People across Scotland are being encouraged to take time out to make Saturday, 11 May A Day of Conversation.
There are also a host of associated events and activities taking place throughout May as part of the wider 2019 A Year of Conversation initiative.
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (3 to 26 May) has a series of events planned (see below) and is emphasising the value of conversation to health and wellbeing.
Voluntary Arts Scotland is also involved through its Get Creative festival (11 to 19 May) which includes Food For Thought, A Conversation Around Food on the opening day.
Other events on 11 May range from a Jolly Roger’s Tea Party to gatherings of writers (see www.ayearofconversation.com/whats-on).
A special toolkit has been created full of suggestions – we’ve listed a few at the bottom of this release – for people wanting to arrange their own activity.
The 2019 A Year Of Conversation project celebrates the positive power of conversation, to open minds and counter growing social polarisation.
Tom Pow, Creative Director, said: “The Day of Conversation is a great chance to take part in an organised event, or to set up something of your own – we’ve got all sorts of ideas. It can be as simple as arranging to meet friends for coffee and suggesting they each bring someone new.
“Or you could seize the moment and use 11 May as a chance to finally contact an old friend you have fallen out of touch with, or make that difficult call you have been putting off for so long.
“Conversation is an incredible thing; it can start friendships, change feelings, transform perspectives and even end conflict. In a world where we are becoming so tribal and polarised we need it more than ever.”
Rob Dickie, Manager, Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, added: “Conversation is a vital part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, especially this year as we are celebrating all the ways in which we stay connected.
“Talking to people is such an important thing to do for our mental health, which is why conversation has always been at the heart of our events, from post-screening discussions during our film programme to community gatherings, artists’ talks and afternoon teas taking place in communities across Scotland.
“We hope you will join in with A Day of Conversation on Saturday 11 May, whether you are taking time to talk about your mental health or simply connecting with others in your community.”
Food For Thought is being run in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library. It will be an afternoon of good food and good conversation – an opportunity to connect with others through food, and to share memories, recipes and delicacies from childhood.
A few ideas for things to do on the Day of Conversation:
- See a film (play, concert, sporting occasion) with friends. Discuss your expectations before you go. Have a conversation afterwards about whether they were met.
- Invite friends for a meal. In their water/wine glass leave a folded piece of paper with something different written on each piece that you think will get them talking.
- In your group of friends or within your organisation, start THE conversation you should have but always avoid. Bring the elephant into the room.
- Invite people round, telling them to bring something that is important in their lives. They each tell the story of the object.
- Take a companion on a “pilgrimage” to a place you used to go when you were young. Or ask friends to describe a pilgrimage they would like to make – include all the five senses.
- Get children to take older people on a “play walk” and older people to take children on a “memory walk”. It could be in a park or country lane, or at a museum or gallery.
- Leave your mobile at home.
Download the toolkit from https://www.ayearofconversation.com/storage/ZRVGpqi9lBWbJNeA27hD3Avsa6z6CqQJxLvgCoLb.pdf.
Day of Conversation events can be listed on the Get Creative website www.getcreativeuk.com – and Voluntary Arts Scotland will help get the word out. Or email Kelly Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Year of Conversation is working with many organisations including the National Library of Scotland, Scottish Book Trust, The Stove, Voluntary Arts Scotland, Highlight Arts, The Lyceum Theatre, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, The Scottish Poetry Library, The Playwrights’ Studio, Literary Alliance Scotland, Edinburgh International Books Festival, Wigtown Festival Company, StAnza, DG Unlimited and the University of Glasgow.