Think about the last time you had a great conversation.

It could have been last weekend with your best friend. Maybe it was a late night phone call with your mom. Or maybe it was with a stranger you now call a friend.

No matter who you’re talking to, great conversations are hard to forget. They ignite something between people that helps us understand each other and ourselves. They spark curiosity and shape opinions that we carry with us as we move forward. These moments can lead us many places and one thing is almost always certain; great conversations connect us. Challenge for Change is bringing these moments to the surface.

We are inviting people across the country to talk to each other – and more importantly – listen to each other’s stories, ideas and perspectives. We want to find the conversations that connect us, that break down barriers and shift points of view – and we’re bringing all of them to you.

We’ll be recording these conversations, and with your permission, some of them will be published as audio documentaries on our website and social media channels.

A Cross-Canada Adventure

Our team will be taking the train across the country all summer thanks to our partner VIA Rail Canada.

From Vancouver to Churchill to Halifax – and everywhere in between – we’ll be on board with recorders in hand, ready to listen. If you’re travelling by rail this summer and you see us on board, please come introduce yourself – we’d love to meet you and hear what you have to say. Think of this as a chance to connect, meet new people and tell your story.  You never know who might be sitting next to you or who you’ll meet at the next stop; it could be someone you have more in common with than you think.

Catherine Phillips aboard the VIA Corridor train from Toronto to Montreal, chatting with travellers making their way across the country.

Our adventure has already started. We just finished our first trip from Toronto to Halifax and we heard some incredible stories along the way. We met a woman who sold her house to fund a trip around the world, high school sweethearts celebrating their retirement by travelling cross-country to visit their family, province by province. And a mother who lost her son and continues to thank him for teaching her what it means to really live.

That is the real thrill behind this project – you never know where the conversation will take you. There is something so remarkable about listening to them unfold and often witnessing a new level of connection and understanding. After just one trip, I’m hooked and can’t wait to get back on the train. I really hope you’ll join us for the rest of the journey.

Community listening events

Our conversations keep rolling long after we step off the train.

Our team will be collaborating with communities, organizations and advocates across the country, hosting listening events that put the microphone in their hands. This arm of the C4C project is all about forming deeper connections and engagement with the communities we visit. Together we create programs, workshops and listening events that serve the interests of each community. It’s an opportunity for our team to dig a little deeper and – with the community’s guidance – capture conversations that deepen our understanding of their particular perspectives and challenges. These conversations are already happening – we’ll be there to listen and learn.

We’re already hard at work!

This project is driven by a small team of multi-media journalists brought together by our passion for storytelling and community engagement. We’re also pretty excited to travel coast to coast and learn more about this country and the people in it!

Although we come from a diverse range of backgrounds, from print to documentary film, there’s one thing we definitely all agree on – the incredible impact of audio storytelling. We’ve been collecting conversations, listening to them together and we’re really excited to now share them with you.

Media makers Maureen McEwan and Nadia Khamsi deep in focus editing our first series of conversations.

 

After only a month together, our team is deep in production. We’ve captured some interesting conversations in Toronto, Ontario and now we’re ready to hear what the rest of the country has to say.

Above all else, C4C is a project about listening. We talk to each other every day, sharing bits of our lives with one another – the trials and the triumphs – but, how often are we actually listening? This is the challenge we’re asking you to accept.

We’re asking you to take the time to really listen to each other, think about the stories we’re capturing and publishing and challenge yourself to find the narratives that connect you to the people around you. We’re recording your conversations because we think they can be more than just memorable; they can lead to deeper understanding and spark new ideas about who we are.

We’re here to help get the conversation going – Maggie Parkhill facilitates a discussion between friends in Toronto, Ontario.

We’re eager to hear what you have to say. If you have a story you’d like to tell or a conversation you’ve been dying to share, we’re all ears. You can contact us at hello@challengeforchange.ca. We’d love to hear from you.

We’ll be on this remarkable journey all summer —we hope you’ll come along with us.