The idea for creating the conversation lab came from working with community groups, not for profit organizations and change-makers across Canada. I'm always encouraged by the amazing stories they share and in awe of the work they do helping to build bridges in their communities. These conversations offer many possible approaches that encompass gendered social realities about science, reason, politics, progress, and truth. This project examines those things which have exerted a strong influence on our thinking and attempts to find meaning in the way that we treat each other.
Language is a powerful tool when we're not arguing and actually listening to each other as it allows us to influence, regulate, persuade, and learn how to trust each other. The ability to listen and to ask generous questions brings out the best in those asking, as well as those answering. As we learn to get out of the way, we may begin to trust each other and move beyond a public discourse of certainty or absolutism. Achieving common ground doesn't necessarily have to be the goal. By letting go of the smaller questions and enlarging our language by going deeper, and becoming more vulnerable, conversations warm and open as they go below the surface. Like a key to a lock, or finding the combination to the tumbler that opens that secret room, a beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we feel, perceive, or think about something or someone.
I am hoping that beyond interesting and entertaining story telling, The Conversation Lab will be reflected in my academic, on-air, and online work. With decades on the air, this legacy project also intersects with my PhD program with UBC's Institute For Social Justice. "Sticks and Stones, Roots and Bones; The Inequalities of Climate Change, Talking Across Difference" explores the science, psychology, cultural, and emotional components of conversation, and what they have in common to gain insight and improve on existing knowledge of how we engage with each other whether about climate, race, gender, culture, politics, or social justice issues. I believe this work can contribute to positive social change.
The Conversation Lab is produced by CFRO FM (Co-op Radio) in Vancouver's downtown east side on the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-waututh) Nations. Our gratitude and thanks to them, and the many not for profit organizations and community groups for their support for this radio program and podcast.
If you enjoy these conversation please consider becoming a member of Co-op Radio. Also, if you know anyone or an organization with a story to share, please let them know about us. We can be found at co-op radio.org or contact me directly don@theconversationlab.
Heartfelt thanks to my academic guides, Dr.'s Minelle Mahtani, Janice Stewart, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Andy Hoffman, Jan Fook, Naomi Klein, Steven Duguid, and Leila Harris for their encouragement and help with this work.