The Conversation Project

Maria Rodriguez

What Is the Conversation Project?

The Conversation Project brings people together to talk about their beliefs and experiences around timely and important issues and ideas.

It works like this: An organization applies to host a community conversation from our catalog and receives resources from Oregon Humanities to support each stage of the event. An Oregon Humanities facilitator leads a ninety-minute conversation that invites participants to engage with a particular topic and talk about it together. By creating intentional spaces for conversation, people and groups explore why they think what they do, share stories with one another that build trust, and make stronger connections and commitments to the issues that affect their communities.

We are partnering with organizations that are interested in hosting virtual and in-person community conversations between now and August 31, 2022. All conversations are available virtually, and our Conversation Project catalog indicates which conversations are conditionally available in person.

In-person conversations: If you apply to host a program that’s available in person, we will ask you to let us know how your event will comply with all local, state, and federal public health guidelines. Additionally, if a conversation facilitator travels more than one hundred miles one way, host organizations must offer to provide one night of commercial lodging at the host’s expense. Please take into account whether you are paying for lodging and adjust the host fee as you see fit—pay less if you need to. Oregon Humanities has limited funds available to cover lodging in cases where the cost of lodging poses a barrier for a host organization. Please check our Conversation Project catalog to see where the conversation facilitator will be traveling from.

Learn more about how to host a Conversation Project event below and complete the host application when you’ve decided which conversation (or conversations) you want to bring to your community.

Questions? Contact Rachel Bernstein at r.bernstein@oregonhumanities.org

 

How to Host a Conversation Project

We are excited that you are interested in hosting a community conversation. Below you’ll find information about what it looks like to partner with us to host a Conversation Project. 

  • Apply

    • Take a look at our catalog. You can apply to host up to three events at a time. On the application, indicate how much your organization can pay to host per event (between nothing and $600). Most organizations pay $50. The amount you can pay will not affect whether your application is approved. We’ll notify you of approval within two weeks.

      Apply Now

  • Connect with the Conversation Project leader 

    • Once you receive an approval email from us, contact the Conversation Project leader to schedule a date and time for the community conversation, then get back in touch with us to let us know the details. 

  • Setup and Outreach for Your Event 

    • Your organization is responsible for setup, outreach, and production of these conversations. Virtual conversations must be held on Zoom or a similar platform that allows people to see and talk with each other in large and small groups. Additionally, we ask that host organizations assist the Conversation Project leader with any technical logistics, including breakout rooms and screen sharing. You’ll receive resources and materials from us to support you in promoting your event. 

  • Host the Conversation

    • Someone from your organization is required to attend the conversation to welcome participants and talk about Oregon Humanities and the Conversation Project. If your conversation is virtual, we ask that someone from your organization support the Conversation Project leader with technical needs and make note of which registered participants showed up.

    Follow Up with Oregon Humanities

    • After the event, invite participants to complete the Oregon Humanities evaluation survey. Then share attendee names and email addresses with Oregon Humanities, complete a host evaluation, and pay your invoice.

 

Conversation Project Catalog

Scroll through to see the conversations on offer or click here to open the catalog in a new window.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kinds of organizations can apply?

    • All! Oregon Humanities partners with community organizations, small and large nonprofits, universities, community colleges, government agencies, corporations, and others around the state to host Conversation Project events.

  • How many people can participate in these community conversations?

    • Community conversations are best for groups of between seven and twenty-five. If you are opening the conversation to the general public (rather than convening a group of people where you know that date works for most), you can probably allow upward of fifty people to register, knowing that you can count on closer to twenty-five to actually attend the conversation.   

  • Who can participate in these conversations? 

    • You can host a Conversation Project program for the general public or for a particular group: people at your workplace, your place of worship, or a community you serve. 

  • Can I record this conversation? 

    • No. Our Conversation Project leaders create a space for participants to share their personal stories and experiences, and we want participants to be able to fully show up without feeling they should censor themselves. Recording can change interpersonal and group dynamics.

  • What if my organization doesn’t have a virtual platform to host a Conversation Project event? 

    • You can use ours! On the application, you can request temporary use of our Zoom account. 

  • What if I want to host an in-person conversation but the conversation is only available virtually?

    • We asked that all facilitators commit to facilitating their conversations virtually, and we left it up to them to let us know if and when they wanted to facilitate an in-person conversation. Please contact Rachel Bernstein at r.bernstein@oregonhumanities.org if you want to discuss a customized conversation.

  • What if I cannot afford to cover the cost of lodging for a Conversation Project leader who is traveling more than one hundred miles one way?

    • Oregon Humanities has limited funds available to cover lodging in cases where the cost of lodging poses a barrier for a host organization. Please take into account whether you are paying for lodging and adjust the host fee as you see fit—pay less if you need to. On the application you’ll have a chance to let us know that you want to request support to cover the cost, and we’ll contact you to discuss further.

  • Can I charge a fee?

    • No. We want these events to be free for your community. If you need to pay a smaller host fee, that’s OK. Please keep that in mind as you indicate how much your organization is able to pay per program on the application form.

  • I’m concerned about “Zoom bombing.” What should I do?

    • Only give registered participants the link to access your event by directing potential participants to a registration page to sign up for your event, instead of broadcasting the direct link to the event widely.

 

Questions? Contact Rachel Bernstein at r.bernstein@oregonhumanities.org

The Conversation Project is made possible thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Kinsman Foundation, NW Natural, and The Standard.

 

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