Robert Bateman Critical Conversations

Understanding what makes a community vital, engaging in dialogue around the meaning of ‘the good society’, exposing alternative models of growth…it’s time we creatively explore the unexplored, and reengage in critical conversations about our desired futures. It’s time to share ideas from ‘the edge’, the place in ecological systems where the greatest diversity occurs.

Led by the Robert Bateman Centre and moderated by Royal Roads University’s Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development, the Robert Bateman Conversations create a forum for provocative dialogue and idea-sharing around critical social questions of our day. These discussions aim to push past the conventional ideas of sustainability, community and culture by delving into novel and innovative ideas for empowering communities and mobilizing social capital for changes necessary to become a better place for the young, the old and all other creatures everywhere. Similar to how the art of the venerated Robert Bateman is a window into the splendor of the natural environment, the Robert Bateman Conversations are an on-line virtual space that brings together researchers, public policy experts, practitioners, community leaders and artists to illustrate the importance of dialogue to solving some of the key public policy issues of our time.

The Robert Bateman Centre, as the convener of these conversations, may not necessarily agree with the views and opinions of many of the people brought together through these dialogues; however, it does believe in the importance of diversity for all human thought, and for social innovation to occur.

List of Robert Bateman Conversations

Progress and Growth in the 21st century. On October 27 (1:00pm PST or 4:00pm EST), 2011, we explored the idea of community growth in modern times and discuss how it relates the prosperity of societies. This was the first in the series of Robert Bateman Critical Conversations that challenged the traditional idea that continual economic growth is the key to flourishing communities.  The discussion also aimed to examine alternative models to continual growth to explore viable alternatives.

Webpage      Dialogue


De-growth: A Critical Juncture? On March 30th, 2012, a regional workshop exploring the de-growth movement and alternatives to constant economic growth was held at Royal Roads University.  The workshop featured virtual and face-to-face panels representing a diversity of perspectives, expertise and experiences drawing from economics, sustainable development, ecology and governance.  This event was by invitation only to 30 British Columbian researchers, practitioners and civil society leaders to begin a critical dialogue on the implications of de-growth for Canada, and to develop a white paper to inform the International Conference on Degrowth in the Americas held in Montreal, May 13th to 19th, at McGill University.

Webpage   Publication


Social Innovation for Sustainability On April 5, 2012 Royal Roads University hosted visiting scholar and Leading Sustainable Design Thinker, Ezio Manzini, as part of a Robert Bateman Critical Conversation on how Art and Design are helping people around the world respond to the complex challenges of our times. Organized by Dr. Catherine Etmanski, Professor of Leadership Studies at RRU, and Paul Gilbert and Madelaine Hjermstad of the Robert Bateman Centre, this presentation provides insight on the importance of fostering creativity in communities when working toward developing sustainable communities.


A Word from Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman discusses how 'small is beautiful' in this CRC video displayed on our CRC YouTube channel.

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