Let's Talk it Out | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Let's Talk it Out 

The Conversation Project works to build bridges with words

If there's one thing people can agree on, it's that the 2016 election revealed a divided nation. With little to no sign of closing anytime soon, many are looking for a way to bridge the chasm that exists between social and political circles. In partnership with local nonprofits and community groups, Oregon Humanities is working to do just that through a method of communication so basic it is often taken for granted: conversation.

The Conversation Project was built around the belief that coming together to talk about important issues and ideas—across different backgrounds and beliefs—is a positive step toward more just and welcoming communities. The program runs year-round and offers a variety of facilitated conversations on topics such as homelessness, immigration and privilege— all free to the public.

According to Annie Kaffen, Oregon Humanities program and special initiatives manager, the program launched in 2009 and has since offered 25 to 30 different programs each year. "We try to be intentional about including topics and ideas in that are going to be relevant across the state, always recognizing that Oregon is not one size fits all." she says. "Oregon is unique both in the spaciousness of its landscape and vastness in its diversity of perspectives."

Oregon Humanities is currently seeking topic proposals from new conversation leaders for the 2017-2018 season, which begins this fall. Kaffen says, "In a normal applications window, Organ Humanities receives around 40 applications for conversations from across the state. Since the election—in a given application window—we've had requests for conversations pushing 100." She sees the dramatic uptick in requests as a sign people feel that more is at stake and are yearning for opportunities to talk.

Central Oregon is currently home to two conversation leaders: Kerani Mitchell and Jason Graham. Mitchell serves on the Bend International School Board of Directors and facilitates the conversation, "Where Are You From? Exploring What Makes Us Oregonians," scheduled to take place in a variety of locations, including the High Desert Museum on March 21. Graham, an Oregon-based artist and educator, will facilitate the program, "What We Risk: Creativity, Vulnerability and Art," throughout the state as well.

Portland-based peace worker, Manuel Padilla, will bring "The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon" to Bend as part of the COCC Foundation's Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program's 2017 Season of Nonviolence, on March 8. Kaffen emphasizes that the goal of The Conversation Project is not to change minds or push an agenda. She says, "It is intended to be an exploratory opportunity to come together face to face and hear what our neighbors think and why they think it."

Information on the conversations being offered in Central Oregon and throughout the state can be found on Oregon Humanities' website calendar.

Oregon Humanities Conversation Project


"The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon"

March 8, 6:30pm Central Oregon Community College, 2600 NW College Way, Bend


"Where Are You From? Exploring What Makes Us Oregonians"

March 21, 6pm

High Desert Museum, 59800 S. Hwy 97, Bend


Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
19th Annual BendFilm Festival

19th Annual BendFilm Festival - Bend

Thu., Oct. 6, 12 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Culture Features

  • The Cult of Deb

    • Sep 28, 2022
    Vigil planned for Deb Auchery, founder of Cult of Tuck More »
  • Growing Places

    • Sep 21, 2022
    John Kish launches The Greenhouse Cabaret with 'Hedwig' More »
  • Writing Roundup

    • Sep 14, 2022
    Fall is nearly here. Cozy up with these events centered around writers and writing. More »
  • More »

More by Annette Benedetti

  • Thifty Threads

    Thifty Threads

    Heading back to school without breaking the bank
    • Aug 24, 2022
  • World's Biggest Marble Hunt

    World's Biggest Marble Hunt

    Local artist joins record-breaking treasure hunt
    • Jul 13, 2022
  • Summer Safety

    Summer Safety

    Parenting tips for summer fun, in and around the water
    • May 25, 2022
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation