East Side Institute, an international educational and research center for a new kind of social activism, one that reinitiates people’s development and capacity to create what they need in order to better their lives, their communities and the world. For over 30 years, she has led the way in developing a new psychology that understands our ability to perform – to pretend, to play, to improvise, to be who we are and other than who we are – as key to our emotional, social and intellectual growth and well-being at any age and life circumstances.


Lois is also a founder and the chair of the biennial Performing the World conferences, which support the emerging social change approach known as performance activism. She is mentor and coach to hundreds of scholars, educators, artists and community activists around the globe, and, along with them, she is helping to usher in performance activism as a new approach to community development and social change.


As a leading proponent of a cultural approach to human learning and development, Lois has made the writings of Lev Vygotsky relevant to the fields of education, psychotherapy, education and youth, community and organizational development. She is the author of 10 books – including her latest, The Overweight Brain – and hundreds of chapters, essays and articles, a selection of which are featured in the recently published Big Ideas and Revolutionary Activity. Lois received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and was recently appointed Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Vygotskian Practice and Performance by the Lloyd International Honors College at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Links to more Information about Lois’s work:

Academic CV

TEDx talk, How Play Helps Us Grow at Any Age.