Keeping the Conversation Going

As the world reels from the COVID-19 pandemic, staff and students at the Bauman Institute are now working off campus as the University of Leeds acts to protect its community. First and foremost, we send our warmest wishes to our many friends, colleagues, and students around the globe in this latest chronicle of crisis for humanity.

You do not need to be well-versed in Zygmunt Bauman‘s reading of the French philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas, to appreciate with renewed urgency the value of ‘face-to-face’ contact in this moment of enforced isolation for many around the world. We urge each of us to do what we can to retain the moral proximity of the Other.

As Bauman explains in a fascinating interview with Simon Dawes:

To be sure, dialogue (not to mention the polylogue) is a difficult art. It means engaging conversationalists with an intention to jointly clarify the issues, rather than to have them one’s own way; to multiply voices, rather than reducing their number; to widen the set of possibilities, rather than aiming at a wholesale consensus […] to jointly pursue understanding, instead of aiming at the others’ defeat; and all in all being animated by the wish to keep the conversation going, rather than by the desire to grind it to a halt.” (Dawes, 2011: 143)

In a spirit of keeping our communities together during this period of isolation, we thought it was a good moment to share our Audio-Visual Archive in order “to keep the conversation going”.

These videos can all be accessed by clicking here.

They include lectures by Professor Bauman and plenary speeches delivered during our international launch conference back in 2010, and given by Professor Saskia Sassen, Professor George Ritzer, and the world-leading architect, Daniel Libeskind.

We hope this small gesture is welcomed in these difficult circumstances and that you and yours stay safe and well until we may meet ‘face-to-face’ again.

Yours ever,

The Bauman Institute x