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Associate Faculty Community Circles

Associate Faculty Community Circles

by Isabel Cordua-von Specht -
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We have launched a new initiative, bringing Associate Faculty together in supportive “Community Circles” that offer a space for participants to share what is shaping their work and lives in this intense time.

The inaugural Circle was held on Monday, January 25th, and quickly became a highly moving, connecting experience as participants both shared and listened deeply to each other. One participant’s commented afterwards: “I’m not sure I have the words to express my gratitude for this afternoon’s community circle. It was absolutely a pleasure and so needed, at least for me. A wonderful way to see others and share in a warm, authentic space … so very meaningful and it gives me such hope. I can’t wait for next month.”

The Circles are being led by Associate Professor Hilary Leighton, who has been ‘carrying’ and teaching council practice for over 15 years. She notes that while talking circles are considered as having originated from Indigenous cultures of North America, cultural anthropologists have found evidence of circular gatherings the world over, since the beginning of recorded human culture. The aim is to build upon our sense of community and closeness so that we feel comfortable, supported, and safe disclosing our experiences, insights, and feelings. The circular format erases a sense of hierarchies, disrupts stratified talk, and values everyone for their unique voice; we listen in a way that rarely happens, allowing for compassionate understanding to emerge. (Find more information on Council Practice.)

These Community Circles are intended as a monthly resource for Associate Faculty; they are currently scheduled for the last Monday of the month. Circles run 60-90 minutes depending on the number of participants. We are open to experimenting with holding circles on different days/times and welcome hearing from those interested who cannot make Mondays. “Seating” per session is limited to give time for all voices in the spiral of several rounds.

Any Associate Faculty member interested in participating, please contact Isabel Cordua-von Specht at .