Osher Lifelong Learning Institute At Ringling College to Present LISTENING TO WOMEN Series

“Listening to Women” will be presented Jan. 18-Feb. 22, 2024.

By: Dec. 06, 2023
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute At Ringling College to Present LISTENING TO WOMEN Series

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College (OLLI at Ringling College) will present its fifth annual Listening to Women, a six-session series that recognizes women whose brilliance and fortitude have reshaped industries and who are making a difference in today's communities. The series takes place on Thursdays at 1 pm, from Jan. 18-Feb. 22, 2024, at Sarasota Art Museum, the Ringling College Museum Campus, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Registration for the complete series is $81 for OLLI Gold Members and $90 for OLLI Silver Members and general admission; register at www.OLLIatRinglingCollege.org.


Holly Freedman, co-chair of the OLLI Advisory Council, is the founder of the Listening to Women series. Members of the Listening to Women team include Victoria Eckl, Louise Gallagher, Susan Gorin, Bev Harms, Victoria Kasdan, Judy Levine, Terry Rixse, Sherry Suggs, and Tobie van der Vorm.


“At each session, we'll hear the inspiring personal stories of women who, driven by vision, passion, and determination, have achieved success in a variety of fields,” Freedman says. “The women in the 2024 series from Sarasota and Manatee counties have persevered in journalism and civil rights, space science, the visual arts, mentoring children, non-profit leadership, thwarting human trafficking, and shark science. Their inspirational stories will engage and captivate the audience.


Freedman adds that the Listening to Women series brings attention to the incredible women who live and work here and who are making a difference both locally and globally, and adds to the breadth of OLLI's course offerings. “Our hope is that the audience—men and women—will be motivated to suggest or seek out similar programs at OLLI.”


The Listening to Women schedule at a glance (For complete details and schedule, visit www.OLLIatRinglingCollege.org):


Jan. 18: “Keeping Hope Alive” with Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Liz Walker. Even when we're faced with challenging times, history can keep us hopeful. Emmy Award-winning journalist and author Hunter-Gault began her career at The New Yorker, becoming the first Black reporter for the Talk of the Town section, then joined The New York Times, where she established the Harlem Bureau, the first of its kind. Walker is a former journalist, co-founder of a girls' school in South Sudan, ordained minister, and the creator of Can We Talk, a community-based clinically-supported program focused on collective trauma and healing that is currently being replicated nationwide. A book signing of My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives by Hunter-Gault will follow this session. 

·    Jan. 25: “Why Are We Exploring and Exploiting Space? Who is “We”? And What's the Point?” with Dr. Linda Billings. More and more actors—governments and corporations—are entering the business of exploring and exploiting space, with an increasing focus on establishing a permanent human presence there. Advocates talk of creating lunar bases, Mars colonies, and orbital communities. Should they come to pass, what's the value of these endeavors? Billings is a consultant to NASA's astrobiology and planetary defense programs at NASA headquarters, and co-editor of and contributing author to Reclaiming Space: Progressive and Multicultural Perspectives on Space Exploration. 

·    Feb. 1: “Curating Life from Seoul to Sarasota” with Dr. Rangsook Yoon and Stephenie Frasher. Yoon has never let boundaries limit her curiosity. She moved from Seoul, South Korea to the U.S. in 1995 to study art history. She has lived and worked in four languages, five countries, six states, and 12 cities. Yoon will discuss how she has gone from being immersed in European art to building bridges between communities and contemporary artists from around the globe, sharing her life's journey, past exhibitions, and dreams for future ones. She'll also talk about her vision for Sarasota Art Museum as a shared public space, open to creativity and change, in this conversation between two globetrotting art professionals about cultural heritage, the power of art, and the power of community. A curator tour by Yoon in Sarasota Art Museum galleries will follow this session. 

·    Feb. 8: “Women with Purpose—Ensuring Our Children's Future” with Lisa Bechtold, Suriya Khong, Dr. Rachel Shelley, and Melanie Custer. Four women raised in different parts of the country and in different cultures have come together to create opportunity for deserving students in Sarasota County. Shelley, Khong, Custer, and Bechtold are women with the passion and vision to provide mentoring, post-secondary education, and hope for over 400 current students in our community. In this session, they will talk about their childhoods, their educational journeys, and what made them choose this path to ensure a great future for so many children.

·    Feb. 15: “Freedom is An Inside Job” with Dr. Brook Parker-Bello and Dawn Sakes. The profound effects of shame in combating human trafficking and violence will be discussed in this session. Parker-Bello will share from her own life (with questions from Sakes) and with history about the circle of shame and its effects on her life as a woman, a woman of color, and a survivor. She will break down how shame relates to all facets of life and build a bridge of empathy for all human beings to experience.

·    Feb. 22: “Beyond White Sharks and White Men” with Jasmin Graham, Raven Harrison, Magrieli Rodriguez Ruiz, and Carlee Jackson Bohannon. This session features a panel discussion with women of color in shark sciences, highlighting their journeys in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the current state of affairs in marine STEM, particularly shark science. They will take a deep dive into representation: how far the marine STEM fields have come, how far they still have to go, and how to get there. Along the way, we'll learn about the importance of sharks and their relatives and how inclusive conservation can help protect sharks and shift public perception from fear to fascination.

For more information and to register, call 941-309-5111, or visit www.OLLIatRinglingCollege.org. Listening to Women is made possible, in part, with support from The Schwartzbaum Urfer Group at Morgan Stanley, and the Harms Family Endowment.