Heroism Science

Home » Conferences » The Rise and Future of Heroism Science, 11-12 July 2016, Murdoch University, Australia

The Rise and Future of Heroism Science, 11-12 July 2016, Murdoch University, Australia


In 2006 psychologists Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo published their seminal paper “The Banality of Heroism” in Greater Good, catapulting heroism into the realm of scientific inquiry and the everyday for the first time in academic history. The advent of the multiple disciplinary field of ‘heroism science’, coined by Scott Allison, George Goethals and Rod Kramer (editors of the forthcoming inaugural Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership), signals the opening up of heroism which has traditionally been the monopoly of myth, fiction and popular culture to other disciplines, offering a multi-perspective lens for the active and rigorous observation of this enduring phenomenon.

This conference marked the first forum of its kind for researchers, educators and practitioners in Australia and around the world to come together and discuss key issues in the emerging field. It offered an open challenge to a broad range of experts to discover the relevance of heroism, the hero’s journey and heroic leadership to their work, whether explicit or implicit, and critically examine these connections.

Over two days attendees listened to informative, thought-provoking and inspirational talks on ancient history, business, film, writing, law, psychology, leadership and much more. The event showcased a great diversity of speakers in backgrounds and ages – from undergraduate, to postgraduate, to PhD students, to early career researchers, to established scholars and eminent professors, educators, clinical practitioners and professionals, both within and outside academia.

This diversity facilitated the appreciation of how widespread the phenomenon of heroism is, how many different lenses we can use to understand it and magnify it in the 21st century, and importantly, how it can be used as a tool to promote better research, better individuals and communities, and more sustainable practices in our increasingly complex and uncertain world.

The conference program was split into five distinct but inter-related sections which were aimed to lead into each other, starting from historical and cultural perspectives of heroism, and heroism in popular culture and fiction on Day 1; and contemporary psychological perspectives, heroism in professional contexts and career identity, and educational practices, on Day 2.

Download conference program and abstracts: The Rise and Future of Heroism Science_Conference Program_20.06.16

Keynote speakers

Day 1: Leading heroism expert Professor Scott T. Allison. Professor Allison has authored numerous books, including Heroes and Heroic Leadership. He is Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond, Virginia where he has published extensively on heroism and leadership.

Day 2: Dr Peter le Breton Ph.D. (Transformative Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies) is Associate Lecturer, Centre for University Teaching and Learning, Murdoch University. He champions general education, and an ecological, holistic, integral and systemic approach to scholarship and education.


The body of work produced from the conference will be published as one or more special issues in peer-refereed journals, as well as an edited book. It is anticipated that these publications will significantly add to existing literature, advance the visibility and impact of the field, and promote and inspire innovative collaborative research avenues in heroism science and beyond.

It is an honour to announce that Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives will be published as a high-level Research Monograph in the Mental Health division of Routledge, New York. Edited by Olivia Efthimiou, Scott T. Allison and Zeno E. Franco the book will feature emerging research from many heroism science 2016 conference speakers, as well as educators and activists in the field of heroism. Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century will showcase the continued presence of heroic ideas and action in contemporary societies from a broad range of settings, disciplines and perspectives – from business, to law, popular culture, economics, history and more. This book will appeal to researchers, educators, professionals and postgraduate students from a broad range of fields and disciplines.

We are pleased to announce that a special issue was launched on August 2016 with the peer-refereed journal IM: Interactive Media. IM is a refereed interdisciplinary electronic journal administered by the National Academy of Screen and Sound (Australia) and conceived as an interactive forum for researchers in screen and screen production. The special issue focuses on diverse contemporary representations of heroism in popular, visual and digital cultures, and creative production (both text and image based). Visit the special issue: http://imjournal.murdoch.edu.au/im-issue-11-2016/

It is also a great pleasure to announce that a second special issue of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (a publication of the American Psychological Association) on heroism is forthcoming in 2017. Dr. Zeno E. Franco is Guest Editor for the issue, which will focus on humanistic and existential aspects of heroism.


Keynote Presentations

Day 1: Professor Scott T. Allison, University of Richmond, Virginia “The Rise of the Art and Science of Heroism”


Day 2: Dr Peter le Breton, Murdoch University, Perth “Transdisciplinarity, Transformative Inquiry and Heroic Scholarship”

Select presentations

Patrick Jones, Murdoch University, Perth “Mindfulness and Heroism: Clear Mind / Open Heart”

Shawn Furey, The Hero Training School, US “Heroic Living, Human Ecosystem Management, and Psychological Wellbeing”

Dr Clive Williams “The Hero’s Journey as a Mudmap for Your Life”

Matt Langdon, The Hero Construction Company “The Making of a Hero: Cultivating Empathy, Altruism, and Heroic Imagination”


%d bloggers like this: