Conversation Project Leaders Wanted

New leader applications are due November 7.

Kim Oanh Nguyen

Oregon Humanities is looking for people who want to facilitate conversations to get people talking, listening, and connecting to one another.

Read the full position description below, then submit an application online for each topic you wish to propose. The deadline to apply is November 7, 2019.

Click here for the application.

Mikaela Schey and Louisa Mariki hosted a webinar on October 9, 2019, about the Conversation Project, the application process, and the experience for facilitators. Watch the webinar here or view the slide deck.

What is the Conversation Project?

The Conversation Project is a statewide program that brings people together to talk about their beliefs and experiences around important and timely topics. It works like this: Organizations apply to host a program on a topic from our Conversation Project catalog and receive resources to support each stage of the program. An Oregon Humanities facilitator, also known as a Conversation Project leader, facilitates a ninety-minute conversation in the organization's community that gets participants talking with each other as a way to reflect on and learn about a given topic.

Conversation Project leaders work closely with Oregon Humanities on program design and take part in a one-day training in Central Oregon on April 10, 2020. Leaders can anticipate facilitating one to four conversations per year. Although they are not required to accommodate every request, leaders should be willing to travel throughout Oregon’s thirty-six counties year-round. Leaders receive an honorarium and money toward travel costs for the one-day training and each conversation they facilitate depending on distance travelled. Leaders are also invited to take part in professional development opportunities, which could include additional training or participating in other Conversation Project discussions. Programs accepted during this application period will be included in the upcoming catalog from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2022

What are we looking for in a Conversation Project leader and topic?

We are looking for people to design and lead a conversation that:

  • focuses on/around an important and timely topic; 
  • asks participants to reflect on and talk about their beliefs, assumptions and experiences; 
  • connects what’s being talked about to participants’ lives and communities; and
  • shares our core values, which include equity and justice. 

Experience facilitating conversations is not required, but a strong desire to learn and get people talking with one another about a specific topic is. The Conversation Project is a statewide program and Conversation Project leaders may travel throughout Oregon to lead their conversations. We encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups and especially from people who live in/are from rural areas and people who speak Spanish.

What are good Conversation Project topics and programs?

Conversation Project leaders propose their own program topic (or topics; you may submit as many proposals as you like). As part of your application process, we’ll ask you to select a general topic and questions that get people exploring that topic, but we don’t expect you to come to us with a fully formed program. We’ll work with you on developing your program as part of the process of becoming a Conversation Project leader. 

We are looking for people to develop a program that focuses on current issues in our communities with an equity and justice lens. We want facilitators to design questions and activities that get participants reflecting on and talking about their beliefs, assumptions, and experiences and leave thinking a little differently about themselves, the people in the room, or their relationship to the topic. Each program and facilitator’s approach to those goals is different. We invite experiential, interactive formats that incorporate movement, collaboration, talking, and small group activities.

How to apply

To apply, please complete our online application by November 7, 2019. If you would like to propose more than one question or topic, please submit a separate application for each. If you are proposing a topic to lead with another facilitator, please fill out one form and include answers from each of you.

After an initial application review, we will select candidates for virtual or in-person (in Portland) interviews, which will be held in January 2020. Individuals selected to be Conversation Project leaders are required to attend a training in Central Oregon on April 10, 2020, for which Oregon Humanities will offer an honorarium and money toward travel costs.

The best way to learn about the Conversation Project is to participate in one or more. We encourage you to visit our online calendar to see if there are events scheduled near you. If you have questions about Conversation Project or the application process, please contact Program Coordinator Mikaela Schey at (503) 241-0543, ext.110, or email

Current information about honoraria and travel stipends and reimbursements

In the past, Conversation Project leaders received $100 for attending the one-day training, a meal stipend, and reimbursement for travel. Current Conversation Project leaders receive $275 per approved conversation, a meal stipend, and the federal mileage rate or reimbursement alternative travel (rental car, ride-share, bus). We ask host organizations to cover lodging if Conversation Project leaders are traveling over one-hundred miles one-way.


1 comments have been posted.

This looks very interesting. Conversations with people just happen with me. I love talking with people. They love sharing. The traveling is a barrier. Let me know if you want someone centered in Southern Douglas County and passionate about community. Please contact me if you have any flexibility for conversations.

Joanne Gordon | October 2019 | Days Creek, OR

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