Skip to main content
HomeLectures & Discussions

Lectures and Discussions    Return to previous screen

  • Activities are for members only unless otherwise indicated.
  • Review the Cancellation Policy regarding paid activities.

Spring 2023

No Classes on holidays

Free Activities

Bob Haxton Discussion Group: What Motivates Our Actions?

Halpern Room
Fri, May 19 - Aug 4, 10:00-11:30am

Registration is advised but not mandatory.

Register for this series.

Accordion Widget
More about this Series
More about this Series

Investigating why we act the way we do causes us to re-examine beliefs which seem

fundamental to the integrity of our selves and society, but this re-evaluation holds the promise of dramatic benefits for both. This enquiry is not new, Boswell and Samuel Johnson argued about it 300 years ago, but recently Science has added its authority to the debate.

In this series of talks and interviews gleaned from YouTube we will watch a number of well-respected scientists and authors elaborate on the following topics: the illusion of free will, the illusion of self, the tyranny of thinking, the influ­ences that shape our actions, and contending with these situations. Each session will end with discussion.

May 19 Sam Harris

One could argue that the refutation of the illusion of free will is more threatening to the fabric of society than the refutation of the illusion of the sun going around the earth. Dr. Sam Harris is a Neurophysiologist, author, meditator and host of the podcast “Waking Up” which has become a mission for him. In his own words “its purpose is to radically transform your sense of what life is about” and “who and what you are".

Free Will Lecture” (58 minutes).

May 26 Susan Blackmore

The illusion of free will, the scientific proof: the Libet experiment. Dr. Blackmore is a British lec­turer and journalist who has written extensively for The Guardian and is the author of many books, most notably “The Meme Machine,” ”Conversations on Consciousness” and “Consciousness: An Introduction,” which became a text book, and after having the experience her­self, “Parapsychology and out - of - the - body experiences." 

“Free Will is an Illusion” (10 minutes) and “Living Without Free Will” (70 minutes) (this lecture may be edited to allow adequate time for discussion).

June 2 David Bohm

Dr. David Bohm’s doctoral thesis was instrumen­tal in the production of the atom bomb but he wasn’t allowed to read it as it had been branded top secret and he was a Communist. Oppenheimer facilitated him getting his doctorate and Einstein asked him to be his assistant, but in the face of the growing opposition to Communism both men persuaded Bohm to leave the country, which he did, taking a position in Brazil.

“Thought creates the thinker; we distort every­thing to protect the ego” (60 minutes).

June 9 David Suzuki, David Bohm, Jiddu Krishnamurti

David Suzuki asks Bohm how it came to pass that an eminent physicist ended up having a long and close relationship with an Indian mystic, Jiddu Krishnamurti.

“Dr. David Suzuki interviews Dr. David Bohm, physicist, on The Nature of Things” (40 minutes); “David Bohm on Krishnamurti and the problem of thought” (5 minutes) “Thought has to find security” Jiddu Krishnamurti (10 minutes)

June 16 Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti was groomed to be the new “World Teacher” by the Theosophical Society (founded by Helen Blavatsky in New York in 1875) but later rejected this mantle and withdrew from the organization. He traveled the world speaking to large and small groups, as well as individuals.

Krishnamurti answers questions:

“How do I deal with my deep-rooted emotions?” (36 minutes); “If there were no me, would there be suffering?” (15 minutes); “To live with what is” (10 minutes)

June 23 Ekhart Tolle

German born Ekhart Tolle decided at age 13 that he was not going to school anymore, so his mother shipped him off to his father, who was living in Spain. His father was less concerned about this decision and let him pursue his own interests of philosophy and languages. By 1977, at age 29, he had managed to enrol in a post­graduate program at the University of Cambridge. After a night of severe depression, followed by an epiphany, he stopped studying for his doctorate and spent his time sleeping rough on Hampstead Heath and “watching the world go by”. Oprah Winfrey promoted his best-known book “The Power of Now” and eight years later partnered with him for a series of webinars focusing on chapters from his books.

