Connect over conversations that matter
9 September 2019
Wellington Conversations – Connect over conversations that matter
“Being neighbourly” is the topic of the first Wellington Conversation - a free event series, being piloted in September 2019. The facilitated monthly events initially focus on people living in the inner-city centre. In September, events will take place in Te Aro, Mt Victoria, Mt Cook, Oriental Bay, Aro Valley, Vogeltown/Mornington, Newtown, and Kilbirnie.
“The vision is to build better connected communities through conversations. Conversations are the foundations of our relationships.” says Tim Foote, Wellington Conversations project coordinator. “When we have good conversations with people who live near us, we’re building better connected, more resilient communities.”
Trained conversation facilitators host each event and enable everyone’s voices to be heard and respected. Facilitators participate in regular ideas, training and evaluation project sessions. If other people are interested in becoming a facilitator, further training sessions will be planned.
“There’s been an incredible response already from Wellington. In just over a month, we have a team of 60 volunteers to run the conversation events. People are saying that now is the right time for this project – that they want these kinds of events in their neighbourhoods.” says Tim.
Each event follows the same easy-to-follow format. In small groups, participants discuss a series of three discussion questions about the topic, with about 20 minutes for each question. The format encourages connections, as participants shift tables to sit with new people for each question round. Events last around 90 minutes.
The content of people’s conversations is theirs – it is not recorded in any way.. At the end of the event, participants are invited to share reflections on post-it notes. A photo of these will be shared on Wellington Conversations social media. As with all parts of the events, participation in this is optional.
The conversation topics change monthly and are selected by the project advisory group from participants and community suggestions. The topics are chosen because they are something everyone can connect to and cares about, and which is relevant to relationships between people who live in that neighbourhood.
People interested in attending can either just turn up at a venue or pre-register a seat. Half the seats for each event will be available to book in advance online at: www.wellingtonconversations.nz Most venues have mobility access, and the website includes accessibility information about each venue and all event information.
“There is no obligation to purchase anything, if the venue is a café, although coffee, tea and other refreshments will be available for purchase. Some people attending may wish to bring baking or snacks to share. All events are also alcohol free,” says Tim.
While the focus of the Wellington Conversations pilot project is on the inner city and some surrounding suburbs, people wishing to start up a new location, suggest a conversation topic, or become involved as a facilitator can do so on the website: www.wellingtonconversations.nz.
About the project
Wellington Conversations is a six-month pilot project. The project has been developed and delivered by Reframe Aotearoa and is funded by Wellington City Council. The project has been in development since mid-2018. The project is supported by an advisory group and sponsors including local businesses Five and Dime, Little Yellow Bird, The Big Picture, and Phantom Billstickers.
Participating cafés include Pōneke by Mojo, Deluxe Café, Preservatorium Café, and Flight Coffee The Hangar; and community spaces currently include the Mt Vic Hub, Aro Valley Community Centre, Vogelmorn Community Group, and Kilbirnie-Lyall Bay Community Centre.
More detailed information about Wellington Conversations – including upcoming events, FAQs, and opportunities to get involved – can be found on the website: www.wellingtonconversations.nz.