Conversare – for an adventure in being transformed through meeting new people

February 26, 2017 |  by  |  Uncategorized

For next Conversare in the Market events in March and April see  here.

And for a brief reminder of the purpose of Conversare see here.


To readers all around our little planet, 3rd from the sun (smile)

This post is essentially about the practicalities of coming along to participate in, together with associated benefits arising from, a Conversare (pronounced conversari) event. Named from the Latin con versare – to turn or to dance together. There are also what may be called ‘philosophical musings’ which you could also find of value.  For together they may be seen as counter to the language and feelings of fear which abound nowadays and contribute to keeping us apart.  See below *

Have you ever heard of an opportunity to attend a social event in which the main purpose is to connect well with people you don’t know?  In which rather than there being a topic to consider or issue to resolve, the key activity is participants engaging face to face with each other, about each other.

From which showing up and participating can help you to see and experience life differently.

There are diverse possibilities why you may wish to change how you are living. Among this are to ‘open up’ your life, to enjoy good talk and enlivening connecting  or to experience a different, yet wholesome way of being together.

Reports of previous participants often indicate that doing this was ’illuminating, enjoyable and satisfying’.  Frequently too, ‘This changed me and the ways I connect with others and the world’.

It goes without saying – but I will say it anyway! – that if you don’t feel that Conversare is a good fit for you, perhaps as you consider your self to be an individual, a loner, there is something that you can do to support this enterprise.

This is to recommend to others in your orbit who you intuit may wish to add sparkle to their lives that this one way of doing this.

For apart from the experiencing during an event, if you happen to meet again any of the people also present you will have instant rapport.

And while the prospect of engaging with people you have not met before may seem a little scary this is not the experience of the risk-taking spirits who have come along!

The idea of ‘an adventure in connecting well with new people’ being at the core of what Conversare is emerged loud and clear in the ‘wrap’ at the end of the recent lively event at the Adelaide  Central Market . (Which was the first of the new year and of the series which will take place on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month).

This was expressed by quite a few of the participants. One of these people had noticed the event on the Eventbrite page on ‘What’s on in Adelaide’ and was attracted to come along by this prospect.  Another, who lives mainly in Thailand, saw this as an opportunity to meet local people.  Among the others, some had come back for more!

Overview of what happens in a Conversare event and what participating in one could mean for you

In this novel kind of social gatherings the main activity is to engage in conversation with one other person – a stranger – over a fine meal. With ‘opening questions’ such as ‘Who are you and what has attracted you to be here’? Everybody present does this, everyone is a full participant.

To gain a sense of being in a Conversare event:

The conveners of an international conference of facilitators in Manila, Philippines, in November 2016,’enchanted’ (my term!) by what was happening in the Adelaide Central Market, invited me to host a Conversare style dinner on the opening night. Here is a lively podcast about this.

Which may be seen to be coupled with this statement of a participant in an event in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia, who ‘got this’ from her experience:

“Converare is simple and deep, a spiritual adventure.”
Firti Rasmita

Do these make you feel ‘there’s something worth taking note of’ now gathering momentum in Adelaide, way ‘downunder’? <smile>

To continue –  Apart from the ‘in depth’ conversation with your dinner partner, there is ample opportunity to connect with others too.

Events are held in public places and anybody who wishes to come along is welcome.

A host introduces the process by expressing several principles:

.  Whoever comes are the right people
.  Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
.  We are here to give rather than get.
.  By your presence you will make a difference to the experience of all others here.
.  The design of Conversare events is to provide participants with the opportunity to speak openly and deeply listen to a wide variety of people in life.

The wording of this last one ’emerged’ from a recent email from the Newfield Group in the US.  Julio Ollala, the founder, and I had enjoyed a lively connection about twenty years ago.

On the premise that “When we are able to engage in dynamic dialogues that provides new perspectives to show up, we can’t help but see and experience life differently. And when we have that opportunity in an environment of respect, care, and dignity, we recognize that we are part of something larger and more meaningful than we ever could have imagined.”

I wonder if you also feel that operative words were ‘be changed through engaging openly and deeply through conversing with someone you don’t know’?

Are there any other contexts that you know of in which this kind of opportunity is available?

To add:

These words also underpin a ‘variation’ of the Conversare format which is a feature of the Adelaide Fringe. In which engagement of participants IS the entertainment! See here.

* As expressed most beautifully by the much admired and loved Australian cartoonist,  Michael Leunig,  as a way to ‘be’ :

There are only two feelings. Love and fear.
There are only two languages. Love and fear.
There are only two activities. Love and fear.
There are only two motives, two procedures,
two frameworks, two results. Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Looking forward


Al (formerly known as Alan) Stewart, PhD
Social artist
Facilitator of conversations that matter and participatory fun
Senior Fulbright Scholar
Blog: Conversare
Member: National Trouble Makers Union

 Book: Time to converse – at the heart of human warmth



Whenever we treat each other well good things happen. 







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