Curious Public at Central Library: A Retrospective and a Look Forward

One year. 40 conversations. 70 guests. So much learning.

A year ago this February, an experiment began: a weekly podcast recorded live at the public library. The idea, in a nutshell, was to “tell some of the critical stories that mainline media cannot afford to tell” and to “constructively address divisive issues instead of pouring gasoline on them.”

I can’t believe it has been a whole year already. Although the series took a brief hiatus during the summer, we still logged over 40 conversations with 70 guests. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed their time and mental energy to this project: it simply would not have happened without you.

Articulating the purpose of the series continued to crystallize as the project evolved. These words, written in reflection at the half-way point of the year, feel as relevant as they did in the Fall:

I want to live in a community where youth and elders gather to discuss the ideas and issues of the day. I imagine rustic ‘city gates’ or the middle of a bustling ‘town square’: places enshrined in common thought as the epicentres of public discourse. Yes, nostalgic as it may be, I want to live in a community that has an identifiable public sphere: a community where the question, ‘Where can I go to discuss ideas with other people?’ has a clear and definable answer. I want to know where people who only seem to share differences go to break bread together.

What’s next? Well, with the support the London Public Library, we’re going to recalibrate the project slightly. For the Spring, the series will adopt a new monthly schedule. As of March 2018, Curious Public at Central Library will record live on the first Monday of the month (unless its a holiday, in which case it moves to the second Monday). Due to some other exciting developments in life, my capacity for organizing and running weekly live events is dwindling, but my hope is that these monthly events will continue to be touch points for continuing the ‘real time’ dimension of these conversations in a public space.

Upcoming events…

What is the Future of Gender in Canadian Society? — Monday, April 9, 2018, 7:00 pm, Central Library

What are some next steps towards ‘Reconciliation’ for individual Canadians? — Monday, May 7, 2018, 7:00 pm, at Central Library

In the mean time, please continue to stay tuned to the Curious Public podcast on iTunes (or wherever you retrieve your podcasts). I am quite excited for some very interesting conversations on the horizon. While the ‘live events’ are changing in frequency, my hope is to continue the podcast on a weekly or near-weekly schedule.

Thanks again for listening. Thanks to London Public Library for their endless support and encouragement of the program. And, of course, huge gratitude to everyone who has participated thus far. May the public curiosity, learning, and discussion continue!

Cite this page:
Shelley, James. (2018). 'Curious Public at Central Library: A Retrospective and a Look Forward' Originally published on March 13, 2018. Cited version last modified on April 25, 2018. Accessed on November 30, 2020. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permalink:
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When shared on social media, the image associated with this page is Panel discussion on Brother by David Chariandy (Monday, March 5, 2018) by @TaniaLibroCU (Access the original image or embedded crop verison)

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