The International Congresses started in 1986 for the purpose of providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience on the Alexander Technique, and are open to anyone interested in the Technique. They are typically attended by between 300 and 700 participants.
The International Congresses were first run by Michael and Lena Frederick, later by independent Congress Directors by invitation of Michael Frederick, and are now run by Congress Directors, who are selected and supervised by the Alexander Technique Congress Association (ATCA, registered in Geneva, Switzerland). The association’s purpose is to create a platform for the enhancement, promotion, further development and deeper understanding of the F.M. Alexander Technique.
As stated in several of the articles by Michael D. Frederick listed below, the purpose of the congresses is to bring together various strands and traditions within the Alexander Technique community. As a STATNews article reported in 1987, after the 2nd Congress:
. . . [After the congress] what remains from all that excitement, the answer is a feeling of fellowship, a sense of belonging to a global community whose members are united by a common interest which they pursue in diverse ways. So it seems we have come some way from the dark days of the 1970s when the factionalism which was rife would have made such a coming together impossible.
1st Congress, 1986: Stony Brook, New York, USA. Approx. 250 participants. Director: Michael Frederick.
2nd Congress, 1988: Brighton, England. Approx. 500 participants. Director: Michael Frederick.
3rd Congress, 1991: Engelberg, Switzerland. Approx. 560 participants. Director: Michael Frederick.
4th Congress, 1994: Sydney, Australia. Approx. 250 participants. Director : David Garlick.
5th Congress, 1996: Jerusalem, Israel. Approx. 200 participants. Directors: Shmuel Nelken, Ora Nelken, Rika Cohen.
6th Congress, 1999: Freiburg, Germany. Approx. 550 participants. Directors: Karoline Erdmann, Daniel Susstrunk, Michael Fortwangler, Doris Dietschy.
7th Congress, 2004: Oxford, England. Approx. 710 participants. Directors: Jean M. O. Fischer, Peter Ribeaux, Lucia Walker.
8th Congress, 2008: Lugano, Switzerland. Approx. 600 participants. Directors: Michael D. Frederick, Rosa Luisa Rossi, Judy Stern.
9th Congress, 2011: Lugano, Switzerland. Approx. 350 participants. Directors: Robert Britton, Jamie McDowell, Irmel Weber.
10th Congress, 2015: Limerick, Ireland. Approx. 710 participants. Directors: Richard Brennan, Niall Kelly, Glenna Batson.
11th Congress, 2018: Chicago, USA. Approx. 610 participants. Directors: Carol Prentice and Jamie McDowell.
12th Congress, 2022: Berlin, Germany. (Moved from 2021 because of Covid-19.)
International Alexander Technique Congress® is a registered trademark.
The Congress Papers
A collection of papers from the congresses have been published as The Congress Papers since the 2nd Congress.
The Congress Papers 1988, Towards Unity.
The Congress Papers 1991, A Spirit of Learning Together.
The Congress Papers 1994, The Meaning of Change, 125 Years On.
The Congress Papers 1996, Back to Basics.
The Congress Papers 1999, An Ongoing Discovery.
The Congress Papers 2004, Exploring the Principles.
The Congress Papers 2008, From Generation to Generation volume one.
The Congress Papers 2008, From Generation to Generation volume two.
The Congress Papers 2011, Learning from Each Other.
The Congress Papers 2015, Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science.
The Congress Papers 2018, Advancing Global Perspectives.
Writings – Reports
‘Stonybrook, a memorable occasion’ unsigned.
‘The First International Congress of Teachers of the F. M. Alexander Technique’ by David Alexander.
‘Reflections on attending the First International Congress for the Alexander Technique’ by Tommy Thompson.
‘Stoney Brook and beyond’ by Robert M. Rickover.
‘Brighton 1988 – The 2nd International Congress’ by John Hunter.
‘The Second International Congress – A personal view’ by Mara Sokolsky.
‘4th International Congress of Teacher of the Alexander Technique, Sydney 1994’ by Jean Clark.
‘Reports: 5th International Congress, Jerusalem’ by Anne Battye, Ken Thompson, Judith Magidov, Jean Clark.
‘Sixth International Congress of the Alexander Technique – A tribal gathering’ by Anna Cooper.
‘Sixth International Congress of the Alexander Technique – Coaching to the Congress’ by Jean Clark.
‘7th International Congress in Oxford’ by Jean Clark.
Several reports from the 2004 Oxford Congress were published in ‘Seventh International Congress of the F. M. Alexander Technique’.
‘Eighth International Congress of the F. M. Alexander Technique’ by Susan Holladay and Maddy Paxman.
Several reports from the 2008 Lugano Congress were published in ‘Eighth International Congress of the F. M. Alexander Technique’.
‘Report from the Lugano Congress – A selection of comments from those who attended’ by Pedro de Alcantara, Judith Kleinman, Peter Ribeaux, Amy Likar.
‘Moving with the times’ by Paul Marsh reporting on the 11th Congress, 2018, in Chicago.
Writings – History and origin
Michael Frederick’s articles and addresses to the Congresses contain information on the origin of the congresses.
‘Reflections on coordinating the International Congresses’ by Michael Frederick contains some history of the origin of the congresses.
‘Towards unity’ by Michael Frederick.
Michael Frederick’s address to the 4th Congress, 1994, in Sydney, contains some history of each of the congresses, and some thoughts on ‘protectionists’ and ‘evolutionists’ of the Technique.
‘Keynote address’ by Michael Frederick.
‘Opening address’ by Michael D. Frederick.
‘It’s been a long, a long time coming’ by Michael Frederick, his address to the 11th Congress, 2018, in Chicago, contains some history of the congresses.
Writings – Promotional
‘Fifth International Congress of the Alexander Technique’ by Ora and Shmuel Nelken, Rika Cohen.
‘Sixth International Congress of the Alexander Technique’ by Doris Dietschy and Karoline Erdmann.
‘International congresses in the F. M. Alexander Technique: Their background and significance’ by Doris Dietschy.
‘The International Congress in Oxford’ by Jean M. O. Fischer.
‘Looking forward to Congress 2015’ by Richard Brennan.
‘Congress 2015 preview’ by Richard Brennan.
‘Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science’ by Richard Brennan.
‘Empowering Humanity, Inspiring Science’ by Richard Brennan.
‘Come and join us at AT Congress 2015’ (no author).
‘Congress 2018: The countdown continues’ (no author).
Several presentations were filmed at the 1st Congress in 1986, and published in DVD in 2011.
Neal Katz, at the 3rd Congress, talking about dysfunction in the Alexander community, complained about the congress: ‘500 competent Alexander teachers sitting immobilized, listening to one speaker, is not my idea of the best use of precious time together.’
‘After-shocks in the wake of the 4th International Congress’ by Misha Magidov in which he complains about the commercial, rowdy and aggressive attiude of some teachers, and has concerns about the so-called ‘improved’ or ‘remote-control’ Alexander Technique, consisting of teaching without any, or very little, hands-on.
A letter by Daniel Harbach and Daryl Joyce in STATNews in 2009, criticised the expense, the contents, and the organisation.