Poet Tom Pow (Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography)
Poet Tom Pow (Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography)

It’s good to talk for a Scottish day of conversation

Voluntary Arts Scotland and A Year of Conversation 2019 have teamed up to call on the country to take time out and talk.

Scotland will be getting to know itself better on 11 May when groups across the country take part in A Day of Conversation.

The initiative is part of A Year of Conversation 2019,which has been set up to celebrate the positive power of conversation, to open our minds and to counter growing social polarisation.

Among those involved is Voluntary Arts Scotland, which is encouraging creative groups everywhere to have their own Day of Conversation activities to help kick off its annual Get Creative Festival (11-19 May).

Other organisations have also signed up and Tom Pow, creative director of A Year of Conversation 2019, would love to see as many people as possible get talking – independently or as part of the Voluntary Arts Scotland festival.

Tom said: ‘Although a Year of Conversation has events throughout the year celebrating conversation, there’s a particular excitement about having a concentrated focus on one day – a Saturday.

‘Voluntary Arts Scotland and ourselves are hoping that many individuals and organisations will see an opportunity to do something different and to know that they are part of a national expression of everything that conversation means – engagement, openness, creativity.’

One event Voluntary Arts Scotland is organising, and which shows the range of imaginative possibilities, is Food For Thought, A Conversation Around Food.

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.

Poet Tom Pow (Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography)

Voluntary Arts Scotland has suggested that creative groups can set up Day of Conversation events such as:

  • A coffee morning to discuss an issue at the heart of their regular activity.
  • A gathering where each person brings an object that means something to them – then share stories about it.
  • Chatting over food to discuss something of local interest.
  • Having a conversation with another local or similar group and learn from each other.
  • Going on an inter-generational walk, where children take older people on a “play walk” and older people take children on a ‘memory walk’.
  • Or simply doing what they usually do (rehearse, plan, create) but building in a conversation. The possibilities are endless.

Jemma Neville, director of Voluntary Arts Scotland, said: ‘The word “conversation” means to turn around and exchange ideas or news. It’s about hospitality and is a creative act in and of itself.

‘This Get Creative festival, strike up a conversation with someone new and allow yourself to be surprised by what you learn about yourself.’

A Year of Conversation will involve events throughout 2019.Some will be about conversation in our personal relationships, others will involved wider social, health and political issues. Some involve scientists and academics, others focus on artists, musicians, writers and storytellers.

A Year of Conversation 2019 is working with a wide range of organisations in the wider cultural world 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.

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 kelly@vascotland.org.uk.