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Conversation Picnics

Project Overview

Open, informal conversations about HIA-related topics related to UK and global current affairs, set in public parks around London.

Identifying the Problem

After the daily eight hours of intensive lectures as part of the Humanity in Action Fellowship, Jasmine and Stine would spend their evenings in nearby parks or cafes, continuing conversations from earlier. They were inspired to continue this dialogue once the Fellowship concluded and they were back in London, but found that there was a lack of opportunities to talk about a wide variety of important issues as a group of non-experts who were simply sharing their personal thoughts, perspectives and experiences.  The Senior Fellows wanted to create a welcoming, informal space that would encourage people to come together to explore relevant, pressing topics in both practical and philosophical ways. They especially wanted to gain an audience that does not normally have the opportunity to talk about these issues in their daily lives.

Creating A Solution

Jasmine and Stine decided to hold pop-up discussions in public parks to encourage open conversations about important issues related to HIA themes. They want to give people a collective, informal space to develop their own opinions about these issues in a way that they may not be able to in their daily lives. They hope that this simple initiative will provoke long-lasting thoughts and connections that will influence participants’ perspectives of these global issues.

They will begin by identifying a number of provocative and timely HIA-related topics that people in London would be interested in discussing. Before hosting each event, they will research the topic in order to provide conversation starters or pose open-ended questions to facilitate group discussion. The event and topic will be announced each week through a Facebook page, and Jasmine and Stine will bring snacks to each conversation. Weekly conversations will be held throughout the summer.

Lessons Learned

While this project is still in its planning stage, Jasmine and Stine have already learned that it is important not to underestimate your authority to hold an event that involves group participation. This hesitation prevented them from starting the project sooner, as they believed they needed to conduct a tremendous amount of research on the topics and prepare to address them almost as experts. However, they know now that this was unnecessary. They encourage others to be confident in their ability to implement a project and lead discussions without being an expert on the issue.

Funding

No money was raised for this project. Jasmine and Stine are paying out-of-pocket for the minor expenses, such as a small whiteboard, a picnic blankets, copies of relevant articles (if needed), and snacks.

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Denmark Denmark 2014

Developed by:

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