Conversare – the evolving story. For September 2015

October 31, 2015 |  by  |  Uncategorized

Which is about to happen in at least three two ways, likely closely related.

The first, in time, is that what has been in the pipeline for a few months and is about to be confirmed as ‘ready to go’ in early November 2015. I refer to events being staged in the Adelaide Central Market after trading hours on a weekday night.

This is happening with the strong support of the Board, who appreciate that this innovative way of socialising makes for new kinds of experience on their premises. These are opportunities for people of different backgrounds and ages to come together to engage in conversation in a warm and inviting atmosphere over a meal.

What could this mean for new perceptions among the local populace of what the Market is? Could it be that people come to see a new side of what has been a longstanding – well over a hundred years – treasured component of the lives of countless Adelaidians?

As you may suspect there is substantial background to this particular emerging. A look at any sample of the posts on this blog, starting in 2009, will reveal elements of this.

Such a search may also give you a sense that an underpinning of Conversare is my solid experience as a facilitator of Open Space Technology (since 1994) and of the World Café (since 1998). I am well versed in their respective principles and practices.

For example, the host of a Conversare event makes clear to all participants that they are one of the right people to be present and that their role is to give rather than get.

Another lovely ingredient in the mix of Conversare in the Market is that two skilled event managers have joined to take over this element of the enterprise. One is a well respected professional in this field. The other is a young woman from Beijing who has a Masters of Business Administration degree and also a qualification in Event Management from one of the universities in Adelaide.

The second component of the evolving story is that universities here are showing interest in the prospect  of their students being able to participate in Conversare style activities.

Learning of – and intuiting – this we have initiated contact with student organisations to bring the forthcoming events in the Market to their attention. We also intend to indicate to student services offices in all local universities that we would be happy to make our services available for functions such as orientation for incoming students.

This initiative is based on the notion that a major role of the university is to be a place in which to learn to be competent social beings: to be able to talk, to listen and learn from those who are different. For a university is not just having highly trained professors, rigorous examinations and students being taught lots of facts. And it’s not just about studying. This comes easily for those have done well in the school system.

What does not come readily to many students when they enter the less formal context of the university – particularly in a new country – than what they experienced at school is creating new friends out of strangers. In fact this can be very scary to students.

This ‘reaching out’ above has been inspired by diverse factors. Among these is that Conversare is likely to feature in a large conference being held in Manila in the Philippines next year. The convener wrote to say:

“All the best on the Adelaide Central Market…its really a grand idea to be able to draw people to a conversation specially when its gone in the market, nothing can beat that. Let me know how it goes, would Conversare work in a university setting? I’m asking as our center is within the university grounds. Or coffee shops…etc…I’m excited.”

Are you excited too by what you see as happening way ‘downunder’ and  what it could portend for similar developments in your part of our little planet, 3rd from the sun?

Looking forward

Alan Stewart, PhD






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