These interactive events and conversations bring together vital thinkers and doers to address and engage with national and international issues through the microcosm of the culturally rich, diverse, and complex communities of New Haven.

The Ideas Program is presented in partnership with Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional leadership support of The Whitney Center and media sponsor CT Public.

All programming is presented free of charge. Live-streamed content will be available on FacebookYou Tube and here on our homepage. Additionally, All Facebook Live events are also live captioned!

Workshop content will require Zoom registration; info and links will be posted below as available.

Wealth in Our Democracy: Anand Giridharadas in Conversation

A conversation about income inequality in the U.S. with Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.


The Role of Artists in Democracy

The 2012 Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco is joined by four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo, Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse, and Founder of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC Katy Rubin who reflect on their roles as mediators and responders.


Democracy, Pandemic, and How We Move Forward

Former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport moderates a conversation with political commentator and author Heather McGhee, political activist and CEO of Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar, and political scholar Archon Fung.

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Democracy, Refugees, and Asylum

Presented in partnership with IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

Historian Quan Tran, sociologist Jasmina Besirevic-Regan, and Nour Al Zouabi, a Syrian refugee, share their personal stories and professional perspectives on borders, migration, and democracy.

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Stories, Sovereignty, and Imagining Forward

A conversation with Native American artists and leaders who offer their perspective on issues of sovereignty, ancestry, and post-pandemic survival, organized in partnership with theater director Madeline Sayet.

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Who is Essential? Race, Culture, and Identity in American Democracy

Presented In partnership with The CT Mirror

John Dankosky invites Khalilah Brown-Dean, Political Science Professor at Quinnipiac University, and others to reflect on identity politics at this disorienting time when a new identity has emerged in our society: “essential.”

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Voter Rights Workshop, June 18

Presented in partnership with Civic Impact Lab, Mothers & Others for Justice, The Urban League of Southern Connecticut

Learn how structural racism shapes our voting system, imagine how a just and equitable alternative should work, and discuss how we as individuals and institutions can create a voting system rooted in shared liberation.

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Slavery & The American Story

Presented In partnership with The Narrative Project

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, talks with the host of The Center For Investigative Reporting’s Reveal podcast, Al Letson, and founder of The Narrative Project, Mercy Quaye, with a special performance by New Haven musician Paul Bryant Hudson.

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On Being Good: A Conversation with The Good Place Philosophers

Philosophers Pamela Hieronymi and Todd May, who served as philosophy advisors on the acclaimed television comedy, The Good Place, explore the nature of goodness and its role in society, especially poignant against the backdrop of the current public health crisis.

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Constitution Cafe: The Role of Government During Pandemic, June 3

Mayor Justin Elicker, facilitator Eric Rey, your neighbors, and local experts engage in a community dialogue about the role of the government in a pandemic.

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Constitution Cafe: The Constitutional Limits of the Police Use of Force, June 10

Join Ekow Yankah, law professor at Cardozo School of Law; freedom fighter Kerry Ellington; facilitator Eric Rey, your neighbors, and local experts in a series of community dialogues the constitutional limits of the police use of force.

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Constitution Cafe: The Importance of the Census, June 17

Join Gabriel "Jack" Chin, Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, and Director of Clinical Legal Education, your neighbors, and local experts in a community dialogue about the importance of the census.

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Constitution Cafe: Constitution & Mass Incarceration, June 24

Presented in partnership with ACLU Connecticut

Join your neighbors and local experts in a series of community dialogues around daily issues that intersect with The Constitution.

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Songwriting as Radical Imagination: An Activist Songbook Discussion

Joined by Activist Songbook Composer Byron Au Yong and Lyricist Aaron Jafferis, a panel of artists/activists will discuss music and its role in activism and democracy.


Housing as a Human Right? Tackling Challenges of Affordability and Discrimination

John Dankosky moderates this talk exploring the intersection of housing and democracy with Connecticut experts, including Karen DuBois Walton of the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas of the Connecticut Mirror, and Alexis Highsmith Smith of New Haven Legal Aid.

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Shaping Our Voices Into Movements, Action and Allyship

An Activist Songbook Discussion

Join the Activist Songbook team as fellow artists and activists discuss how we can raise our voices to become agents for social change and what People of the Global Majority (PGM) allyship looks like.

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Stephanie Burt in Conversation

Part of the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest

Poet Stephanie Burt discusses her book Advice From The Lights, an essential work that asks who we are, how we become ourselves, and why we make art.