Events & Opportunities

Photo of Conversation Project: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

June 28, 2019

Conversation Project: Seeing the Forest and the Trees

We live in a state with abundant forests, and yet we don’t all see the same thing when we look into the woods. Oregon is known for both its timber industry and its deep environmental values. For many decades now management of our public forests has made headlines and driven apart neighbors. Facilitator Mariah Acton will lead this conversation to explore the values, identities, and beliefs we each have about our forests and what we, as a state, do to steward, manage, and protect this special resource.

7:00 p.m., Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles

July 9, 2019

Conversation Project: Crime and Punishment in Oregon

From prisons and youth correctional facilities to schools and county jails, we’re surrounded by institutions that punish. But why do we punish? Why is punishment sometimes sanctioned by the state? Critics of the “prison industrial complex” argue that our methods and scale of punishment are informed by profit, while tough-on-crime policymakers believe that punishment must be meaningful enough to prevent recidivism and ensure public safety. Are there other ways to punish—such as restorative justice—that may be more effective, reasonable, or desirable? Philosopher and writer Monica Mueller facilitates a conversation around these questions and others regarding our motivation, purpose, and methods of punishment.

10:00am, Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, Lake Oswego

July 10, 2019

Conversation Project: How We Grow Old

What are the stories that shape how we think about growing old? How do we acknowledge the unique differences among aging individuals and separate the true stories from the myths? How do we accept the wisdom of our elders’ experiences while also recognizing new ideas about what it means to age in America? No matter our age, we all hear and tell stories about growing older that reflect our own ideals and fears—and the ideals and fears of our communities. Join facilitator Melissa Madenski as we look at the power of story in a conversation that will ask you to share your own experiences and ideas about aging and listen to the perspectives of others in your community.

3 p.m., Hoffman Center for the Arts, Manzanita

July 12, 2019

Conversation Project: The Meaning of Climate Change

We live in a time of tremendous transformation as the reality of climate change and its effects on our communities become more apparent with every passing year. While there is still much that can and must be done to mitigate the range of impacts climate change might have, we are confronting the certainty of a crisis that will continue to unfold no matter what we do. What is the meaning of this extraordinary moment in human history? The meanings we construct about climate change affect how we think about it, our feelings about it and our willingness to take action. Portland State University instructor David Osborn leads a discussion exploring different meanings of climate change and how our understanding of meaning relates to action. Admission Fee: $5

7:00 p.m., Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles

Photo of Conversation Project: Ecology of Creative Space

July 24, 2019

Conversation Project: Ecology of Creative Space

What can an Aspen grove teach us about communication? What can we learn from a flock of geese about collaboration? Or from a mushroom about transformation? Oregon is experiencing a shift in the landscape of creative spaces in our communities. Population changes, (dis)investment, public policy or the lack of it, and climate change have all had a hand in opening, closing, and changing places that are important to us culturally and creatively. The natural world—of which we are a part—is constantly changing and evolving and has much to teach us about living in these times. Join facilitator Maesie Speer for a conversation that asks, Can we find inspiration from our natural surroundings to imagine new ways to build creative spaces? This conversation will include some hands-on activities.

6:30 p.m., Columbia Grange 267, Corbett

August 28, 2019

Conversation Project: It's a Free Country

Ever heard the expression "America: land of the brave and free" or "It's a free country! I can do what I want"? Maybe you think or say these things yourself. But what does it mean to "be free"? Join Ann Su for a conversation that explores the impact of culture on how we define, value, and experience freedom personally and in community. Participants will discuss different questions: Does everyone have access to freedom in the same way? What choices come with freedom and what are the responsibilities that accompany those choices? How does the concept of "freedom" play out in a diverse, democratic society?

5:00 PM, Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, Lake Oswego

Photo of Conversation Project: Showing Up

September 14, 2019

Conversation Project: Showing Up

Being part of a community is an essential need for all of us. It is a place where we find others who share common ground, where our values and identities are reflected. Community is also a place where we are supported and thrive. Join facilitator Chi Mei Tam in this conversation to explore what it means to be part of a community. What does it looks like when community shows up for you and vice versa? How does it work? To what extent are shared values and identities in our community enough or not enough to help us thrive?

1 p.m., Jackson County Rogue River Library, Rogue River

September 16, 2019

Conversation Project: The Middle Class and Other Stories About Wealth, Status, and Power

Join Oregon Humanities Executive Director Adam Davis for a conversation that explores what we think and how we talk about class in Oregon and the nation. What exactly, for example, is the middle class, who does it include and exclude, and why does it get so much attention? When does talking about class turn into class warfare, or pandering, or simple confusion? To what extent can we talk about class without talking about race, ethnicity, and cultural background? Class is clearly related to wealth and money, but it also involves much more than that, from education to dress to the shows we watch, the words we use, and the clothes we wear. What are the measures and markers that help us recognize class, and to what extent is class useful for seeing our state, our neighbors, and ourselves?

12:00 pm, Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, Lake Oswego