The format is open-agenda and can involve global issues or local concerns, across a side spectrum of interests from politics to the arts, ecology and well-being to how we can work together co-operatively.
With spring in sight, some of our thoughts turn to outdoor activities and the campfire experience. The Campfire Conversation is an adaptable format which focuses on discussion at a local level, tapping into the Campfire Convention social network as its hub.
The concept for Campfire Conversations was first trialled when Paul Darnborough successfully dovetailed a discussion session into his regular club night in Manchester in late 2015 and then repeated the experience in Todmorden last May. Since then we have also staged Campfire Conversations as ‘bolt-on’ events at festivals in Lancashire, Hartlepool and Whitby and are looking to fill the diary for summer 2017 as soon as possible.
The gathering works best as a small, intimate afternoon or evening, preferably with an outdoor element (maybe have a fire too), which can be in a pub or arts centre, a garden or a field, a park, a tea shop or an allotment, a church or community hall, or somewhere else we haven't yet thought of. Ideal size can range from 10-100 people and would usually involve discussion, debate, thinkshop, exhibition, ideas exchange and an entertainment element (live acoustic music or DJs?) and a food / drink element, or communal cooking.
There is a strong sense that people want to talk and discuss today's rapid global changes more than ever and Campfire has potential to evolve into a platform that fulfils that need whilst looking at ways to structure long-term thinking and collective action in the face of the prevailing swing to the right, the rapidly changing nature of work, fake news and looking at ways to utilise the rise of algorithms and artificial intelligence for collective benefit.