The broadminded team at the Office of Research Development at the University of PEI are spearheading an effort this winter to get researchers out of the lab and into the public sphere.
As I’ve long lamented the “never venture south of Belvedere Avenue” nature of the institution, that they decided to hold this event at Mavor’s, deep in the heart of civilian Charlottetown, is an excellent development. And so even though the subject matter of the first session – “new atheism” – isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I decided to take one for the team and show my support.
As it turned out, “new atheism” turned out to be rather interesting (I wasn’t won over to the dark side, but Dr. Joe Velaidum is nonetheless a pretty good spokesmodel for faith). And that there was a healthy, diverse crowd of more than 50 people was quite heartening to see.
Of course you might argue (and I did) that moving from the Faculty Lounge down to Mavor’s is simply trading one effete enclave for another. But you gotta start somewhere, I suppose. Things will really start to get exciting, though, when the talks move out into the small halls and the regular everyday folks start showing up.
In the meantime, there were more than just the usual seminar-going-suspects in attendance last night, and I got to meet some interesting people and hear some interesting ideas batted around.
Things fire up again in the new year:
- Monday, January 11 at 7:00 p.m. — “Package Deals: Exploring the History of Tourism on PEI” with Dr. Ed MacDonald. (I heard someone refer to this as “talking about them after they’ve left,” which I think would make a much better title).
- Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. — “Relationships, Trust and Revenge” with Dr. Stacey L. MacKinnon.
Both will also be at Mavor’s, and events are scheduled for March and April too, with speakers to be announced.