“Stop Your Mind From Using You: How Mindful­ness Can Bring Balance To Your World” (80 minutes)

June 30 Ekhart Tolle at Google

“Ekhart Tolle Digital Age: Living wth Meaning, Purpose, Wisdom” (90 minutes) (this lecture may be edited to allow adequate time for discussion)

July 7 Yuval Noah Harari

Harari is an Israeli public intellectual, historian, and professor at the Hebrew University of Jeru­salem. He has written several best sellers includ­ing “Sapiens” where he shows how we beat out competing hominids by virtue of being able to tell stories and "Homo Deus" where he shows us how our technological expertise has given us God-like power. He is also a meditator who med­itates every day and for a month every year and maintains that meditation was instrumental in his writing of these books.

Yuval Noah Harari and Mark Salms

“Dawn of Future Consciousness” (77 minutes)

July 14 Yuval Noah Harari in conversation with Sam Harris

“Meditation, Religion and God” (18 minutes)

“Sam Harris and Yuval Noah Harari on Medita­tion” (10 minutes) (sound only, no video)

“Yuval Noah Harari - Meditation is Not the Solu­tion to Your Problems” (2 minutes)

“The Politics of Consciousness” a lecture (31 minutes)

July 21 Michael Pollan

Pollan never got a Science degree but has never­theless gained a number of prestigious titles in the field. He is best known for his books that explore the socio-cultural impact of foods. Books such as “The Botany of Desire”, “The Om­nivore’s Dilemma”, "How to Change Your Mind” and “This is Your Mind On Plants”

“How to Change Your Mind” (45 minutes)

“Psilocybin and MDMA Will Be Legal Therapeu­tics ...” (10 minutes)

July 28 Gabor Maté

Dr. Maté spent two years as a high school teacher before becoming a doctor, working in palliative care at Vancouver General Hospital and then with drug addicts in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver, an area probably unrivalled in its concentration of drug addicts. He has earned an international reputation for his views on the causes of drug addiction, seeing it as stemming from trauma caused by a toxic culture.

“The Myth of Normal: Dr. Gabor Maté on Trauma, illness and....” (40 minutes)

August 4 Gabor Maté

“Dr. Gabor Maté on Love, Trauma, Disillusion­ment and Creativity” (56


Discussion Series

Halpern Room
Wed., 10:30am-12:00pm

Drop in on Wednesday mornings if interested. New members welcome.

Upcoming Events
List of Topics

Esther Birney Lecture Series

Halpern Room
Thurs., 10:30-11:45 (except June 1 when class starts at 9:30)

Please make room on your calendar for this exciting Literary Series! Each session has a knowledgeable presenter and the topics are intriguing. You will be sure to enjoy this well-curated series.

Upcoming Events
List of Topics

Hearing Health Seminars

Halpern Room
Tue, Apr 18 and May 2, 1:00-2:00

 Register for this series.

Accordion Widget
More about this Series
More about this Series

April 18 Learn About Hearing Health & Hearing Loss

Hearing health is closely connected to our overall well-being. Learn why understanding how hearing works can help you to preserve it. Hearing loss is not an isolated disease and often is connected to other chronic conditions.


This topic will include:

Types and causes of hearing loss, early signs of hearing loss, hearing loss linked to other diseases and conditions (diabetes, vascular disease, depression, balance, dementia, tinnitus etc.), the impact of hearing loss and treatment.


May 2 Management of Hearing Loss and Treatments

Ear-related problems are more common than many realize but fortunately, there are also more options for treating hearing loss today than ever before.


This topic will include:

Living with hearing impairment and quality of life, improving social interaction, the latest research in hearing loss treatment, how hearing technology works, and hearing styles.

Hearing Screening Clinic

Begg Room
Tue, May 9, 12:30-3:30

Register for a screening starting on May 3.

Accordion Widget
More about the screening
More about the screening

Do you have hearing loss?

