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The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
Love Town Hall? Become an insider! In The Moment with Jini Palmer offers a slice of Town Hall culture and puts you in the room for exclusive behind-the-scenes conversations. Listen in as a rotating cast of prominent local voices, along with Chief Correspondent Steve Scher, get to know upcoming speakers before they visit our stages. Get an insider perspective you won’t find anywhere else—a weekly snapshot of all things Town Hall. Fans of Seattle public radio will recognize Steve Scher from hi ...
 
Join University of Washington professor Jeff Shulman for a seventh season exploring the far-reaching impacts of Seattle's physical and cultural transformation. Notable guests from earlier seasons of Seattle Growth Podcast include Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens, 3-time NBA All-Star Detlef Schrempf, NBA champion Wally Walker, Sonics legend Slick Watts, Pete Nordstrom, Craig Kinzer, Port Commissioner John Creighton, Paul Lawrence, City Councilmember Tim Burgess, SDOT director Scott Kubly, Tim Burg ...
 
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In publishing today, some of the most expressive, form-breaking, innovative writing seems to come from Native authors. While the written tradition often overlooks Indigenous authors, in recent years we have seen a small increase in Native people telling their own stories in their own ways. In a conversation facilitated by author Kristen Millares Yo…
 
A young girl was raised on a rice farm in rural Japan when, at seven years old, her mother left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. That young girl would become the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the United States Senate. Sen…
 
Have you ever asked someone, “How are you?” while not really caring about their actual response? And why would you need to, when we are conditioned to rarely respond to this question honestly? This is an example of deception and self-deception, and it happens in little and big ways around the world every single day. While this example may seem inno…
 
In what ways can words reach across time and distance, to speak with the dead, the unborn, past selves, and future possibilities? How do poets engage in conversations that can animate and embody what is not yet or no longer here? In this episode, correspondent and Lyric World host Shin Yu Pai talks to poet Meredith Clark about her lyric book-length…
 
Marlon Peterson grew up in 1980s and 90s Crown Heights, raised by Trinidadian immigrants. Amid the routine violence and crack epidemic that would come to shape the perception of his neighborhood, Peterson spent his childhood preaching the good word alongside his father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness. The specter of the American Dream loomed large, and…
 
The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend “up to heaven and down to hell,” which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Shale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transfor…
 
The vast majority of American—71 percent—believe the economy is rigged in favor of the rich. Guess what? They’re right! And Morris Pearl and Erica Payne would know—they’re some of America’s wealthiest “class traitors,” and they joined us to take us on an engaging and enlightening insider’s tour of the nation’s tax code, which is where they say ever…
 
Many believe that COVID-19 has exposed everything that’s wrong with decades of the world’s governments betting on militarism, competition, and wealth creation. But is a better world really possible after this crisis? Author John Feffer collected insight from dozens of the world’s leading thinkers and activists to answer this question, and he joined…
 
Sandy Hook Elementary. Las Vegas. Pulse nightclub. Virginia Tech. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sometimes it seems as though time is measured by the distance between mass shootings. But how did we get here? In this week’s episode, correspondent Agueda Pacheco Flores talks with journalist Seamus McGraw about his book From a Taller Tower: The…
 
The roster of Warner Brothers Records and its subsidiary labels reads like a roster of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Prince, Van Halen, Madonna, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, and dozens of others. But the most compelling figures in the W…
 
Lying has been a part of society since the beginning. Over the past decade, however, it has become increasingly clear that damaging lies and falsehoods are amplified as never before through social media platforms that reach billions. Lies have abounded: about COVID-19, about vaccines, about public officials, about products. And unfriendly governmen…
 
For hundreds of years, trees have lived side by side, evolving, perceiving one another, learning and adapting their behaviors, recognizing neighbors, and remembering the past. They compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, eliciting warnings and mounting defenses. And at the center of it all are the Mother Trees, mysterious, power…
 
What kind of beat is irresistible to listeners, and how is it achieved? What makes a musical collaboration successful? What can musical minds teach us about innovation? They don’t think like we do, and in the creative process, they don’t act like we do. R. Michael Hendrix believes it isn’t a coincidence that some of the world’s most respected creat…
 
What’s ahead for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents when it comes to civics in our country and communities? How can we work together when parties are often divided themselves? This April Civic Cocktail continues an intended multi-part, multi-party series begun in February. With a new administration in the White House, local leaders discuss th…
 
Is aging a disease? How old does your body say it is? How can we live longer, healthier lives? Dr. David Sinclair, Harvard professor of genetics and bestselling author, joins ISB co-founder and genomics pioneer Dr. Lee Hood for a conversation about the very latest in aging research. David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of…
 
