Conversations are at the heart of relationships, which are at the heart of communities. I believe that a conversational culture marks out healthy, vibrant communities. Squishtalks designs conversation-based interventions that enhance our social capital, build awareness and rapport and contributes to the wellbeing of our communities and the people within them.
Today’s social fabric is fraying, however, and the threads weaving communities together are increasingly tangled or severed. We yearn for the bonds of mutual connection and of understanding, yet our communal lives as experienced in civic organizations, social groups and neighborhoods are increasingly fractured and fragmented.
Conversation is a means by which the social capital inherent within a community and between communities may be nurtured and amplified. Robert Putnam, in Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community colorfully distinguishes between two dimensions of social capital: bonding and bridging, where the former
“constitutes a kind of sociological superglue, whereas bridging social capital provides a sociological WD-40.”
Squishtalks has participated in community dialog opportunities. These include, for example, the following projects:
a couple of 830 mile long conversations was a long hello to Nebraska. I adventured for four weeks in an RV along the side roads and among the small towns of the state to talk with Nebraskans about their lives, communities and stories.
A series of neighborhood conversation supper evenings in north Omaha as part of Habitat for Humanity and Watie White’s all that ever was, always is art installation project.
Community dialog regarding the nature of the immigrant experience, based around the Justice for our Neighbors New Nebraskans mural project.
In collaboration with Film Streams, group conversation salons informed by cinematic and artistic representation of topics of race, gender, mental health, and homelessness.
The use of conversation by The Kent Bellows Studio high school art students as part of their artistic practice, appreciation and development