Humans create communities for so many reasons: safety, belonging, shared interests and values, and as an extension of identity. The fiber arts community reflects many of those ideals. Sharing creative ideas, designs, and skills can be energizing for crafters and artists of all ages and walks of life. The fiber arts community, much like society as a whole, has not been immune to political and racial tensions. Efforts to promote more equitable representation of all subgroups within the community have been challenging. At times, there have been feelings of being unwelcome on all sides. This conversation offers an opportunity to listen to each other and appreciate the shared interests that created this community. By recognizing and allowing our differences, we can find ways to remain connected and supportive of each other regardless of personal background.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Crafting Understanding (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What drew you to the crafting community? What crafts do you enjoy, and how did you first learn about them?
- How do you connect to other crafters? What benefits have you experienced from these connections?
- What differences have you noticed within the crafting community? How has it changed over the years? How have you embraced, or felt challenged, by those changes?
- What do belonging and exclusion look and feel like? How have you seen this within the crafting community?
- What are your hopes and concerns for the crafting community moving forward?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?