Encounters Series – Fall 2022 Program

About the Program:

Through the Democracy and Dialogues Initiative, UConn is working to increase democratic and civic capacity by supporting community dialogues on critical issues, providing moderator and facilitation training for dialogues and deliberations, and partnering with campus colleagues and local institutions to increase meaningful participation by all community members.

The Encounters Series is dedicated to fostering unexpected conversations around divisive issues and obscure knowledge. The program dives deeply into subjects that are of interest to the Greater Hartford community through facilitated, small-group dialogues followed by a question-and-answer style conversation with our UConn faculty and community partners. Resources are provided beforehand to encourage informed and informal dialogue within conversations that may otherwise prove to be polarizing, and thus unproductive. The aim is to strengthen our ability to know ourselves and to develop a forum for respectful and challenging dialogue. 

Our partners in this Encounters Series include the Hartford Public Library, Connecticut's Old State House, the HartBeat Ensemble, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Connecticut Humanities, and many valuable others. The Democracy & Dialogues Initiative is part of Dodd Human Rights Impact and supported at UConn by the Office of Global Affairs, the Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Humanities Institute, UConn Extension, and the Division of Student Affairs’ Parent's Fund.

Join us!

You are warmly invited to take part in this series of interactive dialogues. To participate, please register below.

October 12 – HartBeat Encounters: ‘My Children! My Africa!’

HartBeat Encounters: 'My Children! My Africa!'
Hosted by the HartBeat Ensemble
Wednesday, October 12. 6:00 pm-8:00 pm ET
The Carriage House Theater
360 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT 06105

Register in advance for this event:
https://www.showclix.com/event/encounters-mcma

Please join us for Encounters: 'My Children! My Africa!,' a special dialogue event that features small group discussions on critical questions about the play, as well as specialist feedback and engagement. A light dinner will be served from 5:30 pm. Please note it is not required that you attend the show in order to participate in this community conversation. All participants are welcome and there is no cost to register or attend.

October 22 – Encounters: The Global Reach of the Local Talcott Church

The Global Reach of the Local Talcott Church
Hosted by Connecticut's Old State House
Saturday, October 22. 10:00 am-12:00 pm ET
Connecticut's Old State House
800 Main St., Hartford, CT 06103

Register in advance for this event:
https://bit.ly/2022HHS

This guided community conversation, led by Dr Fiona Vernal, will use the Mars family as a lens for exploring how the congregants of Talcott Street Church cast their advocacy far and wide and weighed in on the emigration debates. This allows us insight into the wider network of the Mars family—particularly, Elizabeth Mars and her years of service in Liberia. It will also allow us to understand the relationship between the Connecticut Colonization society, the Hartford Female African Society, and the Charitable Society in the African Sunday School. These are important lenses for understanding the Christian missionary impulse in the Talcott Church as well as the role of black women as organizers and leaders. Hartford participated in the “The African Mission School” established at Trinity College, which was described as a “short-lived effort on behalf of Connecticut Episcopalians to develop a black leadership for the church in Liberia.”

October 26 – Encounters: Intimate Partner Violence: The Alyssiah Wiley Program

Intimate Partner Violence: The Alyssiah Wiley Program
Hosted by the Democracy & Dialogues Initiative, the UConn Women's Center, & Eastern Connecticut State University
Wednesday, October 26. 1:00 pm-3:00 pm ET
UConn Women's Center, Student Union, 4th Floor Room 421
2110 Hillside Road, Unit 3118, Storrs, CT 06269

Register in advance for this event:
https://forms.gle/4GyHAdjQwML2xukeA

Domestic Violence is a pervading issue across our world. During the fiscal year of 2021, 38,989 people sought Domestic Violence Services in our state of Connecticut alone. We know this number does not actually reflect the entire amount of people who endured DV last year, as violence often goes unreported. We need to shatter the silence. Connect with us for a community dialogue and engage in crucial conversations on the impacts of Domestic Violence, healing and bystander intervention. Food will be provided and participation is free. Registration is required. This dialogue is hosted by UConn’s DDI and The Alyssiah Wiley Program.

