Oregon Humanities is looking for people who want to facilitate conversations that get people talking, listening, and connecting to one another.
Read the full description below, then submit an application online for each topic you wish to propose. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2024.
What is the Conversation Project?
The Conversation Project is a statewide program that brings people together to talk about their beliefs and experiences around important and timely topics. Organizations and community groups request programs from our Conversation Project catalog. These ninety-minute conversations are led by facilitators trained by Oregon Humanities and get participants talking with each other as a way to reflect on and learn about a given topic.
What are we looking for in a Conversation Project leader?
We are looking for people to design and lead a conversation that:
- focuses on an important and timely topic
- asks participants to reflect on and talk about their beliefs, assumptions, and experiences
- connects the topic to participants’ lives and communities
- reflects our core values of community, equity, and imagination
Experience facilitating conversations is not required, and you don’t need to be an expert on the topic; you just need a strong desire to learn and get people talking with one another. We encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, and especially from people who live in/are from rural areas and people who speak Spanish.
Although leaders are not required to accommodate every request, they should have enough flexibility in their lives and jobs to be able to travel throughout Oregon’s thirty-six counties year-round. Leaders can expect to facilitate between one and four conversations each year. Our most popular topics are requested six to ten times per year.
What are good Conversation Project topics and programs?
Conversation Project leaders propose their own program topic (or topics; you may submit as many proposals as you like). When you apply, we’ll ask you to share a general topic and questions that might get people exploring that topic, but we don’t expect you to come to us with a fully formed program. We’ll work with you to develop your program as part of the process of becoming a Conversation Project leader.
While we welcome applications about any topic, currently we are especially looking for people to develop programs focused on the environment, democracy, and topics that are appropriate for conversations held outdoors. We hope to present conversations on themes such as climate change and migration, forest fires, water rights, civic engagement, and autocracy and democracy. We will consider applications outside these themes based on community interest. For example, in the past year we’ve had requests for conversation about parenting, accessibility and disabilities, youth voice, mental health, relationships, sex and love, guns, and addiction.
We want facilitators to design questions and activities that get participants reflecting on and talking about their beliefs, assumptions, and experiences. We want participants to leave the conversation thinking a little differently about themselves, the people in the room, or their relationship to the topic. Each program and facilitator’s approach to those goals is different. We invite experiential, interactive formats that incorporate movement, collaboration, connection, talking, and small group activities.
What do Conversation Project Leaders get from the experience?
Conversation Project leaders whose proposals are accepted receive a free facilitation training valued at over $500.
Current Conversation Project leaders receive a $275 honorarium for each conversation they facilitate, as well as a meal stipend and reimbursement for mileage or alternative travel. We ask host organizations to cover lodging if Conversation Project leaders travel over one hundred miles one-way.
Conversation Project leaders receive design and facilitation support from Oregon Humanities staff, access to the Conversation Project Community of Practice with other facilitators, ongoing professional development opportunities including virtual or in-person retreats, connections with community-based hosts around the state, opportunities to propose projects that align with Oregon Humanities’ mission, and opportunities to travel across the state with their conversations, learning from different communities and geographical areas.
How to apply
To apply, please complete our online application by January 31, 2024. If you would like to propose more than one question or topic, please submit a separate application for each. If you are proposing a topic to lead with another facilitator, please fill out one form and include answers from each of you.
After an initial application review, we will select candidates to attend a reflective conversation training on February 1 and 2 (virtual) or March 14 and 15 (in person in Portland), 2024.
The best way to learn about the Conversation Project is to participate in one. We encourage you to visit our online calendar to see if there are events scheduled near you. If you have questions about the Conversation Project or the application process, we will have an info session on December 4 at 10:00 a.m. To request the link please contact Program Lead Juliana Posada at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 971-501-6917.