On January 1, 2014, Rwanda’s former head of external intelligence Patrick Karegeya was found murdered in the bed of his upscale Johannesburg, South Africa hotel room. His nephew David Batenga became concerned after it had been several days since anyone had heard from him, and demanded the hotel open the door, despite the “do not disturb” sign on th…
 
The message that the patriarchy and toxic masculinity negatively impacts men and boys as well as women has gotten louder in recent years. But what does that understanding mean for mothers who want to raise feminist sons? Seattle University journalism professor Sonora Jha joined us to offer her own thoughts about this complex and important question.…
 
In 2008, the American economy collapsed, taking with it millions of Americans’ jobs, homes, and life savings. The ensuing financial crisis was devastating, and many are still feeling its effects today. But despite the crisis, the US government has yet to implement policies that would prevent a repeat of the Great Recession. Why is that? Kerry Killi…
 
In 2015, the United Nations gathered for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. What resulted is arguably the most significant global agreement on the reduction of climate change: The Paris Agreement. On Earth Day 2016, 174 countries signed the agreement, including the United States (which withdrew in 2020 but officially rejoined in F…
 
What would it look like if we vowed to protect 50 percent of the earth’s land by 2050? Award-winning author and veteran New Yorker staff writer Tony Hiss believes it could be the key to saving millions of species and conserving the planet. Hiss talks with Senior Correspondent Steve Scher in this week’s episode to discuss Rescuing the Planet: Protec…
 
For many generations, Americans were sold the idea of upward mobility. But today’s generations are unfortunately and unexpectedly struggling with downward mobility, both financial and emotional. A new essay collection gives irreverent and empathetic voice to this generation, hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net, and author Annabelle …
 
Freedom of choice lies at the heart of American society. Every day, individuals decide what to eat, which doctors to see, who to connect with online, and where to educate their children. Yet, many Americans don’t realize that these choices are illusory at best. By the start of the 21st century, every major industrial sector in the global economy wa…
 
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is one of the leading physicists of her generation. She is also one of fewer than 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions. The star theoretical physicist joined us in conversation with S…
 
Will pandemic, protest, economic instability, and social distance lead to deeper inequalities, more nationalism, and further erosion of democracies around the world? Or are we moving toward a global re-awakening to the importance of community, mutual support, and the natural world? The New Possible: Visions of Our World Beyond Crisis argues that th…
 
Was Shakespeare a timeless prophet, a verbal innovator, a technical genius, a man who encapsulated the human condition as no one else has? Well, sort of. But Shakespeare expert Emma Smith argued that much of what we are taught about Shakespeare is not important. She contended that the inconsistencies and uncertainties in his plays are not a problem…
 
In 1937, the famed writer and activist Upton Sinclair published a novel bearing the subtitle A Story of Ford-America. He blasted the callousness of a company worth “a billion dollars” that underpaid its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and sometimes dangerous assembly line labor. Eighty-three years later, the market capitalization…
 
Fly fishing, historian Mark Kurlansky has found, is a battle of wits, fly fisher vs. fish–and the fly fisher does not always (or often) win. The targets–salmon, trout, and char; and for some, bass, tarpon, tuna, bonefish, and even marlin–are highly intelligent, wily, strong, and athletic animals. The allure, Kurlansky learns, is that fly fishing ma…
 
Popes and their inquisitors, emperors and their hangmen, commissars and their secret police–throughout history, all have sought to stanch the free flow of information. Efforts have ranged from being burned for attempting to translate the Bible, to dictionaries and encyclopedias being forbidden, to works of literature and science and history being t…
 
Not far from Seattle skyscrapers live 150-year-old clams, more than 250 species of fish, and underwater kelp forests as complex as any terrestrial ecosystem. For millennia, vibrant Coast Salish communities have lived beside these waters dense with nutrient-rich foods, with cultures intertwined through exchanges across the waterways. Transformed by …
 
On January 5, the run-off election in Georgia flipped the state and created opportunity for a Democrat-led Senate. On January 6, armed insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol Building, resulting in dozens of injuries and several fatalities. UW Professor Christopher Sebastian Parker believes that Donald Trump as chief executive was making…
 
In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. But user behavior suggests that these platforms are also powering deep social divisions online. What is the truth? What can we do to find a balance? Sociologist Christopher Bail joined us to challenge co…
 
How does being othered in America impact our awareness of difference, and how does that lens affect our lived experience? In this episode of Lyric World, host Shin Yu Pai talks with poet Brian Komei Dempster, whose work explores this othered space both through a national and personal history of anti-Asian bigotry, and his own experiences as a paren…
 
