Public Talk: 4:15 Friday, Feb. 8, Rosenfield Center 101
Becca Bernstein ’10’s favorite Grinnell classes tackled current issues through the humanities. “In Astrid Henry’s Feminist Memoirs, we used books as a tool to talk about social justice issues and movements. The community in that class was incredible,” she says.
At the Center for Civic Reflection (CCR) in Chicago, Bernstein takes a page out of the same book, using readings, images, songs, and videos to spark discussion with a range of groups — such as college students and faculty, healthcare providers, museum and library staff, and community members — to help them think and talk more deeply about issues in their neighborhoods and organizations.
This week, Bernstein returns to Grinnell's campus with CCR director Adam Davis to talk about how the process of civic reflection can be used here. They are also training a group of faculty, students, staff and community members in the process.
“It's not easy to talk with people you don't know—or people you know a little too well—about things that matter deeply,” Davis says. “It's especially difficult when you go right after the loaded subjects or people's beliefs. If you want real people to really talk with one another, the indirect route can be more productive than the straight line.” Having community members share a reading, photograph, or song, he says, “helps them relax into a discussion that might otherwise be filled with tension or resistance.”
Bernstein and Davis will present "Bridging the Gap: Connecting the Humanities to Social Justice and Community-Based Work", at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, Rosenfield 101. Bernstein will discuss her experience at Grinnell and why and how she believes the practice of civic reflection can be useful for the Grinnell community. The talk is open to the public.
On Saturday, the two will also train a select group of Grinnellians in the practice of civic reflection. Both events are sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and CCR. The CCR is a national leader in dialogue and reflection. It has trained more than 7,000 people to facilitate reflective discussions in their organizations and communities and led more than 20,000 people in public, community, and workplace dialogues. CCR, which is affiliated with Valparaiso University, has worked extensively with colleges and universities across the United States.