UConn’s DDI‘s events bring people together for courageous conversations about issues that impact our communities and world. The Alyssiah Wiley Program is in memory of Alyssiah Wiley, who was a vibrant soul studying psychology at Eastern who gave her whole heart into everything. This program works to shed a light on Domestic Violence and create social change. Join us in educating ourselves about this critical issue through a short video presentation, small group discussion with facilitators, and engagement with experts in domestic violence services.

November 16 – Encounters: Picturing the Pandemic: Voices from the Pandemic Journaling Project

Encounters: Picturing the Pandemic: Voices from the Pandemic Journaling Project
Hosted by the Hartford Public Library
Wednesday, November 16. 5:00 pm-7:00 pm ET
Hartford Public Library - Downtown Branch
500 Main St., Hartford, CT 06103

Register in advance for this event:
https://hplct.libnet.info/event/7176888

Join us as we take a closer look at the Picturing the Pandemic and Hartford 2020 exhibitions that speak to people's documentation of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be having guided small group discussions and a Q&A session with content specialists. A light dinner will follow for participants.

November 19 – Encounters: Art, Activism, and AIDS

Encounters: Art, Activism, and AIDS
Hosted by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Saturday, November 19. 10:00 am-1:00 pm ET
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
600 Main St., Hartford, CT 06103

Register in advance for this event:
https://my.thewadsworth.org/33580/35359

The AIDS epidemic has touched communities both in Hartford and around the globe and artists have played a key role in helping to reshape the narrative in response to stigmatization, a lack of public education, and government inaction surrounding the virus. In advance of the World AIDS Day conversation on December 1 at the Wadsworth with Jack Lowery, author of It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful which documents the history of activist art collective Gran Fury, join us for a group conversation at the intersection of art and activism. Participants will discuss the role that art and design play in activism, mobilization, and community education in response to the AIDS epidemic. This event is free to attend. Lunch will be provided. 

December 3 – Encounters: The Constitution of Connecticut

The Constitution of Connecticut
Hosted by Connecticut's Old State House
Rescheduled date: Saturday, December 3. 10:00 am-12:00 pm ET
Connecticut's Old State House
800 Main St., Hartford, CT 06103

Register in advance for this event:
https://bit.ly/CTConstitutionEncounters 

We invite you to explore the concept of 'Constitution' through a look into Connecticut's constitutional history. Our state is known by many names, including the Nutmeg State and the Land of Steady Habits. But its official nickname is, of course, the Constitution State. From the Fundamental Orders of 1639, which some historians argue was the first American constitution, to the current state constitution passed in 1965, Connecticut has had many different documents serve as the basis of our state government. They define the powers and limits of elected officials, establish how new laws are made, and list the basic rights of all citizens. But what constitutes a constitution? How do constitutions affect the daily lives of citizens? What fundamental principles does a constitution need to meet to be legitimate? Join us in dissecting these issues through short readings, small group discussion, and engagement with specialists on the subject.

Lunch will follow for all participants.

Lead a Dialogue!

We are always looking for more facilitators and moderators to help support the Encounters Series. If you are interested in getting involved, register for one of our trainings!

September 29 – Facilitator Training

Facilitator Training
Hosted by the Democracy & Dialogues Initiative
Thursday, September 29. 1:00 pm-3:00 pm ET
Dodd Center for Human Rights, Room 162
405 Babbidge Rd., Storrs, CT 06269

Register in advance for this training:
https://forms.gle/ADE7e7frDyNx1UmS7

Facilitators are fundamentally important to running a successful dialogue. They are the folks who work with the small breakout groups and keep the conversation moving and productive. Want to learn more about the theory and practice of facilitation? Join us in person at the Dodd Center for Human Rights, Room 162, on the UConn Storrs campus.

October 19 – Moderator Training

Moderator Training
Hosted by the Democracy & Dialogues Initiative
Wednesday, October 19. 1:00 pm-3:00 pm ET
Dodd Center for Human Rights, Room 162
405 Babbidge Rd., Storrs, CT 06269

Register in advance for this training:
https://forms.gle/ADE7e7frDyNx1UmS7

The role of moderators is to run or direct a dialogue. This is the "emcee" position and the person serving in it walks participants from welcome to closing. They manage the structure and timing of the event and provide support to the facilitators. And they are always in demand! Join us in person at the Dodd Center for Human Rights, Room 162, on the UConn Storrs campus.