Talk-About at the New Museum: “Spaceship Module” – Feb 27

CNY Talk-About at the

New Museum: “Spaceship Module”

Thursday, Feb 27, 2014

7 pm

The New Museum

235 Bowery (near Prince St.)


“Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module”


For this special exhibit, the fifth floor of the New Museum will be transformed to resemble the inside of a futuristic “spaceship” (based on a Czech sci-fi film from 1963!), and will feature a variety of art (video, print, sculpture, installation) from artists based in Eastern Europe.

“Report on the Construction of a Spaceship Module” offers an allegory of “anthropological science fiction,” where the exhibition space becomes an estranged and exciting universe that dramatizes the cross-cultural translation involved in the presentation of art. The unique model evokes the challenges that contemporary artists experience in exhibiting works, or that curators come across in organizing exhibitions that stitch together diverse artworks, selected across generation, cultural context, personal narratives, and time.”

We will meet in the lobby at 7 pm. The New Museum is “suggested donation” on Thursdays. We will tour the exhibit, then reconvene at a nearby café to discuss and interpret what we have seen.

About the Moderator:  Laurence Mailaender works in the technology industry, doing research aimed at improving wireless systems. He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering, and spent 12 years as a researcher in Bell Labs. Currently he develops advanced communication and GPS-geolocation systems for customers in various agencies of the U.S. Government.

“The Power of Conversation” with Ronald Gross – Jan 27

The University Seminar on Innovation in Education
The University Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education, and Society

                                     The Power ofConversation

Ronald Gross
Co-chair, University Seminar on Innovation in Education;
Founder, Conversations New York.
Author, Socrates’ WayPeak Learning,  Radical School Reform, etc.

            Monday,  January 27, 2014, 7:00-9:00 pm

Faculty House, Columbia University, 117th St. & Morningside Heights

Kindly RSVP to reserve a place, or confirm your previous RSVP, to  and

Please bring this invitation and a photo ID for admission to the building.
We experience the power of conversation at each session of our Seminars.  That power has propelled creative inquiry through the agesfrom Socrates’ dialogues in the Athenian agora, to Occupy in Zuccoti Park.  
Now, it is being harnessed to enhance  well-being and happiness,  foster civic discourse,strengthen learning (formal and informal),  stimulate organizational development, spark creativity, and other important goals.
This Seminar will:
Ø     Review the  life-affirming  benefits of Conversation as established by theory, research, and practice.  

Ø     Note how the historical tradition of conversationgroups (Salons, Coffee Houses, Building 20 at MIT, etc.), expressed the basic  impulse that   has given rise to Social Media today.
          Ø     Examine the “Retreat from Conversation” identified by Prof. Sherry Turkle of MIT and other social scientists.
          Ø    Report briefly on  exciting current projects and programs such as  Socrates Salons and  Cafes, Dinners to Talk About Death, Cafe Philos, Circles in Women’s Spirituality,  and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.
Ø    Present the new program Conversations New York, and announce an invitational  mini-conference on Conversation at Columbia in July, which  our Seminars will sponsor.
Background Reading: Please visit the websites,
 and, and read Sherry Turkle’s article “The Flight fromConversation” from the New York Times Sunday Review, 4/21/12 ( — or (just Google it).

To augment the fellowship among members, you are warmly invited to join other members for dinner at Faculty House at 5:30 PM.  Dinner at Faculty House, a varied and ample buffet (including wine), is $25, which must be paid for by check made    at the beginning of the meal.  If you intend to join us for dinner you must let us know via email a week in advance.
Faculty House is located on Columbia University’s East Campus on Morningside Drive, north of 116th Street.  Enter Wien Courtyard through the gates on 116 Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Walk toward the north end of the courtyard, then turn right toward Morningside Drive.  Faculty House will be the last building on the right.

Upcoming 2013-14 seminar dates: no Feb, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5.

