Up for Discussion - Salon Series at THT


Conceived of by VBS owner Becky Dayton as a way for the Middlebury College and other professional communities to come together with townspeople of all walks of life to share ideas, Up for Discussion is a series of 90-minute salon-style lecture and conversation events hosted by Town Hall Theater. Thanks to grant funding from Vermont Humanities this program is FREE to attend. The goal of this highly collaborative program is to provide intellectual stimulation and enrichment in a convivial environment to a diverse audience of thoughtful, curious people with the desired result of enhancing connections throughout the community.

Up for Discussion is a four part series, but registration is per session, so you need not attend them all. Each will consist of 30-40 minutes of lecture/panel presentation, followed by 40 minutes of roundtable discussion over light snacks and beverages (cash bar) and a 10-20 minute wrap up. No prior preparation is required, but resources for further exploration of the evening's subject will be available.

On May 7 Professor Emeritus of Russian Michael Katz & Walter J Cerf Distinguished Professor of Film & Media Culture Chris Keathley will present REIMAGINING STORIES: Translation and Adaptation. Using three short clips of Russian, English, and American adaptations of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, Katz and Keathley will illustrate how translation, adaptation to film, and cultural differences shape our understanding of a story. Questions provided to participants will, we hope, inspire discussion of how translation and adaptation function in film and literature, but also in our lives. 

Future sessions of Up for Discussion:
Tues., June 11- Sports writer and memoirist Alex Wolff, Middlebury College Athletic Direcgtor Erin Quinn, and VT Sports Hall of Fame inductee and youth hockey referee Carol Weston - discuss youth sports in society
Tues., Oct. 8 - Julian W. Abernethy Professor of Literature Dan Brayton & Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Rebecca Gould - “Living Deliberately: What Thoreau Means Today”


First up is AWE NOW with Middlebury College Associate Professor of Art History Katy Smith Abbbott and Assistant Professor of Music Matthew Evan Taylor. Awe Now: asks the question – When was the last time you felt awe–the kind that brings you up short, stops you in your tracks, and leaves you slack-jawed with wonder? Is awe a universal feeling, or is it highly personal? Awe is certainly having a “moment.” A 2023 book by psychologist Dacher Keltner of UC Berkeley got lots of people talking about awe, as have recent journal articles and podcasts. Find resources for further exploration of this subject HERE.

In September of 2024, the exhibit “An Invitation to Awe” will open at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. It’s being curated by Smith Abbott in collaboration with students and colleagues from across campus. One of those colleagues is musician, composer, and Assistant Professor of Music, Matthew Evan Taylor. In this first gathering of the Up for Discussion salon series, Matthew will join Katy for a conversation about where he finds awe now, and how experiences of awe can change with time, age, and experience.

Event date: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2024 - 5:30pm
Event address: 
68 South Pleasant Street

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