Fantasia - 4th Theory of Knowledge Conference Pathways World School, Gurgaon
The PWS TOK conference is designed to be a non-competitive forum where all participants can present their views on a range of engaging prompts without having to prove something in the process. On 13th November, Pathways World School, Gurgaon commenced the widely awaited 4th edition of the Theory of Knowledge conference, with the theme of “Fantasia” – an exploration of reality versus escapism.
Bringing together 11 schools, the Conference was transformed into an epicenter of diverse thought and intellectual experimentation.
Students were introduced to the details of the conference in the opening ceremony, which also consisted of an invocation dance and a song regarding the conference. Subsequently, students proceeded to their respective groups for module 1, which discussed escapism through the lens of different theories.
Students explored theories such as the big bang theory, evolution, parallel universes, and more. Participants were asked to categorize statements as truths or facts and then justify their reasoning for the same. Some groups went on to delve into the concept of escapism itself, evaluating whether or not it is beneficial in the long run.
After a short break, students returned for module 2, which explored the ethics of escapism in the media. The module began with an icebreaker where students could discuss some of their favorite television series and their ideal endings for the same.
This icebreaker evolved into a profound discussion regarding the influence of media on various audiences, and how we determine the boundaries of acceptable representation of escapism in the media. Students across different groups also expressed their opinions on false perceptions induced by news outlets, and how they can impact our political opinions.
The next module for the day delved into the motivations of seeking escapism. This prompt was explored thoroughly as participants shared their personal methods of escapism and their reasons for using them. The concept of escapism was also looked at through the lens of religion and how it can be disrupted due to instances of manipulation, politics, and extremism. After a hearty discussion regarding the same, and the clash of some contrasting opinions, students proceeded for lunch.
In the last session, the fruitful discussions that took place earlier during the day were amalgamated into expressive posters showcasing the authentic perspectives of members from each group. Arriving at an impasse due to the multitude of ideas from participants, many students decided to divide their posters into three sections depicting their thoughts regarding each module. After completing this task, students of Group 2, for example, chose to discuss and share songs that helped them escape reality, akin to the theme of the conference.
Finally, the closing ceremony showcased the multiple creative products that reflected various beliefs and opinions on what was being discussed within the groups. Through a collective effort, students put on a diverse display of learning and enjoyment, with memes, visuals, and text, generating an artistic union of thoughts through the posters made in each group.
Students and guests from other schools shared their insightful perspectives of the conference in regards to the sessions that took place while illustrating the knowledge gained from the conference. Wide appreciation for the conference’s insight into escapism and knowledge were summarised in phrases such as ‘studies turning interesting’, ideas, fun, and fruitful conversation.