Tipping the Conversation

Adam Gratton, Get Talking Volunteer, reflects on how Get Talking and tea helped conversation flow at a beautiful performance of As the World Tipped on a soggy Friday night 

tea room 2

Rain, Rain, Rain and still they came…after a month of Get Talking doing it’s thing in support of Appetite, the people of Stoke are seemingly in full unison of what we’re trying to achieve.

It’s a good old ‘British summer’ on a Friday evening at Hanley’s Central Forest Park as people arrive; now, almost expectantly in search of a tearoom to ‘grab a cuppa’ and air their thoughts to an orange clad Get talking team member.

The event tonight was ‘As the World Tipped’. We, I, all of us were there to capture revelers before the ‘curtain’ went up. With the travelling tearoom at the ready, we had many ways and style for the good people of the Stoke to feed back their thoughts…from sugar cubes & teapots which captured what ‘quality’ art meant to people…to freestyle comment table cloths which we hoped, as in other occasions would encourage people to; scribble; doodle; have their thoughts put forward. But the core of the evening and into the night was to be the Get Talking team,  who after these past many weeks of working together are now well oiled machine there to help and gather each person’s thoughts on not only what ‘good art is…’ but what they want to see and the reasoning behind their thoughts.

As the rain continued to pour, so did the tea and with it the conversation between those in orange and the festival goers flowed like an overpowering deluge to which any rain storm seemed like a damp squib. Not only from my conversations, but also from those of my colleagues the content is now far removed from those earlier events at Bianco or the first Pavement Cafés.  Now rather than quick comment and discussion around the events and what art people like, the discussions are around the future, of what needs to happen, how the whole Appetite/Get Talking project will consolidate its research and why and how future ‘Art’ events can improve, inspire and regenerate Stoke’s community in order to engage all walks of life with Art.

I no longer had to wait or pursue people for their opinions or thoughts on the matter.  No, those days have passed and roles have begun to reverse as people who have been attending weekly are now ‘Getting Talking’ and we, the Get Talking team, can just ‘Get Listening’. And that is what happened tonight, as my colleagues and I shepherded people out of queuing in the downpour and into the travelling tearoom the atmosphere was a buzz; electric; vibrant with good, happy, reveling folk who more and more as a community want to ‘Get Talking’ to us and we are here to listen and do….

tea room

If you would like to find out more about Get Talking or the Appetite programme, please get in touch with the Creative Communities Unit here

(c) Adam C Gratton 28th August 2013