The Group

A group of faculty, students and community members at and around University of Chicago


  • The object was really complex and the participants really respected the work so we were able to get a lot out of it.
  • Co-facilitating went well -- we communicated before and during the conversation
  • Opening and closing questions went over well
  • The questions kept going after the dialogue ended
  • People said they really appreciated it
  • Implication was easily found and discussed


  • Conversation didn't flow at first but it slowly built as people got connected to the text
  • Could have asked more questions and controlled the conversation a little better (woven it together more)
  • Could have trusted the silence more than we did

Opening Activity

Yes -- after setting the expectations and the tone of the discussion, we did introductions (name, year in school/organizational affiliation) and had the participants break into pairs and and share: "What is something you feel responsible for?" After that, we passed out our image and asked the participants to give the image a title (group share).

Discussion Questions

  • What do the trees signify?
  • What does it mean to disappear?
  • What's going on in the third stanza? (context)
  • Why won't the speaker share where the place is?
  • Why is it necessary to talk about trees?
  • What is the speaker trying to accomplish by having us listen?
  • Who is behind the buying, selling, and disappearnces?
  • What does civic responsibility mean?
  • What is our civic responsibility?
  • How do we hold each other accountable for affecting social change?
  • How do you give people a voice?
  • What is the difference between noticing and acting?

Closing Activity

Yes we did: "What will you take away from this conversation?"

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