Have you ever wanted to ask Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno, and Gente De Zona about their 2014 hit “Bailando”? What’s the story behind that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga,” the one you that makes it irresistible to move? How does Daddy Yankee feel about being the “King of Reggaeton,” and were he and Luis Fonsi surprised by …
 
Many believe that partisan politics has created a roadblock in efforts to reach across the aisle and forge ahead. Nationally, the chasm separating Democrats and Republicans can be felt to be vast, but what about here in Washington state? Is it possible that similar divisive politics could be holding up progress beneficial to all? If so, what are re…
 
We live at a time in which scientists race to reanimate extinct beasts, our most essential ecosystems require monumental engineering projects to survive, chicken breasts grow in test tubes, and multinational corporations conspire to poison the blood of every living creature. No rock, leaf, or cubic foot of air on Earth has escaped humanity’s clumsy…
 
In cities large and small across America, universities have become the dominant companies—and our cities their company towns. But Davarian L. Baldwin argues there is a cost to those who live in their shadow. In this week’s episode, Baldwin talks with Senior Correspondent Steve Scher about the ever-expanding campuses in America. Drawing upon his boo…
 
Tracing his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America through to his own experiences, anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz joined us with a stunningly personal study of the intersections between Jewish and Latin American culture. Drawing on his memoir about his immigrant family, Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation, Lom…
 
The coronavirus pandemic reignited a debate that has been raging for years: healthcare. There are few issues as consequential in the lives of Americans as healthcare. Every single American will interact with the healthcare system, and most people will find that interaction less than satisfactory. And yet for every dollar spent in our economy, 18 ce…
 
What exactly are flavors? Why are some so pleasing while others are not? What is the relationship between Paleolithic art and cheese? Ecology professor Rob Dunn joined us to offer bold new perspectives on why food is enjoyable and how the pursuit of delicious flavors has guided the course of human history. In Delicious: The Evolution of Flavor and …
 
A young woman outlaw in 1894 and a new look at the life of George Washington: what could these two stories have in common? Perhaps more than you’d think. Both introduce a new look at an often romanticized area of American history, seen through a feminist lens. Authors Anna North and Alexis Coe joined us in conversation about rewriting history in ge…
 
Betsy DeVos may be the most prominent face of the seeming push to dismantle public education, but educational policy experts Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider believe she’s part of a larger movement that’s been steadily gaining power for decades. While support for public education today is stronger than ever, Berkshire and Schneider argue, the …
 
From the outside, the Galvin family seemed to be living the American Dream: a happy family with twelve children who perfectly spanned the baby boom, and a trajectory of upward mobility. Behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after an…
 
In this week’s episode, writer Maria Reva joins Senior Correspondent Steve Scher to discuss her bitingly funny, satirical collection of stories, Good Citizens Need Not Fear, which unites around a single crumbling apartment building in Ukraine where a bureaucratic glitch omits the entire building and its residents from municipal records. Together, t…
 
Born to two parents who never graduated high school, Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher grew up to become a leader at the highest levels of academia and the arts. As a child musician, he met with Coretta Scott King. As an adult educator, he sat at Maya Angelou’s holiday table. But it is Dr. Crutcher’s success as a Black intellectual steering through highly cha…
 
How can educators help destroy entrenched inequalities and enact the values of Black Lives Matter in their classrooms, schools, and communities? Jesse Hagopian and Denisha Jones, both educators and members of the Black Lives Matter at School movement, joined us to discuss this question. They believe that the United States is in the midst of an urge…
 
In 2017, a scientist and her team of researchers completed a major study. They found that over the past four decades, sperm levels among men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50 percent. The result sent shockwaves around the globe—but the story didn’t end there. It turns out our sexual development is changing in broader ways, for both …
 
In 1965, a new act transformed the American immigration system by abolishing national quotas in favor of a seemingly egalitarian approach. But the intended effect and the actual result were worlds apart. In this week’s episode, historian Sarah R. Coleman talks with local journalist and correspondent Lilly Fowler about her book The Walls Within: The…
 
A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro — the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. Profes…
 
“Over the last three years in cities and on reserves and reservations across the continent, I have listened to Native people’s stories of loss, injustice and resilience. They are stories that echo Chief Peguis’ story. In myriad ways, each narrator’s life had been shaped by that same struggle: how to share space with a settler nation whose essential…
 
In the non-stop pace of the modern world, it might be a surprise to learn that a 400-year-old story is more relevant today than ever before. But that’s exactly what astrophysicist Mario Livio believes about the life story of Galileo, and he joined us with a fresh interpretation of one of history’s greatest and most fascinating scientists. Drawing o…
 
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