In Spring 2017, the Humility & Conviction in Public Life project , in co-sponsorship with the Hartford Public Library and the Wadsworth Atheneum, welcomed the greater Hartford community to share in the creation of the Encounters Series, a program dedicated to fostering unexpected conversations around our most divisive issues.
Encounters has two main focuses: Dialogues and Reading Groups. Dialogues center on particular topics and consist of facilitated, small-group discussions followed by a "question and answer"-style conversation with UConn faculty who specialize in those topics. Readings are provided beforehand so as to better encourage informed and informal dialogue within conversations that often prove to be polarizing, and thus unproductive.
The Spring 2017 Dialogues focused on public encounters with foundational documents that influence civic identity and politics within the United States. Reading Groups intend to open spaces wherein participants can explore critical issues of identity, meaning and understanding with fellow citizens, guided by trained facilitators.
Encounters Series Events 2017-18
- When: Saturday, October 28, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Where: Hartford History Center of the Hartford Public Library
- What: This small group discussion will take place in conjunction with the alchemy programming at the Wadsworth and focus on the hidden and surprising connections between science and alchemy. “Alchemy” is frequently used to define seemingly miraculous transformations in the social, economic, and political spheres. However, the term has its origins in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, to designate a secretive practice pursued to transform base metals into precious gold, and ultimately to control the natural world. Join us for an exciting investigation of period texts about alchemy to learn about early forms of chemical experimentation, commerce, counterfeit, and the quest for natural resources.
Encountering “The 1%”
- When: Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Where: Hartford Public Library, branch TBA
- What: This small group discussion will take place in the context of the exhibition on JP Morgan at the Wadsworth - Morgan: Mind of the Collector - and focus on the relationship between private wealth and the public good.
- When: Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Where: The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
- What: This small group discussion will focus on the meaning and various processes of gaining or losing citizenship in the United States.
Encountering The Gothic
- When: Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Where: Wadsworth Atheneum
- What: This small group discussion will take place in the Edward Gorey exhibition and will focus on our fascination and (dis)comfort with fear, suspense and death.
Encountering Intrafaith Dialogue
- When: Saturday, April 21, 10 – 1 p.m.
- Where: Hartford History Center of the Hartford Public Library.
- What: This small group discussion will focus on the dialogues faith-based groups have within their communities over the problems of dogma and conviction
(in conjunction with the Midpoint Forum). In particular, it considers the broader social and political implications of unresolved internecine disagreement.