Public conversation methodology
Can you imagine a world without conversations? We can't! Even though sometimes conversations can seem like a routine part of everyday life, they are truly one of our most powerful tools. It is through conversations that we build connections, share our experiences, and learn from one another.
The public conversations organized by the University of the Streets Café are slightly more structured than those you might share with your family, co-workers or friends, but the underlying idea is the same: A group of interested and open-minded people coming together to talk.
On a roughly weekly basis during the Fall and Winter semester, we meet in cafés and community spaces around Montreal. Our events, which are always two hours in length, are organized around a question that encourages us to dig into a particular theme, issue or current event. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants. Whether they share a personal experience, a researched opinion, or a half-formed thought – or even if they prefer to simply listen – it’s the people in the room who really bring these participatory events to life. Together, we engage with complex topics and we never know exactly where things will go or what we might learn. No matter what, an enlightening and evocative public conversation is sure to ensue!