Facilitating conversation where all voices are heard equally. Talkaoke breaks down hierarchies for all to participate in spontaneous discussions on the issues that matter to them.
Talkaoke is an interactive pop-up talk show. A talk show host sits in the middle of a round desk and facilitates conversations to which everybody is welcome to have input. The Talkaoke format was created by a London based artist collective called The People Speak more than 15 years ago and we established the first local hub for Talkaoke here in Pendle in 2015 – it has since toured as far as Australia. The aim is to connect people and create a democratic platform for everybody to have their say.
Initially, we used Talkaoke to explore the role of young people in cultural decision-making. We wanted to give young people an opportunity to engage in open conversation with decision maker and people from all different professions. Working in partnership with Pendle Youth Forum, we developed a meaningful two-way dialogue between adults and young people living in Pendle as part of The BIG Conversation. We wanted this dialogue to be sustainable and to improve the limited engagement that currently occurs when young people attend adult-oriented meetings.
Following the incredibly encouraging response to these initial Talkaoke sessions, we decided that In-Situ would use the talk show to open up dialogues on all issues, between all people (not just between the younger and older generations). We now tour around different public spaces, such as town centres, libraries and supermarkets, and invite the people who happen to be in those spaces to participate. We have hosted more than 70 Talkaoke sessions so far and the wonderful thing is that each conversation is completely different – no two are the same, so we don’t ever get bored of it!
We recently worked with Building Bridges to run a series of Talkaoke sessions which brought different faith leaders together around the table. It was a tool to have fruitful debate on some difficult subjects and we will be partnering with Building Bridges again to invite more of these conversations in the future. Often though, we do not set an agenda, rather let the people at the table steer a spontaneous discussion and raise the issues that are on their mind in that moment.
In-situ also acts upon certain ideas arising through Talkaoke conversations. People’s voices count, they have the right to be heard and considered. We strive to create a platform for diverse agendas and make them a part of people’s everyday lives. Using creative interventions and a broad range of art techniques, such as dance, music, performance, digital media, and creative writing, we respond to the issues and perspectives that are voiced at the table, in order to encourage others to engage with them.