Thoughts unravelled

Humanities conference organizer, Susan-Judith Hoffmann, recalls the highlights from last week’s  Public Life and Critical Thinking event

By Alyssa Tremblay

Dawson hosted the second annual Humanities conference last Thursday which spanned over a period of three days and featured over 15 speakers which discussed their different views on the important role that critical thinking plays in public everyday life.

“The turnout was great; we had well over 1000 students attend,” Susan-Judith Hoffmann, the Humanities and Philosophy teacher who organized this event for the second year in a row said.

A similar conference was held at Dawson last March, though with a different theme and more speakers from outside the college.  “I liked the conference last year better, mostly because of the venue,” Hoffmann remarked.  “Conrod’s is not really suitable for holding a conference–the sound is not good, the students have a hard time hearing the speaker and the speaker feels too distant from the audience.”

Nonetheless, Hoffman considered this year’s event to be a great success.  “I think the best one was Ian Mackenzie’s panel, “Writing under the Microscope.” The audience was small, but the students were really engaged and we had a great discussion,” Hoffmann said.

As for next year, another conference is already in the planning stages.  In addition to the usual line-up of teachers and guest speakers, Hoffmann is thinking of expanding the conference to include student speakers as well. “We are [looking] to get more students involved in the organization of the conference,” Hoffmann said, hoping that “more students will help organize workshops around their interests and concerns in Humanities and public life.”

One of the many highlights of last week’s conference was the staging of Plato’s classic dialogue, The Apology, on Wednesday which featured both students and teachers as actors.  “It was my directing debut and I really enjoyed the experience,” Hoffman explained.  “Dean Leanne Bennett, and teacher and chair of Humanities Gerardo Mosquera performed in the play with the students and they were great!”

For those who missed it the first time around, a repeat performance of Plato’s The Apology will take place on Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room (5B.16).

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