The Long Table on Free Speech and Accountability

Thanks to all who came out for our Long Table on Monday, March 4. And for those who did, we’ve got a bit of a recap here – a video of the discussion, Evalyn Parry’s opening remarks, and some photos of the thoughts that remained the next morning. Mark your calendars for our next Long Table (and Community Meal) on Monday, May 13.

Opening Remarks from Evalyn Parry

Tonight’s long table is a follow up to the Long Table that happened in November.

Long Table is a form created by lesbian performance artist Lois Weaver; I was introduced to it by Sarah Garton Stanley – a previous artistic director here at Buddies, and over the last several years many theatre artists in our Toronto community have been using it as a way to use performance practice to unpack challenging issues.

Part of my interest in this form is in how it allows us to practice live, in-person conversation. It’s not just a forum for soapboxing and monologues but a space for interactive dialogue, listening and also noticing the dynamics of who speaks and how people speak. It’s a way we can observe what is said and practice how we speak and engage with each other. Donna Michelle will introduce the Long Table in a few minutes. I encourage people to ask people questions at the table.

The discussion at November’s long table was rich and informative, emotional, intense and it was a chance to hear from some – and certainly not all – of the voices and perspectives who were gathered in the room.

The provocation for that evening was: In these increasingly polarized times, how can we, as an intergenerational queer community “cherish all that makes us different, and conquer all that makes us afraid” (quote by Vivek Shraya).

It certainly did not in any way resolve the complex issues that were raised, and which continue to resonate in so many artistic, academic and civic spaces, including our own.

If you want to hear the discussion that happened that night, you can watch/listen to the video or read more context about it; it’s all available on the Buddies blog.

We are committed to making Buddies a space for open community dialogue, debate and discussion. We are committed to listening, to continuing to hold space for divergent viewpoints and reaching across our divides. courageous

Tonight’s provocation is:

Within our diverse and evolving intergenerational queer and artistic communities, how do we navigate the tension between free speech and accountability, dissent and respect