The Big Question

A day of multi-faceted thinking

What if...?

At the annual Big Question event, people gather to grapple with one of life’s big questions together. Everyone starts and ends the day together. A handful of session leaders share their own approaches and ways of using the question in interactive small-group sessions. And everyone gets to share a meal and a slice of cake and talk it over some more.

The Big Question fosters an uplifting atmosphere that invites people to bring their own experience and curiosity to bear on the big, important questions that life raises – to try out ideas together and see what happens.

2021 Question

What if … ? 

Confirmed Session Leaders:

  • Skylar Bayer, Assistant Professor of Biology, Aquaculture & Extension Specialist, Roger Williams University 
  • Ian-Khara Ellasante, Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Bates College 
  • René Goddess Johnson, Lead Designer, Embodied Equity Consulting 

Session leaders draw on expertise and experience gathered through their work and lives, and invite participants into their way of asking and answering the year’s question. The small-group interactive sessions may be structured in a variety of ways – as a talk, a workshop, a performance – but they all offer the opportunity to take in what the session leader has to share, and also to engage with them and with other Big Question participants in a variety of ways.  

What people are saying

  • “This evening has been a thoughtful exercise, a compassionate act, and an uncomfortable stretch.”


  • "Lovely day - more than informative: inspirational."


  • “This is such a fantastic idea- to have a multidisciplinary approach to these issues to encourage collaboration."


  • "[I was] exposed to more, and many, connections in Maine between organizations, institutions, and people."


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