Many people don’t realize they have hearing loss. Now it’s easy to check. Your ears collect sound but it’s your brain that actually under­stands it. That’s why good hearing helps your brain stay fit throughout your life and helps avoid many other health problems. If you are not sure about your hearing health or others have noticed that you are not hearing well come and have your hearing tested.


Credentials and Bio: My name is Katarina Vavrovicova and I am a clinical Doctor of Audiology, registered with the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia and certified by Speech-Language & Audiology Canada. I graduated from Blooms­burg University of Pennsylvania in the USA with a doctoral degree in Audiology in 2006 and relo­cated to practice in Beautiful British Columbia. I have been working with physicians and the med­ical community in the Vancouver area for several years and my focus is on restoring hearing and communication with a passion for helping people and improving their well-being state. I recognize the importance of being able to hear well, and how the quality of one's hearing can have a direct influence on a person's social life, physical well-being, and emotional state.

I also serve on the Board of the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC. My previous experience includes working as a clinical supervisor at the School of Audiology & Speech Sciences, and participating in a multi-year research study at the University of British Columbia. In addition, I am actively involved in the community and teaching the public about hearing health.

Dr. Richard Stace-Smith Lectures PresentsMichael Clague
On Zoom only.
Free for members
Wed, May 10, 1:30-2:30

Accordion Widget
More about This Lecture
More about This Lecture

This year’s Dr Richard Stace-Smith Lecture is about the personal and work story of Vancouver-born Michael Clague, a community work practitioner almost from birth 82 years ago. His story is set amidst the optimism of the mid-twentieth century following World War Two which gave us the opportunity to say “Never again. We can make the world a better place.” Have we progressed? We will hear what the author has learned during his journey, personally, and in his work and invites you to do the same. His last position was as Director of the Carnegie Community Centre in the Downtown Eastside. Michael’s talk is based on his new book “So, How Have I Been Doing at Being Who I Am? At 82, A Life In Progress.”


This annual series is dedicated to the late Dr. Richard Stace-Smith (1924-2017) who served as president for Brock House Society between 1995-1997. A UBC alumnus—he worked at Agriculture Canada and was honoured with the Order of British Columbia. The series began in May 2015, featuring speakers in his field. The series continues to feature relevant topics for our society as a whole.

Indigenous Studies: Exploring Reconciliation: Conversations About Reconciliation and UNDRIP 
Co-sponsored by the Diversity Committee
Halpern Room (and Zoom)
Wed, Apr 26 - May 24, 1:00-2:30pm (May 10 session postponed to May 24)

Accordion Widget
More about Exploring Reconciliation
More about Exploring Reconciliation

Kerry Baisley, a member of the Metis Nation of BC and a Missioner for Indigenous Justice at the Anglican Church Diocese of New Westminster, has curated this series of 4 talks from the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District response to the TRC Call to Action 57 - Duty of Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for all Public Servants. Kerry will not be able to be present but will provide us with questions for discussion. 

April 26 Jerry Fontaine Jerry Fontaine speaks from his experience and his book "Our Hearts Are as One Fire" as he shares an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe interpretation of the role of traditional leadership and governance today.

May 3 Lindsay Keegitah Borrows Keegitah's love for the Land, Water and Storytelling inspired her to explore law as a way to strengthen relationships between humans and non-humans in the spaces we call home. She will share stories from her book "Otter's Journey" to explore how Indigenous Language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization.

May 10 Paulette Regan Paulette draws on her work in 'Unsettling the Settler Within' and the TRC's reconciliation vision and framework to reflect on the problematic concept of settler-colonial allyship. The need for non-Indigenous allies to forge 'unsettling' or decolonizing pathways, principles and practices of truth-telling remains critical post-TRC for reconciliation and transformation.

May 17 Sa'ke'j Youngblood Henderson As one of the strategists and members of the drafting team for the creation of UNDRIP, Sa'ke'j will share stories from the generation-long struggle that led ultimately to the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United nations General Assembly.

