Nicole Armos


Pronouns: she/hers
Areas of Focus: Democratic Participation, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access 


Nicole is the Manager of Knowledge and Practice at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, where she works to advance innovative and equitable approaches to dialogue and democratic participation. Working with the Centre since 2013, Nicole has supported over a dozen local, provincial and federal public engagement projects with process design, facilitation, data analysis, reporting and evaluation.

Nicole leads the Centre’s internal professional development program, as well as collaborative research projects and external knowledge exchange initiatives on democratic participation. She was the lead analyst and writer of the Beyond Inclusion: Equity in Public Engagement project, which was recognized with the 2021 Research of the Year award from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).

Nicole's work is uniquely influenced by her scholarship in arts-based practices. She holds an MA in Arts Education, where her thesis explored the act of listening as a creative and dialogical encounter. She was a Research Assistant and Collaborator on two national research projects on the field of community-engaged arts funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She brings her passion for storytelling, multi-disciplinary ways of knowing, embodiment and an attention to symbolic meaning to her practices of dialogue facilitation and community engagement.

What is your role at the Centre for Dialogue?

I see my role at the Centre to be a listener and a connecter. I keep an ear open to the successes, challenges, questions, and innovations in dialogue and engagement emerging both within the Centre’s team and the broader field of practitioners. I also listen to the wider movements in society around the way we engage with our democracy and one another. While I don’t have all the answers to questions about dialogue and engagement, I seek to connect people with sources of inspiration or wisdom that come across my desk. I seek to make a platform for others’ voices, develop deeper inquiries into key challenges, and join others in questioning norms and structures in order to dream new possibilities.

What does dialogue mean to you?

My favourite dialogue quote is William Isaac’s “dialogue is a conversation with a center, not sides.” Dialogue invites us into a different way of being in communication with each other, or even the world around us. We are called to let go of certainties and assumptions, be curious, listen deeply and speak from our hearts. We are called to prioritize respect and relationship over truth or personal gain. We may not always come out with answers, but we will have a better understanding of our questions and shared humanity.

What is a common assumption you'd like to de-mistify?

Listening, a central practice in dialogue, is all too often seen as a passive act of receiving information (and primarily through our ears!). However, listening is a process that involves all of our senses, as well as our mind and heart, as we actively connect what we perceive to our own ideas, feelings, and memories. While we learn a lot through listening, when we are listening we are in a state of asking, of not knowing. And the listening doesn’t need to finish, long after the conversation ends. We can continue to revisit what we heard, make new meanings, ask more questions. In this way, listening can become a way of being in the world, that is creative, dialogical and transformative.

Highlights and Achievements