Robert Stains

Program Director, Public Conversations Project, Watertown, Massachusetts

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to get into this kind of work?

A: I'd say focus on having the right heart and spirit. Don't be seduced by technique. At the same time, develop your excellence in technique. Don't be ruled by your heart, the two should inform each other. Have faith in the people that you're working with. Approach them as collaborators and co-creators rather than as subjects. The last thing would be to cultivate an openness to other stories in your own personal life. I often use the analogy of the monastery, because my tradition is Christian tradition, where we have to really be able to live as much as we can. We have to be able to live dialogue as well as do it with other people. Cultivating an openness to a wider array of stories of ourselves and others is sort of the pilgrim's task. That's my advice to other people.