Jungian Psychology: Owning Your Own Shadow and Inner Gold – Understanding Psychological Projection; A Discussion

Begg Room
Mon, Apr 3 -Jun 19, 10:30-12:00

Register for this series.
Discussion hosted by Michael D'Arcy

Accordion Widget
More about this Series
More about this Series

The discussion will cover Robert A. Johnson’s short books as referred to in the course title. If there is time we will also discuss his book “Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love


About Michael D'Arcy: I became interested in Jungian psychology in 2007 and attended the International School of Jungian Psychology (ISAP) in Zurich, for the Spring semester of 2012 and the Spring semester of 2013. One of the requirements of ISAP attendance is a certain number of dream analysis sessions with a Jungian Analyst. I have continued this practise to this day.

Travel Series
Halpern Room
Mon, 10:30am-12:00pm

Drop in. 

Photographers share their travel experiences. To receive a weekly email reminder and Zoom instructions, contact John Smith at  Please include your membership number.

Upcoming Events
List of Topics

Tuesday Lecture Series

Halpern Room
Tue, 10:30am-11:30pm

Drop in. 

Knowledgeable specialists lecture on diverse topicsIf you're interested in weekly email reminders and/or Zoom instructions, contact Allan Strain at

Upcoming Events
List of Topics

Paid Activities

IP401 Legendary Performers

Halpern Room
Fri, Apr 14 - May 12, 10:00-12:00

Register for the class.
Instructor: Neil Ritchie

Accordion Widget
Course Description
Course Description

Apr. 14  Burt Bacharach 

An appreciation of this extraordinary songwriter who died in February age 94.


Apr. 21  Beverly Sills

A unique career combining opera, comedy administration and a challeng­ing family life.


Apr. 28  Thelonious Monk

This eccentric pianist had a unique technique and wrote jazz standards that are beloved by jazz musicians to this day.


May 5   Dorothy Fields

A tin pan alley lyricist who sometimes felt like the only female in the fraternity.


May 12 Gloria Estefan

The Cuban born singer/songwriter and husband Emilio introduced their islands infectious dance rhythms.


IP402 Lessons From Life’s Greatest Teacher

Begg Room
Tue, May 23 - June 6, 1:00-2:30

Register for this class
Instructor: Christa Ovenell

Accordion Widget
Course Description
Course Description

May 23 Medical Assistance in Dying: past, present, & future directions

Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada. We will explore historical legislation, present-day practices and future directions--including what some see as the "some-day, one-day" inevitability of advance requests for MAiD. As you may expect from a presentation from "The Apprentice", we will get beyond simply exploring the facts and dive into the heart of this tender, tough, and important topic.

May 30 Alzheimer’s isn’t an enemy: easing anxieties and exploring aspirations about dementia

Dementia is a terrifying possibility for many of us as we age. The language we use in modern society to describe people living with this disease is dismissive at best and extremely damaging at worst. Join me for a workshop where we will be introduced to a new perspective on dementia, and explore ways to ease anxieties and embrace positive aspirations for those living with--or fearing they might one day live with--this condition. We will also focus on a few practical steps you can take today to manage the possibility of cognitive changes in your future.


June 6 What you need to know about donating your body to science: a disposition primer

This comprehensive presentation will help you understand what it really means to donate your body to science. We will explore the differences between whole-body scientific donation, "BodyWorks" displays, and organ donation. You'll learn everything you need to know about the process, including how to make a back-up decision (because you might just face the ultimate rejection at the end of life...). We will also do some myth-busting about disposition methods, including green burial, aquamation, and human composting!

Please remember that this class runs from 1:00-2:30

IP403 The Music of Brahms, Performed by Great Conductors
On Zoom
Mon, Apr 17 - May 15, 1:30-3:30

Register for this class.
Instructor: Nicolas Krusek

Accordion Widget
Course Description
Course Description

The symphonies, concertos and overtures of Johannes Brahms (1833-97) are among the most beloved works in the repertoire. Join us as we explore the output of this great German composer in performances by legendary maestros such as Arturo Toscanini, Karl Bohm, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Celibidache and Carlos Kleiber.


