Over the past few weeks I have been dipping in and out of learning, education, academic, research, community spaces. These events each brought about a different perspective for me while simultaneously reminding me that nothing is really that different. At the core of each of these conversations, I was critically reminded how important it is for someone to host conversations that matter. These conversations each lead to a new connection, a new resource, a reminder of something you already knew and hopefully fuelling action.
Each of these conversations were convened by different people or organizations and what is interesting is that they happened for me one after another felt like a building of a previous conversation.
Just yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by RadioLab about “What Does Technology Want?” and a story stood out for me about ow inventions all come at the same time, more or less. An invention needs to have a foundation of other ideas and technology before it to lay the ground work and then almost overnight the idea is born in many places at the same time. For example, the lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison alongside 22 other patents filed around the same time.
This seemed to be a resonating theme with these 3 conversations. Put on by different organizations, probably all catalyzed by something slightly different and yet the conversations all started to feel the same to me. I was drawn to these particular conversations for the knowledge that was going to be shared, the people I would meet and the sparks that would be created.
- Linking People and Knowledge Symposium (University of Toronto OISE and HEQCO)- connect researchers and practitioners in knowledge mobilization
- Creating the Future (Sheridan College and University of Toronto OISE) – establish a foundation and value of undergraduate applied research in partnership with industry, academic institution and students
- Cafe Hub (by Woodgreen Community Services in partnership with SPACE Coalition, City of Toronto, Toronto District School Board, Ontario Public School Board Association and others) – create integrated service delivery that is fluid and effective for communities
These events left me with 3 big “I wonders”:
- I wonder how these conversations would be different as they open up to the community and stakeholders who would be most greatly impacted by the conversation
- I wonder how these conversations stem from liabilities and risk aversion.
- I wonder how these conversations will turn into action
Each of these conversations left me wanting to see what the next would be like when more people were brought into the fold. There was a few too many, “well, I assume…” “what works for us will work for them…” “I don’t think that will matter…” statements being made that made me question the validity of the conversation. Each felt a little one-sided and a bit like it was meant to paint a certain picture.
More than once, I heard people say “if only [insert rule here] didn’t exist, then…” or “we can’t do that for liability reasons”. It left me feeling like while rules give us order, at one point is it needed to revise what has come before and when do those rules, laws and procedures stop serving the people they were intended to protect.
Where are these conversations headed? Is this the first of many? Is there a plan that these conversations are a part of? Are we at the beginning, middle or end? What comes next? What keeps the momentum going?
Ultimately, I am seeing threads being pulled through each of these conversations and I will continue to try and weave these conversations together and participate as much as I can.