2017 Presenters Coming Soon!
(Continue reading to learn about last years’ presenters)
Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamory in the US, and the worldwide expert on polyamorous families with children. Sheff’s first book, The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), details her 15-year study of poly families with kids and was just reprinted in paperback, and her second book Stories from the Polycule (2015) is an edited anthology of writings by poly folks. When Someone You Love is Polyamorous (2016) is Sheff’s shortest book that guides family members and significant others who are trying to understand a polyamorous loved one. An expert witness and Guardian Ad Litem with a background in academic sociology, Dr. Sheff specializes in gender and sexual minority families, kink/BDSM, and issues facing trans* people. She is the CEO and Director of Legal Services at the Sheff Consulting Group, a think-tank of experts specializing in unconventional and underserved populations. You can find her blogs on Psychology Today at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-polyamorists-next-doorand http://elisabethsheff.com/
Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson are the authors of the new book Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships (Cleis Press, September 2015). A devoted married couple, they have been creative collaborators––teaching and writing about relationships, sexuality, and Tantra––since 1999. In addition to Designer Relationships, they have written Partners in Passion (Cleis Press), Great Sex Made Simple, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality (Llewellyn). They are also the creators of the COVR Award-winning meditation CD set Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep.
Internationally known as experts in sexuality, Michaels and Johnson have taught throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Australia. They have been featured on television and radio and widely quoted in numerous publications. They are cofounders of the Pleasure Salon, a monthly gathering in New York City that brings together sex-positive people and pleasure activists from a variety of communities.
Michaels is a graduate of New York University School of Law and holds master’s degrees in American Studies from NYU and Yale. Formerly a playwright and translator, he has translated, adapted, and cowritten various works for the stage. Johnson is a retired professional operatic soprano who toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. She currently works in turtle conservation; she is certified in reptile monitoring by the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and is a New York state-licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Michael Rios is an entrepreneur and practical visionary with a creative genius for freedom and empowerment; as some have said, “Michael doesn’t have a box to think outside of.” In 1964, he founded a commune based on service, spirituality, and sensuality that lasted 30 years and (among other projects) provided emergency shelter and support services for homeless people and troubled young adults. In addition, he started one of the first domestic violence hotlines in the US in 1971, and one of the first computer business in the US in 1976. Michael co-founded and lives at Chrysalis, a small urban intentional community in Arlington, VA, whose mission is to support activists and healers (www.chrysalis-va.org). Since 2004, he has been a major organizer of Network for a New Culture’s East Coast Summer Camp (www.nfnc.org, www.cfnc.us) and other events aimed at creating a culture based on awareness, compassion, and freedom rather than on fear and judgment. In 2011, Michael became the director of Abrams Creek Center (www.abramscreekcenter.com), a retreat center in the mountains of West Virginia. His current passion is creating an “intentional village” there and in the nearby town – a place where people live consciously with and near one another, building a life based on personal enterprise and freedom, economic independence, and a web of social interconnectedness (http://aciv.cfnc.us).
Sarah Taub, Ph.D., is a cultural activist whose passion is creating events where people transform. She teaches the skills of peaceful, sustainable community – self-awareness, honesty, clear boundaries – and facilitates group processes of many sorts, including consensus decision-making, business meetings and retreats, ZEGG Forum (www.zegg-forum.org/), and conflict resolution sessions. Sarah co-founded the first cohousing community in Washington, DC, and for the past 10 years has lived at Chrysalis, a small urban intentional community in Arlington, VA whose mission is to support activists and healers (www.chrysalis-va.org). Since 2004, she has been a major organizer of Network for a New Culture’s East Coast Summer Camp (www.nfnc.org, www.cfnc.us) and other events aimed at creating a culture based on awareness, compassion, and freedom rather than on fear and judgment. In 2006, she left her tenured professorship in Cognitive Linguistics at Gallaudet University to focus full-time on events, community-building, and cultural change. Since 2011, she has been the financial and programs manager for Abrams Creek Center(www.abramscreekcenter.com), a retreat center and community in the mountains of West Virginia. Sarah’s current koan: only when you let go of urgency can you be truly effective.