The name Conversare (pronounced conversari) comes from the Latin: to turn or to dance together. Conversare events are social gatherings in public places in which participants converse – talk well to each other. There is a host who co-creates with those present an ambiance in which everyone feels welcome, included and ready to participate in face to face conversation.
The purpose is to have safe, friendly contexts in which all who come – whatever your background – quickly feel welcome and at ease. With a setting which is gentle and accepting, by the end your fellow participants don't feel like strangers at all.
A central feature is engaging, in pairs, in one to one conversation with a stranger. Everyone in the room does the same; everybody participates fully. Not knowing anything about this person means having to be aware of how to question, listen and contribute appropriately. Doing this often leads to the finding that, no matter who the person is, the pair have much in common even though their personal histories may be quite different.
And so here is an opportunity to meet others who have different life experiences, lifestyles and fascinating stories to share; people who know something you don't know. There can be totally unexpected outcomes – learnings and insights! – from doing this.
Developed firstly in Hong Kong these new kind of social gatherings are now being held regularly in the Adelaide Central Market after trading hours on weekday nights.
These events can be held in diverse places such as cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, community centers … Being public places means that anybody is welcome to participate. And it is not necessary to know any of the people present before coming to join in.
In our modern, complex, and often quite fragmented lives, there is little opportunity to have satisfying conversations other than with people we already know. And many find it very difficult to meet new people in ways which may lead to satisfying friendships.
The events are for people who yearn to be heard and to listen to stories of lived experience which they could not have imagined. They bring attention to people that there are now places in which these happen
They are similar to Theodore Zeldin's Conversation Dinners but without the conversation menu. You can learn more about them here.
Alan Stewart will be in the UK in July. So what better opportunity to hold one in London for my Knowledge Community. Alan will be hosting the evening and If you love the idea as much as I do then come along on the 19th July and enjoy the conversation. It may well be the first of many such Conversare Cafés in London :-)
And if London is a tad too far for you - why not get in touch with Alan and talk about running one yourself. Or take part in one of his events in Adelaide if that is any closer for you :-)