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Good Conversation

Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards.
     - Theodore Zeldin

For as long as we've lived in human community, conversation has been at the heart of how we interact with one another. It's the natural way for people to think together and learn from each other. In conversation we share ideas and feelings, co-create knowledge and meaning, nurture webs of relationship, and imagine our future.

As our friends at The World Café have pointed out, much innovation and change can be traced back to people conversing informally in living rooms, cafés, kitchens and church halls. Conversations in cafés and salons spawned the French Revolution, and the American civil rights movement was born through conversations in people's homes and churches.

Closer to home, the 2010 Vision for People With Disabilities grew out of informal conversations between folks in the disability community and other civic leaders in British Columbia. A conversation at Philia's leadership conference in Toronto led Bonnie Sherr Klein to develop a new film (upcoming) about Canadian artists with disabilities. All over the world today, people are getting together in conversation cafés, salons and dialogue groups to explore questions and issues that matter to them.

At Philia we believe passionately in conversation. That's why we call ourselves the Philia Dialogue. We want to inspire good conversation about the things that matter to us: belonging, meaning, inclusion, community, and all the other aspects and dimensions of caring citizenship. We believe dialogue is a form of knowledge in and of itself - as William Isaacs puts it, "a living experience of inquiry" that creates the seeds of a new kind of interaction.

In this section you'll find everything pertaining to Good Conversation: an introduction to dialogue, links to dialogue resources, stories relating to conversation, and accounts of Philia dialogues that have taken place. We invite you to join the conversation, and weigh in with your ideas, questions, comments and stories.

Date Author Subject Add Your Comment
Sep 26, 2021 by Pat on-line dialogue group link
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What if the future is born in webs of human conversation? Check out The World Café to learn about one of our favourite methods for generating good conversation.

"When you put strangers, caffeine and ideas in the same room, brilliant things can happen," say the originators of Conversation Café. Learn about this increasingly popular activity by clicking here.
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