Our first practical assignment is to get some people together to talk about an assertion or a question. I’ve been thinking about the ins and outs. Stressing about how to achieve it (I’m finding it very hard to ask people to give up time for me – obviously something I need to work on). Asking myself lots of questions…

  • Choose people who you think may agree or disagree? or people at random, eg they came together for another reason? For example ask someone else to invite a couple of friends for coffee and art. Choose people at all, or maybe ask people to self select based on the assertion? Or to volunteer not knowing what they’ll be talking about?
  • If it’s not recorded, the conversation is filtered through your own perceptions and recollections? or could everyone reflect and remember? If fully engaged in the conversation, your understanding of it will be different than if you are an observer, you are more vulnerable as a participant, the work could be more authentic – or less artful? Choreographer or dancer again.
  • Ethical implications? Iissues of privacy, especially on an island where everyone knows each other. people need to be aware of the context. This is also likely to affect the conversation, which is interesting; self consciousness, exaggeration of what might ordinarily be experienced, reticence? Should my reflection afterwards be public/private?
  • Setting up a conversation to talk about a specific issue – this could be a debating society or a business meeting, or a media interview, or a medical consultation or a book group – so what might make it art? Because it’s intended to be? Or is all conversation art? If the conversation goes off topic, does it matter? Am I reflecting on the content of the conversation or the conversation/social experience as an artefact. Both?
  • The conversation could be seen as an element in a larger process of participation, or as an end in itself. Even if it’s an end in itself, it could be open to leading somewhere else.
  • When people aren’t talkers, how can their stories be heard?


Some possible assertions to talk about, what difference does it make whether they are framed as assertions or questions?

  • everyone is creative even if they don’t think they are
  • going shopping on the bus is good because you meet people and support the bus service
  • if you can buy something locally you should, even if it costs more
  • same-sex marriage is a cause for celebration
  • offcomers bring unwelcome change to an island community

In the end I’ve asked a selection of people (my Facebook friends on Tiree) to self select, knowing it’s an exercise, but not knowing what the subject might be (unless you read this!).

conversation piece

One thought on “conversation piece

  • September 13, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Well, I think I’ve decided on what we’ll talk about. It’s related to the statement about being creative, but focused more on the local context. I havered about passing it round ahead of time but I think I’ll just spring it on everyone! So that’s all I’ll say for now 🙂

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