Our Experimental Salons started as intimate (8-12 people), facilitated dinner-and-discussions tailored for industry professionals and community members to come together and discuss a pertinent question related to social impact. Our goal of these Salons was to lower the risk of diving into difficult topics and create safe spaces for positive conflict and differing viewpoints.
Since COVID, we have shifted our Salons to be virtual spaces with the same mission: bring together advocates who don't often find themselves in the same place and brainstorm new solutions for ongoing challenges.
The Experimental Salons process is an integral part of our overall methodology for creating pathways for change from the ground-up, centering those in the communities that will be most affected. We utilize findings from our Salons to create toolkits and resources, host public accountability town halls, and (we hope) affect organizational and policy changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are these Salons different from other facilitated discussions?
To us, the most important aspects of a Salon are:
Gathering a group of people who are willing to engage in blue-sky thinking as well as tactical action plans within their spheres of influence.
A comfort with discomfort and vulnerability, so participants can build trust by admitting where they may be struggling or uncertain.
A recognition that structural challenges cannot be solved with only individual changes, but we each have a personal responsibility to begin collective and immediate action.
Our facilitation model is nothing revolutionary. We start by addressing our own complicities early on within sessions, focusing on specifics to examine nuance in complex issues, and building a resiliency against the fear of failure by emphasizing continuous improvement. Above all, we believe that personal connection and true intimacy with one another is critical for real change. As we always say, change happens one conversation, one person, one relationship at a time.
What happens after the Salon?
After the initial set of Experimental Salons per topic, we follow up with Salon attendees for 1:1 interviews, then compile our learnings to create an educational resource that is made available to the public via our Resources Library.
After the resource goes live, we restart both private Experimental Salons and public events (e.g., panels, town halls) in order to keep iterating on our toolkit.
Watch: Tokenization in Media: A Case Study in Food in partnership with General Assembly
Watch: Food Media in the Time of COVID in partnership with Museum of Food & Drink
As part of the accountability process, we also work with organizational partners who are committed to implementing the suggestions outlined in the toolkits to write formal industry white papers that detail their change process over the course of 12 months. Our goal for these white papers is to offer clear details of successes and challenges faced internally in order to provide an actionable framework that all media companies can learn from and implement immediately.
How do you decide the topics for the Salons?
We narrow in on topic areas we believe we have an ability to affect real change. Often, these are industries close to us and communities we are already part of. As we continue to grow our organization, we dream of utilizing the Experimental Salons framework to many more industries and disciplines. We are cognizant of our limitations, and are always interested in working with like-minded partner organizations to curate, moderate, and drive the thoughtful conversations at the heart of our Salons.
If you're interested in working with us on a series of Salons pertinent to your industry - be it rebalancing opportunity in the cannabis boom or dissecting ableism in architecture - we would love to hear from you!
How do I sign up for future Salons?
Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter for updates on the next set of Salons.
The topic we will be tackling starting June 2021 is the influence of hospitality businesses on gentrification.
Support our Salons
Our team is continuously working behind-the-scenes to ensure our Experimental Salons run smoothly and we are creating a space that is welcoming to all. If you've benefited from these Salons, we kindly ask you to consider supporting us by becoming a monthly patron or with a one-time donation. We thank you for your generosity!
All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
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