Week 1: Serenades for Orchestra and Piano Concerto No. 1

Week 2: Haydn Variations and Symphony No. 1

Week 3: Symphony No. 2, Violin Concerto and Academic Festival Overture

Week 4: Tragic Overture, Piano Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 3

Week 5: Symphony No. 4 and Concerto for Violin and Cello

IP404 The Roots and History of American Music - Part One - THE BLUES

Halpern Room
Mon, May 8 - Jun 19, 1:00-3:00

Register for this class.
Instructor: John Mitchell

Accordion Widget
Course Description
Course Description

The Blues began in the fields of the “Deep South” of the United States, evolving from the shouts and chants of the field workers and the spirituals sung in church on Sundays. Its origins can be traced back to the rhythms of Africa, brought to America by the slaves. It is a true American music. Although the Blues originated in the Mississippi Delta, its influences were felt throughout the United States and different forms and sounds of the Blues developed differently in various area of the U.S.

Week 1 - The Delta Blues

Delta Blues is one of the earliest forms of the Blues style. Identified by acoustic slide and open tuning guitar, harmonica and gut-bucket bass. The Mississippi Delta follows the river south from Memphis, Tennessee down to Vicksburg, Missis­sippi and encompassed the vast cotton fields of the US south. We’ll look at some of the greatest early blues artists like Robert Johnson, King Solomon Hill, Lead Belly, Mississippi John Hurt, Fred McDowell and Sonny Boy Williamson and see where the Blues began.

Week 2 - The Memphis Blues

The Northern-most point of the Mississippi Delta was Memphis, Tennessee and it developed its own style with artists such as B. B. King, Albert King, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Junior Wells, adding the electric guitar and a little more bite to the mix. These were Blues howlers who let their guitars wail. We’ll look at how the electric guitar influenced their particular brand of the Blues and we’ll see how W.C. Handy actually invented the Blues.


Week 3 – Chicago Blues

The Blues followed the migration of farm workers as they moved north along the Mississippi river and from rural to urban America, seeking work and a better life in the industrialized north. The predominantly black neighbourhood of South Chicago became the home of Chicago Blues artists like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, James Cotton and Otis Rush. Now we had big city pushy blues with that relentless shuffle or skip beat. We’ll look at how the stock­yards and South Michigan Avenue influenced the sound of the Blues.

Week 4 – Texas Blues

Texas Blues originated, again, from the African Americans who worked the oilfields, ranches and lumber camps in the South West of the United States. Texas Blues incorporates the old time swing and jazzy feel that comes from the cowboy swing music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Some of the artists from the Lone Star State that we’ll look at are Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Freddie King and Albert Collins, and of course some of artists that have ignited a revitalization of Texas Blues, like Stevie Ray Vaughn and ZZ Top.

Week 5 – The British Blues

No one quite knows why the British took to the Blues so much and so well. Maybe it was the industrial working class that gave them the same feeling as the farm and field workers in the Deep South, but they took to the blues and embraced it with a passion. The likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, John Mayall and Jeff Beck, all white boys from the south of England, put their stamp on the Blues. They paid homage to the originators, but added their own flair.

Week 6 – The New Young Blues Guitarist

Although the Blues have been played for nearly 100 years, they have not lost their energy. The old time players may have left us, but there is a whole new generation of great new young Blues players who pay homage to the roots of the Blues and carry the torch to a new generation. We’ll look at the new young guitar slingers who hope to join the legacy of great Blues guitar players. People like, Jon Bonamassa, Johnny Lang, Robert Cray, Brendan McFarlane and John Mayer. Will they keep the Blues alive!!!!!?????

Brock House, 3875 Point Grey Rd, Vancouver,  BC  V6R 1B3

(604) 228-1461

Open Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 4:00pm (Closed stat holidays)

To book events after July 31st, 2023, please contact Brock House Events at