SFU Philosopher’s Cafe: An Insight into the Human Mind


SFU Philosopher's Cafe


Are you over the age of 16 and looking to broaden your perspectives on various philosophical topics? Then skip the small talk: the opportunity for intellectual conversation has arrived!  Thanks to SFU’s coveted Philosopher’s Cafe, you can engage with fellow deep-thinkers in a safe and welcoming environment—for FREE! 

The Philosopher’s Cafe concept was conceived at Simon Fraser University in 1998, where brief and informal public discussions were routinely prompted. The initiative ultimately worked to fuse the ideas of different community members by extending open-ended questions to all. Scholars, seniors, students and more were invited to these meetings, allowing for a diverse array of passionate opinions and first-hand experiences. Today, these stimulating—often mind-boggling—discussions are held all over the lower mainland. The New West Museum & Archives, for example, is a regular host. 

In New West, each meeting runs from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM and revolves around a different topic. Often times, the topic focuses on a moral or ethical debate. In Addition, a moderator is always present to guide the discussion and to steer the dialogue into an appropriate direction. This is an open-minded, respectful and empathetic environment which strives to benefit every single participant! What you take from each meeting is completely up to you. 

The Philosopher’s Cafe meetings are divided between the Anvil Centre’s Atrium, Gallery and the Queensborough Community Centre’s, Poplar Room. Continue reading for the New West Museum & Archives schedule…


September 10th: Food and Sustainability

Location: Queensborough Community Centre | Poplar Room
Moderator: Manav Sekhri

In association with the New West Museum’s feature exhibition, You Are What You Eat! Community Food Security, we consider food and sustainability. Do Canadians waste too much food? How should food (both livestock and produce) be distributed and consumed? And what environmental, economical and sociological effects come out of our food-related choices? 


September 18th: Racism & Progress 

Location:  Anvil Centre | New Westminster Museum Atrium Gallery 
Moderator: Valerie Malla

This discussion will focus on racialized propaganda. How has this strategy affected modern times? What will it take to get past our prejudiced underpinnings and what are some examples of more subtle, unconscious acts of racism? 


October 9th: Food Knowledge

Location: Anvil Centre | New Westminster Museum Atrium Gallery
Moderator: Valerie Malla

Again, in relation to the feature exhibition (You Are What You Eat! Community Food Security), we’ll be considering food and our knowledge around it. How are we affected by our lack of relationship with the foods we eat? Is it a privilege or right to have a garden of one’s own? What resources do we need to create in order to ensure the most vulnerable of our communities has access to healthy food? 


November 12th: Climate Change and Canada

Location: Queensborough Community Centre | Poplar Room
Moderator: Manav Sekhri

On this date, discussion will revolved around the upcoming feature exhibition, The Heat is On: Keeping Warm Then, Keeping Cool Now. We’ll consider climate change in Canada and its underlying causes. Will climate change be necessarily bad for Canadians? What changes should we expect? 


November 27th: Respect & Elders

Location: Anvil Centre | New Westminster Museum Atrium Gallery
Moderator: Valerie Malla

During the month of Remembrance Day, we consider elders.  How do we honour the elders of all cultures? How do our cultural norms indicate how well elders are integrated and honoured in our lives so that their wisdom benefits future generations? Are we guilty of not doing enough? Are seniors exploited by certain institutions or companies? 


December 3rd: Immigrant Communities & Contributions

Location: Queensborough Community Centre | Poplar Room
Moderator: Manav Sekhri

In connection with another upcoming feature exhibition, Sukh Sagar Gurdwara, we consider the contributions of immigrant communities in British Columbia. What role has different immigrant communities played in BC?  What are their cultural, economical, and political contributions?


December 18th: Culture & Celebration 

Location: Anvil Centre | New Westminster Museum Atrium Gallery
 Moderator: Valerie Malla

What does Christmastime mean to you? Is it more than a religious celebration? Does this time of year have the potential to evolve as a universal celebration about connection between people of various cultural backgrounds or will it always be confined to a certain group?