The Trickster Consciousness in a Polarized World with Shepherd Siegel

Dada, the Beats and the Hippies – what do they all have in common? The way they played was a problem for the authorities, for the people in power trying to instill black and white order on the world.  This week on PlayGrounding we’ll be talking to Shepherd Siegel, an educator and author whose work explores disruptive play and protest. We’ll explore the role of the trickster as passed down to us through mythology from many diverse cultures, then learn about cultural movements led by pranksters who laid the groundwork for some of the methods used to protest the Vietnam war.

Shepherd Siegel on the Trickster, PlayGrounding PodcastShepherd is completing a book that will be launched this fall called Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture, about how play and the creative impulse could transform our society. In this episode, we’ll meet Shepherd and learn about the background behind his message. This fall, Shepherd will be back for a second interview where we’ll dive deeper into the book itself. I’ve had a sneak peek at the intro and first chapter. If they are any indication of what’s to come, you’re going to want to keep this book launch on your radar!

Shepherd Siegel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the midst of the Sixties counterculture. He was a professional rock and jazz musician who switched it out for his career as an educator (in music, career & technical and special education), earning his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.  He has over thirty publications in the education field.  Career Ladders, his internship program for high school students, is represented by over twenty school districts, a corresponding book, and an award from the US Department of Labor.  From 1996-2012 he led the School to Career and Career + Technical Education (CTE) initiative for Seattle Public Schools.

He joined Project Lead the Way in 2012 after having strong success with their STEM program in ten Seattle middle and high schools, until 2015.  He is a Past President of the Washington Association for Career and Technical Education, serving from 2012-2015.  He was the 2004 Outstanding Career and Technical Educator for the state of Washington, and a national finalist for the Association for Career and Technical Education 2005 Outstanding Career + Technical Educator.  The KAPPAN published his article about a meaningful high school diploma in 2010.

He has returned to his countercultural roots, currently writing a book, Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture, about how play and the creative impulse could transform our society.

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Comments 7

  1. Congratulations, Shepherd. We spoke at last year’s TASP conference and I write a lot about joker and trickster myself so I am excited to read your work. best, Mady

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    2. Thanks, Mady! I think that you might be the person who turned me on to Lewis Hyde’s book, ‘Trickster Makes This World’ which changed me and the course of my writing and the shape of the book…obviously. And that led to Paul Radin’s ‘The Trickster’ and a few other great books as well.

  2. For someone like me that missed knowing Dada, the Beats and the Hippies (I was a young housewife locked away at home) your work Shepherd, is an education and a catch- up to all that was going around me…I feel enlightened…thank you.

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