Open Dialogue Live is a new online series hosted by Dalhousie University experts and focused on current events. Each weekly episode will be livestreamed via Facebook Live and viewers will have an opportunity to engage in the conversation. Can’t join live? A recording of the talk will be available on this page following the event.

As we all find new and innovative ways to stay connected during these unprecedented times, these online events are an opportunity to bring more of our global community together. We hope you can join these timely and informative discussions.

Upcoming Episodes

June 11 
Topic: Voices of Small Business
Speakers: Mitch Benvie, Sarah Craig, Hana Nelson, Doug Townsend

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous negative impact on the economy, and small business owners are facing unprecedented challenges. In this episode of Open Dialogue Live, we will speak with four Dalhousie alumni who are small business owners. The conversation will explore how they have navigated these challenges and learned to adapt their business practices during the pandemic. Our panelists will speak openly about their experiences and will show possible paths forward for the business community.

About our panelists:

Mitch Benvie (BSc’08), co-owner, Evolve Fitness Ltd.

Mitch and his team temporarily closed the doors to their popular Halifax gym in March, but they haven’t slowed down. They quickly moved to offering virtual at-home workouts and used the profits to support other local small businesses. Now they’re preparing for the next phase as restrictions are being lifted.

Sarah Craig (BComm’10), owner and operator, I Heart Bikes

Sarah’s company operates on the Halifax Waterfront and rents out bikes by the hour. Though tourism is set to take a major hit this summer, she is optimistic since her business plan revolves around an activity that promotes physical distancing.

Hana Nelson (BSc’08), owner/operator, Afishionado Fishmongers

Hana and her team at Afishionado provide fresh and fresh-frozen seafood and are dedicated to bringing low-impact fishing traditions back to the plates of consumers. Like many businesses, they’ve felt the impact of the pandemic as their wholesale side of the business took a major hit. In March they quickly adapted and began offering pick-up and home delivery.

Doug Townsend (BComm’04), co-owner, The Canteen on Portland and Little C Take-out

Along with his wife, Chef Renée Lavallée, Doug faced difficult decisions about his business as things unfolded in March. He and Renée had to close both restaurants and lay off staff. They made the most of a tough situation by giving back to their community, transitioning the restaurant’s cooking space into a community kitchen to help local organizations that feed people who can’t afford to eat healthy meals.

Watch here:

Past Episodes

June 4
Topic: Policy, Politics and Pandemic
Speakers: Dr. Lori Turnbull and Dr. Katherine Fierlbeck

This week on Open Dialogue Live, the conversation will be led by #DalhousieU experts Katherine Fierlbeck, the McCulloch Professor of Political Science in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and Lori Turnbull, the Director of Dalhousie’s School of Public Administration and an associate professor of Political Science, as we discuss policy, politics and the pandemic.

Dr. Fierlbeck and Dr. Turnbull will explore a variety of topics, including democratic governance in public health emergencies, how political institutions have responded to COVID, government accountability, the role of the opposition, as well as what the politics of recovery will look like.

May 28
Topic: A pandemic’s impact on nature
Speakers: David Burton, David Barclay, Rachel Chang, Natasha Daly

How is the current global pandemic impacting the natural world and what will be the long-term effects on the environment? This week on Open Dialogue Live, our #DalhousieU experts will share their expertise and perspectives on a diverse range of topics related to nature and COVID-19.

Our panelists will explore:

· How reduced shipping activity is providing insight into the impact of human-generated noise on ocean life.
· How the pandemic is forcing a transformation of our food system to a more sustainable and resilient system needed to produce food and protect our environment.
· How air quality is being affected by reduced emissions into the atmosphere.
· How animals are being impacted, from those in zoos to those in the wild, and what it means for conservation efforts.

Watch here:

May 21
Examining the future economy
Speakers: Rick Nason and Lars Osberg

What will the post-pandemic economy look like? There is much uncertainty that surrounds the questionThis week on Open Dialogue Live, #DalhousieU professors Rick Nason and Lars Osberg will explore the question through different lenses.  

Dr. Nason, an associate professor of finance in the Rowe School of Business, will offer perspectives on some interesting possibilities about how the economy might function as COVID-19 recedes and a new “normal” begins. Dr. Osberg, a professor in the Department of Economics, will bring his insights on the need for a much stronger social safety net based on lessons learned already during the current pandemic.  

Join the conversation this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. (ADT). Do you have your own questions or comments about the future economy? Dr. Nason and Dr. Osberg will do a Q&A as part of the episode.   

