Campfire Conversations

A Project inviting members to host their own Campfire Conversation events this summer, or to attend others' events.

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by Pete Lawrence
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Created on 22 Feb 2017

With spring under way, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities and the campfire experience. We're heading out around the UK between late April and mid July in the build up to this year's Campfire Convention 00.UK event.

If you are up for hosting / organising a Campfire Conversation for this summer, have a read of the articles in this Project.

The gathering works best as a small, intimate afternoon or evening, preferably with an outdoor element (as we can then have a fire too), which can be a pub or arts centre, a back garden or a field. Ideal size I can range from 10-100 people and would involve discussion, debate, thinkshop, exhibition, ideas exchange and a knees-up element (live acoustic music or DJs) and a food / drink element, often communal cooking.

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Wed, 02/22/2017
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Conversations take to the road

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The gathering works best as a small, intimate afternoon or evening, preferably with an outdoor element (so we can 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 ..

With summer in our sights, some of our thoughts turn to outdoor activities and the campfire experience and Campfire Conversations are popping up all over the UK as we take to the road. Any Campfire members can host your own pop up event, simply and effectively.

The next leg takes starts just before the late May bank holiday with a jaunt to the south west, taking in Frome (Somerset, home of Flatpack Democracy), Ashburton in Devon and Bath. The following weekend will feature a trip to the north of England, followed by our first event in Scotland (Edinburgh, Sunday 18th June tbc)

The concept for Campfire Conversations was born 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 done 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 (so we can 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 ...or somewhere else we haven't yet thought of. Ideal size I can range from 10-100 people and would involve discussion, debate, thinkshop, exhibition, ideas exchange and a knees-up element (live acoustic music or DJs) and a food / drink element, often communal cooking.

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.

There is a strong sense that people want to talk and discuss today's rapid global changes more than ever and Campfire can 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 the rise of algorithms and artificial intelligence.

 

The Conversation events are moveable and adaptable feasts which should be up to Campfire members to organise and programme, each with a unique flavour of its own. What is evolving at the moment is a framework with some guidelines that have been built by members experiences so far.  Members have suggested putting together Campfire Beacons (organisational teams) to feed ideas and new directions into the Campfire collective.

The local Campfire organiser should be ready to :

  • Find a venue (the concept can work in a cafe, garden, pub function room, barn, park..ideally with outdoor and indoor contingency space and a small campfire if possible), 
  • Come up with the concept (if more than just Conversation)
  • Promote locally and invite like-minds, friends, (flyering if appropriate, word of mouth)
  • Underwrite any costs associated with venue, sound, lighting etc where appropriate
  • Agree concept with me if more than a 3 hour discussion, take revenue £ (suggested £3 if discussion, more if not) 
  • Cover minimal expenses (i.e. travel)

Campfire offers :

  • Campfire official event status and publicity (official Facebook event listing, Campfire site, Twitter etc)
  • Artwork templates
  • Collaboration on format and shape of the day / evening
  • Pete Lawrence as speaker (or other Campfire team member as available)
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