The Richard Briotta Talks are annual talks presented to the University community to share the works and works in progress of Bay Path’s faculty and staff. The Talks are a memorial and tribute Professor Richard Briotta, the former Director of the University’s Communication and Information Management program, who passed away in 2015. The Division of Research and Academic Resources organize the Talks.
I knew Richard or “Dick” quite well. He was an indefatigable raconteur…or in other words: he loved to have a conversation. The hallmark of the Talks is “Got a Minute?” which is how Dick would signal he had an idea that he wanted to vet with you, or that there was something he found confusing or disturbing that required discussion.
Dick would collar colleagues in hallways, stairwell, parking lots, and in their offices to converse, often forgetting he had to go to class, or make his way home for dinner. He became completely immersed in the process of engaging in ideas and discussion, that practical matters would fade away.
For Dick, discussion was natural and therapeutic and he required daily doses of it. For those of us who knew Dick, we recall him as a thoughtful, kind, humble thinker, who loved to grapple with ideas. He was a serious scholar and an admired teacher. He was never afraid to admit his shortcomings in an argument, and he expressed his convictions with humor and healthy dose of irony. Those are virtues that greatly benefit any community, and so we were fortunate to have Dick among us. His passing inspired us to develop this forum “The Richard Briotta Talks” to sustain and promote such virtues.
The first Talk took place in 2015, and many faculty, who cared dearly for Dick, wanted to speak. We had twelve talks that year. In the second year we had seven Talks. The Talks are 10-15 minutes long, and modeled after the well-known TED TALKS ©. The Talks are now in their third year. In the previous two years we have had faculty and staff share their ideas and below is a sample of the titles for some of those Talks:
- “The Science of Coffee,”
- “From Knights in Shining Armor to 007: The Direct Link between Medieval Romance and James Bond Movies,”
- “Power, Negotiation, and Sir Isaac Newton,”
- “Scientism: The Fourth Major World Belief System,”
- “The Random and Arbitrary: Statistics, Irony, and Dadaism”
- “Communication and the Murder of Jean Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday,”
- “A Feminist Reading of Ernest Hemingway”
- “You can’t get rid of the Babadook: What a Horror Film can teach us about Grief and Trauma,”
- “Learning through vulnerability: embracing failure on the way to success.”
- “The 20 Hour Workweek: Artificial Intelligence and Automation and the Challenge of Labor”
These Talks have inspired some of our speakers to subsequently write blogs, articles, start book projects, and develop course materials for their students.
This year we present four talks that discuss such topics as unexpected risk-taking and its benefits, creative writing as a tool for moral transformation, lessons in leadership development from unexpected sources, and the importance of conversations in promoting both innovation and justice.
We invite you to join us at 3:30 p.m. on October 4th at Mills Theatre to continue this tradition of sharing ideas and starting conversations. The Talks will take about one hour of time to share.