Holding space. Space for people across difference, beliefs, and backgrounds to have a conversation. That’s the simple premise behind a signature program of Oregon Humanities.
And at a time when our politics and people have never seemed so divided, the simple act of having a conversation (in-person) and being exposed to different ideas might just be what saves us.
Here’s How it Works
The Conversation Project is about inviting conversation within a group rather than imparting wisdom. People choose from one of more than forty topics and for $50, a trained facilitator leads a group in a reflective conversation where people balance contributing and listening.
According to Associate Director, Kathleen Holt, “The goal is not to change minds but open up perspectives outside of our own.” For them, the goal is to create a place to begin community building.
But Oregon Humanities’ commitment to nurturing stories and space for conversations doesn’t stop there. They also strive to provide opportunities for people to tell stories from - rather than about – communities through their This Land initiative, an online multimedia project that collects and connects stories by Oregon’s communities of color.
And one of their most admirable traits? They know when to get out of the way.
Oregon Humanities recognizes that sometimes the conversations and stories need to happen without them. By offering training and resources for communities, they are holding the door open for people to make their voice heard, asking how they can best build relationships with communities, and beginning an authentic process that starts with a simple invitation to have a conversation.
(Banner image and video courtesy of Oregon Humanities)