May 14
Topic: Inside/Out: How Covid-19 is shifting our sense of places
Speakers: Sara Kirk, Daniel Rainham, Lisa Roberts, Crystal Watson, Robin Mazumder

This week’s Open Dialogue Live episode is offered in partnership with Dalhousie University’s Healthy Populations Institute (HPI) and the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance (MIPP).

During this unique time of COVID-19 and the necessary physical distancing directives to keep us safe, this panel asks: What has the lockdown meant to Canadian communities and what will the future look like post-pandemic? The pandemic has forced us to examine our relationship with our home and workspaces as they become one, and to consider the impact for those experiencing precarious housing or employment, or with limited access to the outdoors. As we begin to ease restrictions, how do we ensure that we balance health and well-being and create spaces and places that work for everyone? These are just some of the questions that will be discussed during the conversation.

watch here:

May 7
Topic: Vulnerable communities and COVID-19, part II
Speakers: Dr. Adelina Iftene, Constance MacIntosh, Sheila Wildeman

On May 7, Open Dialogue Live will continue last episode’s discussion on COVID-19 and vulnerable populations. The upcoming episode will once again explore how pandemics impact the socioeconomically disadvantaged, with a focus on three different populations.

Dr. Adelina Iftene, a professor in Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, will discuss the spread of COVID 19 in prisons, its impact on incarcerated individuals and the larger community. Constance MacIntosh, the Viscount Bennett Professor of Law and member of Dalhousie’s Health Law Institute, will speak to the impact on First Nation communities. Sheila Wildeman, who is also a professor in the Schulich School of Law and member of the Health Law Institute, will offer her expertise on what can be done to stop COVID-19 from continuing to disproportionately burden the health and human rights of persons with disabilities and other interlocking vulnerabilities.

Watch here:

April 30
Topic: Vulnerable communities and COVID-19
Speakers: Diana Devlin, Dr. Judy MacDonald, Alex Neve, Dr. Ingrid Waldron

How does COVID-19 impact vulnerable populations differently? This week on Open Dialogue Live, four experts will dig deeper into this question and discuss the ways in which pandemics effect individuals who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Our panelists will offer their expertise and knowledge to explore how the topic pertains to Black communities in Nova Scotia, persons living with disabilities and homeless individuals. The conversation will also examine why a human rights response to the COVID-19 crisis is necessary.

On April 30, we’re pleased to welcome experts: Dr. Judy MacDonald, a Professor and Director in Dalhousie’s School of Social Work and Assistant Dean of Equity and Inclusion in the Faculty of Health; Alex Neve (LLB’87), the Secretary General at Amnesty International Canada; and Dr. Ingrid Waldon, an Associate Professor in Dalhousie’s School of Nursing and Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (ENRICH).


or on YouTube here!

April 23
Topic: Navigating Truth and Facts
Speakers: Emma Whelan, Robert Huish and Mike Smit

Staying up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information is important, but it can also be overwhelming. There’s also the challenge of parsing the “boring truth” from the “exciting lie”. Episode three of Open Dialogue Live will help make sense of the misinformation landscape.

Sociology professor and “knowledge expert” Emma Whelan will discuss trends in Canadian news coverage with a focus on the themes of moral authority/regulation, risk and responsibility.

International Development Studies professor and host of the Global Development Primer Podcast, Robert Huish, will focus on themes in global health, along with the challenges of getting good information and policy approaches out and the place of international cooperation in times like this.

Professor Mike Smit, an award-winning teacher and researcher in Dalhousie’s School of Information Management, will shed light on the challenges that technology is creating as it allows information and misinformation to be shared at an astounding—and sometimes dangerous—pace.

April 16, 1:00 p.m. ADT
Topic: The pandemic’s effect on food

Speakers: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Philip and Katie Keddy

The food industry is not immune to COVID-19. Join Dr. Sylvain Charlebois (known as “The Food Professor”) along with local farmers and Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture alumni, Philip and Katie Keddy, as they provide knowledge and insight into the pandemic’s impact on food.

The conversation will focus on Canadian food security, the potential issues that could arise as this season progresses and how the food industry will look beyond COVID-19.

April 9, 1:00 p.m. ADT
Topic: Confronting COVID-19 with Drs. David and Alyson Kelvin

Drs. David and Alyson Kelvin are at the forefront of the COVID-19 effort.
The father and daughter virologists are both engaged in “rapid response” science—fast-tracked federal funding paired with swift collaboration with scientists around the globe working on the pandemic.

As David develops a new way to test for the disease and Alyson works to find a vaccine, their inspiring work will be the focus of this week’s Open Dialogue Live event.

This page will be updated weekly with event and speaker information. Follow us on Facebook for event announcements and other news.