I’ve been talking with people on and off the air and more recently online for over fifty years. When I was retired from Bell Media I went back to school and hooked my microphone up to my laptop, and continued talking with not-for-profit organizations and community groups about the good work they are doing. Occasionally I have an opportunity to talk with change makers around the world working on interesting projects and share them as well. It’s a little DIY from my cabin in the woods on the west coast of Canada, but it allows me to connect with some amazing people and share their stories with you.
I am hoping that beyond interesting and entertaining story telling, The Conversation Lab and other podcast projects that I'm working on will be reflected in my academic, on-air, and online work. This legacy project intersects with my PhD program with UBC's Social Justice Institute. "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.
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.
The Conversation Lab, The Bowen Island Podcast, as well as Climate Change & the Many Faces of Denial are all produced 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 and encouragement.
The Conversation Lab air's weekly at CFRO FM and wherever you listen to podcasts. 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.