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Our conference is small and intimate and structured like a breath: we come together into one space like an inhale; we pause to listen; and then we talk, exhaling and taking our new ideas back out into the world. If all goes well, it feels like yoga for the brain and the heart.

Radical Listening to Ourselves, Others and the World

Friday, November 4
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Williams Hall, Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Hybrid: in person or virtual

The pandemic, war, mass shootings and racism of recent times have left everyone reeling and searching for ways to reestablish their balance in a world at times unrecognizable. As we know, our ability to balance is something we find not in our e-calendars or even our activism, but through our ears. As we seek a more stable positioning between the dizzying highs and lows of experiencing world-as-a-mess and then returning to our more hopeful commitments, perhaps we would be well-served to begin in the auditory realm.

This conference invites us back into the ear and, specifically, to listening as a way to restore some balance.

What are some good pedagogical practices of listening? How do we continue to identify new and better ways to hear difference on its own terms? Where and when does basic active listening get radical? Who is good at this? As nations and groups close their ears to others and as so many individuals traverse the world unheard – both of which produce loneliness, a dulling of our lives, increased inequities and intense violence – what are some new modes of practice?

This conference is widely open to academics, nonprofit professionals, educators, activists, artists, poets and those in between... Our speakers will present a variety of ideas around listening in intimate and global arenas. There will be ample space for engagement and conversation.

Register Now

Unlike a traditional conference, this experience will include fewer sessions and more participation, along with some light facilitation to weave together the sessions. What do you hear in one that resonates in the next? What unexpected themes or leitmotifs might emerge in our collective listening?

Come prepared to open your ears and your mind and to restore some balance through listening to one another.

schedule and sessions

For those attending in person, a continental breakfast will be offered starting at 8:30 am. The conference sessions begin at 9:00 am and run until 12:30 pm, followed by lunch. Register here >

Session 1: Someone To Tell It To: Experiences Advocating for Listening

Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden are the co-founders and chief encouragement officers of Someone To Tell It To, an NGO in Pennsylvania with 10 years of experience training people to listen both locally and internationally.

Session 2: Interfaith Listening in Professional Contexts

Janett Cordovés, Ed.D, is an interfaith scholar, director of higher education partnerships for Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, and a frequent consultant with AAC&U and other higher education organizations.

SESSION 3: Chardi Kala: Radical optimism through deep listening

Sonny Singh is a musician and social justice advocate who conducts racial equity and social justice advocacy work in New York City.