Community Conversations Series
Storytelling and art-based approaches to leadership provide a unique opportunity for youth to tap into their own cultural pride and resilience while being agents of positive change in their cultural communities. The following Stories Matter series, Conversation Boot Camp, Community Conversations, and Visual Thinking Strategies, addresses the cultural needs of historically underrepresented communities.
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) - A researched technique currently used at the Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State. It is a facilitated discussion where participants are asked a series of questions that guide them through viewing art. In this way, multiple interpretations are shared and analyzed by the group. Participants will be trained to facilitate these discussions. We are working to integrate this activity with Community Conversations as a way to get participants sharing and listening to differing perspectives.
Conversation Boot Camp - An interactive experience that teaches participants skills and concepts that enable Community Conversations. These are generally 4 hours and cover topics such as empathy, active listening, and communication styles. These happened in-person before COVID-19, and we are currently adapting them for virtual use.
Online ICDD Facilitator Training - We have our facilitators start by experiencing a community conversation if they have not already. Next, facilitators are given the materials they will use to facilitate and time to become comfortable with them. Lastly, facilitators participate in practice by working in groups with other trainees, taking turns serving as the facilitator.
Community Conversations - These are the events where we invite a community or group to come together in small groups to discuss and deliberate a difficult topic. Our trained facilitators use issue guides from the National Issues Forum and have done topics such as mass shootings, mental illness, and bullying. There are plenty more issue guides available that can be viewed at https://www.nifi.org/es/issue-guides/issue-guides
All-day Leadership Summit - The Leadership Summit is a customizable event that is tailored to the hosting organization’s needs. Any part of the curriculum can be included (Visual Thinking Strategies, Conversation Bootcamp, Facilitator Training, and/or a Community Conversation. These events are usually interspersed with fun activities to keep youth engaged and entertained.