A Good Question at New Diorama/Camden People’s Theatre for Fun Palaces 2015

On Sunday 4th October we took part in the Fun Palaces weekend with our friends over at Camden People’s Theatre and New Diorama Theatre, where we asked people to ask good questions about all things politics. Our Associate Rhiannon Armstrong facilitated the event and here’s her review of how it all went.

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You know when it feels like everyone is just waiting for a chance to say what they think, and no one is really listening to what anyone else is saying?

That.

You know when you don’t think anyone understands your point of view, that no one is listening to you, no matter how many times you repeat yourself?

That.

You know when you say something that you know the person you’re talking to probably won’t agree with, or will get upset by, or that it’s a bit contentious or it contradicts their own experience, and their response is to say “tell me more”?

On Sunday 4th October people all over the country had a huge number of things to choose from as part of the Fun Palaces project. Adventures, parties, games…one group of people chose to come to the New Diorama café to attempt something quite difficult:

We decided to try to have a conversation about politics that didn’t make us want to tear our own (or other peoples’) hair out.

A Good Question is a mechanism: we share the events that have made us into the political beings that we are today, and through conversation that attempts to examine the question “what makes a good question?” we explore, delve, celebrate difference and often find ourselves asking “tell me more”.

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Natalie and I brought an idea, a gathering and a mechanism to the New Diorama: what made the conversation work was people’s commitment to relate to one another with generosity and transparency.

Some highlights:

  • a radical empathy version of speed dating
  • a “what if” scenario involving 10 million pounds and unlimited power
  • a spotlight on everyone’s childhoods

Some hopes:

“it was great to try on different perspectives and views”

“I would really like to hear from more conservatives, to have these conversations with people who maybe wouldn’t choose to come to a day like today”

“I feel equipped to start conversations with other people in my life now (who might not agree with me) and to ask questions in a way that is not all about me.”

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