BACKGROUND: This seminar is jointly sponsored by the Columbia University Seminars on Innovation in Education, and on Ethics, Moral Education, and Society.
                    The Seminar on Innovation in Education is co-chaired by Ronald Gross, who also conducts the Socratic Conversations at the Gottesman Libraries, and Robert McClintock who is John L. and Sue Ann Weinberg Professor Emeritus in the Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Education at Teachers College. Founded in 1970, the Seminar explores the process of learning in individuals, organizations, and society throughout the lifespan and via major institutions.
                    The Seminar on Ethics, Moral Education and Society, chaired by Michael Schulman,  brings together scholars from psychology, philosophy, sociology, political theory, education, religion and other disciplines to explore issues in ethics, moral education, moral development, moral motivation, moral decision making and related topics.
                    Upcoming 2013-14 seminar dates: no Feb, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5.
                    Columbia University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  University Seminar participants with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact the Office of Disability Services at 212-854-2388 or  Disability accommodations, including sign-language interpreters, are available on request.  Requests for accommodations must be made two weeks in advance.  On campus, seminar participants with disabilities should alert a Public Safety Officer that they need assistance accessing campus.
                        Michael Schulman, chair, Ethics, Moral Education, and Society,
                        Ron Gross, co-chair, Innovation in Education,

Feeding Your Flame: A “Campfire Conversation” to Fuel Your 2014 Resolutions – Jan 23

Feeding Your Flame:
A “Campfire Conversation” to Fuel Your 2014 Resolutions

Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross

Thursday, January 23rd, 4:00 sharp – 5:15

Gottesman Library, Teachers College, Columbia University

525 West 120th St. 2nd Floor Conversation Area (bet. Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. North side of 120th Street.) (#1 train to 116th St.)

Please bring a photo ID required for entry to the building.

Kindly RSVP to reserve a place, to .  Thank you.

There will be a display of relevant books. Light refreshments will be available. Coffee and other beverages available downstairs as you enter the building. Socrates traditionally gathered his friends around a blazing outdoor campfire at the beginning of the Athenian New Year, opened a couple of bottles of wine, and presented five of his famous Questions to stir their thinking and renew their energies.

Let’s gather to follow in the footsteps of the Gadfly, by discussing where we’ve been this past year, where we are now, and what we want to move towards in the year ahead.

Voicing your own answers will strengthen your resolve – and hearing the answers of others will widen your awareness of possibilities for yourself.

Come share your thoughts on these Five Questions of Socrates:

1. What accomplishments from 2013 do you want to celebrate? These could be breakthroughs, things you said or did, new behaviors or thoughts. By celebrating what was good about the year, we honor our efforts and those who helped us along the way.

2. What’s an important lesson you learned in 2013? This is a way to make sense of our struggles, frustrations, anguish. Let’s capture and share some of our life-learnings.

3. What are you grateful for? Gratitude increases our awareness of the resources available to us, at any moment.

4. What do you most want for the coming year? You’ll be invited to pick a theme for the year, if you like, as in “The Year of …..” Let’s set our intention for what we want to manifest, a major target for the arrows we will launch throughout the year.

5. What commitment are you ready to make? To get what we want often requires removing obstacles and moving into new territory. What is in the way that you are ready to give up? It might be being right or doing it alone. When you commit, the whole world opens up. Not always in the way you expect, your commitment opens doors.

If we meet here one year from today,
what would you most like to report
about what happened in your life from now til then?

Please join us to re-focus on what really matters for the New Year! Bring your own energy — and you’ll leave with more from others! Together, we’ll nurture the seeds for the best 2014 you could possibly have.



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TalkAbout: “Divorce Corp.” – Jan 10

“For roughly 50% of American families divorce is an unpleasant fact of life. Dealing with divorce and its effects destroys lives and bankrupts individuals every day. Family law, which barely existed for most of our country’s history, has morphed into a gigantic industry over the past several decades. These facts peaked our interest, but when we began making our documentary film in 2011 we had no idea we were about to uncover the last vestige of lawlessness in America. Family courts are a dark corner of the judicial system where fiefdoms and tyrants still thrive, where the supreme law of the land is routinely ignored, where children are taken hostage for profit, and where lives are destroyed as a matter of course. We knew we had to shine a light on these injustices. We hope that our movie and book do just that and point the way to a better path.” 

View the trailer:  


Friday,  January 10, 2014, 6:30 PM, Union Square
Please RSVP Conversations New York meetup and purchase tickets in advance through for the AMC Loews Village 7 Friday 7pm showing to ensure a seat.  Thank you.