How the Cochrane Ideas Group got started and who we are.

CR Cochrane Times, 2014

Warren Harbeck, Brooks Tower and  former Cochrane Anglican minister, Derek Dunwoody and others decided in 2000 to start what has become a flourishing monthly discussion group in Cochrane.   Five years later David Sweeney took over coordinating IDEAS, and eventually Andy Marshall and Heinz Unger joined him. 

In the summer of 2019, the coordinating team welcomed Cheryl Hardy and William Hawkins.  Now, in 2021, three long-serving members of the coordinating committee—David, Andy and Heinz—are ready to retire.  A call for new blood to help continue the popular speaking series resulted in three new coordinating members coming on board: Louis Arseneault, Leslie Davies and Timothy Tammam.  They are pleased to join Cheryl and William in carrying on the Cochrane Ideas Group that has drawn hundreds of local people since the beginning of the 21st Century.  

Ideas has now been running strong for over 20 years!

How it works …

Cochrane Ideas meets 10 months a year (skipping the summer months of July and August), on the second Friday of each month.  We announce the topic well in advance so that people can develop their own thoughts and come prepared to join in the conversation.  Depending on the format for the evening, the speaker(s) initiate(s) the conversation for 20 to 90 minutes.  Unless we have a very large crowd, we usually sit in a circle so that everyone has an opportunity to offer their thoughts – or pass if they do not wish to speak.  This is a chance for us all to opt out of the passive observer/spectator mode so prevalent in modern society and become an active participant, an active contributor.

How are topics chosen?  Most evenings are led by individuals local to the Cochrane area; some leaders are highly qualified in their subject area whereas others are simply individuals with a strong interest in a subject who have become motivated to share their thoughts as well as to hear what others in the community think.  Once or twice a year, we invite a well-known individual from Calgary, or even a nationally known person, to speak.

A deeper level of conversation …

We strongly believe that if we are to survive over the coming decades, it will be, in part, by networking – by coming together, connecting with more and more people, working to break down the barriers we as individuals put up in order to keep people from penetrating deeper than “the reception rooms of our minds” (Leo Tolstoy).  Hence our interest in supporting the promotion of a deeper level of conversation.