Communiversity Series 2020

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Curated to appeal to learners of all ages, Centrum’s new arts and lectures series is designed to inspire thought-provoking conversations, throughout our community, highlighting a wide range of topics affecting our world. Each 90-minute event will feature selected experts in dialog with journalists and reporters from Crosscut and KCTS public media.

The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.

– Harry S. Truman

Seating is general admission (not reserved seating).  Single tickets are $25.

Support for this series is provided by the estate of M. Jean Fisher, Carl Westphal & Davonne Loup, and Anne and Dick Schneider


Fred De Sam Lazaro
in conversation with Knute Berger
Monday, February 3, 2020

PBS NewsHour correspondent and Executive Director of the Under-told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, Fred De Sam Lazaro has directed films from India and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the documentary series, Wide Angle. Fred has reported from more than 70 countries with a focus on stories and issues that are under-reported in mainstream U.S. media outlets. In our inaugural event, Knute and Fred will discuss his current work documenting the myriad causes and consequences of poverty and the work of change agents addressing them.


Srivani Jade, Ravi Joseph Albright, and Wes Cecil
in conversation with Brangien Davis
Monday, March 9, 2020

Indian ragas were first envisioned by Hindus as a manifestation of the divine—a musical expression treated as god or goddess with its own intricate personality. The art form has two foundational elements, raga and tala. The raga, based on swara (notes including microtones), forms the fabric of a melodic structure, while the tala measures time. The raga gives an artist a palette to build the melody from sounds, while the tala provides them with a creative framework for rhythmic improvisation. Hindustani vocalist, composer, and world musician, Srivani Jade, will join master tabla artist and accompanist, Ravi Joseph Albright, and historian Wes Cecil in discussion Brangien Davis illuminating the history of Indian classical music. The evening will feature a complete raga performed by an ensemble of professional musicians.

Robyn Bailey
in conversation with Ted Alvarez
Monday, April 13, 2020 | 5:30 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world contribute bird observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology each year, providing data on a scale once unimaginable. Scientists use these data to reveal how birds are affected by habitat loss, pollution, disease, climate, and other environmental changes. NestWatch, the Lab’s citizen-science project on nesting birds, has been monitoring nesting birds’ reproductive success since the 1960s. This long-term database is the nation’s richest source of information on avian reproductive biology. Project Leader, Robyn Bailey, will join Ted Alvarez in a discussion about current research, education, and communication initiatives for NestWatch. Learn about small things we can all do to help birds every day.

Richard Ross
in conversation with Shaminder Dulai
Monday, September 21, 2020 | 5:30 p.m.

Richard Ross is an internationally-recognized photographer focusing on the American juvenile justice system and social equity. Recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey and MacArthur Foundations, Mr. Ross was awarded both Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. His most recent work, the In Justice series, turns a lens on the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them. Shaminder Dulai will join Richard, in conversation, about his life’s work, many books, and traveling exhibitions of the work that continues to see great success while Ross collaborates with juvenile justice stakeholders, using the images as a catalyst for change.

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Marian Maxwell
in conversation with Ted Alvarez
Monday, October 26, 2020 | 5:30 p.m.

Puget Sound Mycological Society Past President Marian Maxwell will explain the basics of mushroom collecting, including seasons for mushroom hunting, permits required, types of mushrooms to look for, cooking, dangers, and where to hunt. Marian studied mycology under the renowned Dr. Daniel Stuntz and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington. She is a Past President of the Puget Sound Mycological Society (2010-2015), is currently the Outreach Chairperson, and has served as one of their lead identifiers, educators, and scientific display chairpersons for over 20 years. Ted Alvarez will moderate a dialog with Marian and our audience as we learn how to explore the outdoors by foraging for a vast Northwest resource—mushrooms!

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Eric Dorfman
in conversation with Knute Berger
Monday, November 16, 2020 | 5:30 p.m. 

Director of The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS), Eric Dorfman joins Knute Berger to unveil the science, planning and the process of acquisitions for Dorfman’s former Museum’s (Carnegie Natural History Museum) upcoming 2021 exhibition, “Nature’s Rainbow,” illuminating diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. In this talk, Eric will share how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior.




Communiversity Moderators

Brangien Davis is Crosscut’s arts and culture editor. Prior to Crosscut, she was the arts and culture editor at Seattle magazine, and has contributed cultural profiles, previews and essays to the Seattle Times, Lit Hub, City Arts, Arcade and Ampersand. In addition, she has been a scholar-in-residence at Town Hall Seattle, an editorial manager at Amazon, founded the literary magazine Swivel, and taught creative writing and arts journalism.


Ted Alvarez is an editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9 focused on science and the environment. His work has also appeared in Backpacker,, Air Canada En Route, Outside, Alaska Beyond, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health, Skiing, Scientific American and many other outlets. He is the author of The Survival Hacker’s Handbook and National Parks Coast To Coast: 100 Best Hikes.



Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut’s Editor-at-Large and host of the Mossback’s Northwest TV series on KCTS 9. He writes about politics and regional heritage. Previously he served as Editor-in-Chief of Seattle Weekly, Editor & Publisher of Eastsideweek, and as Managing Editor of Washington Magazine. He is Editor-at-Large for Seattle Magazine and has written two books, “Pugetopolis” and “Space Needle, Spirit of Seattle.” He is a regular commentator on KUOW-FM and a Rainier Club Fellow.

Shaminder Dulai is Crosscut’s head of visuals. He is an award-winning photo/video journalist and creative technologist with 20 years of experience producing stories for newspapers, magazines, TV and digital newsrooms across the United States. He is a Poynter Fellow, an International Center for Journalists Fellow, a Hearst Fellow and recently, was Managing Editor for NBC Left Field, an experimental long-form documentary unit. Prior, he was Global Director of Photography and Multimedia for Newsweek magazine, where he founded Newsweek Films and PhotoLab. He is co-founder of StatelessVoices and founder of PhotoWalk. His personal projects have been published with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Newsweek, PBS, CJR, Everyday Projects, MSNBC, NBC, Global Post, The Guardian, and the AP, among others.

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