The Conversation Project

Maria Rodriguez

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What Is the Conversation Project?

The Conversation Project brings people together to talk about their beliefs and experiences around timely and important issues and ideas through reflective conversations. 

Reflective conversations are framed, yet open-ended dialogue about ideas; instead of focusing on coming to consensus, finding solutions, or debating an argument, the goals are exploration, learning through listening to each other, and building community. Reflecting on ideas in the company of others through conversation is one important way—among many—for people to think about their beliefs and the relationship between what they think and how they act in the world. It’s also a way to build community and trust, gain understanding of a variety of perspectives, strengthen how we work and live together, and help people make stronger connections and commitments to the issues that affect their communities.


How It Works

Oregon Humanities trains facilitators to lead reflective conversations on topics of their choosing. Organizations then request to host these conversations in their communities with support from Oregon Humanities. These conversations can take multiple forms.

  • Community Conversation: a single, ninety-minute program
  • Reflective Conference: multiple conversations held over a single day
  • Expanded Conversation: a longer conversation customized to the host organization’s interests

Oregon Humanities pays for the facilitator’s honorarium, transportation, and food. When a facilitator travels more than one-hundred miles each way for an in-person event, the host organization must offer to provide one night of commercial lodging. If your organization pays for lodging, you may adjust the host fee to compensate for the cost.

Oregon Humanities has limited funds available to cover lodging in cases where the cost of lodging poses a barrier for a host organization. Please check our Conversation Project catalog to see where the conversation facilitator will be traveling from.

Host a Community Conversation 

This option will bring an Oregon Humanities facilitator to your organization to lead a ninety-minute conversation. Click here to read more.
There is no limit to the number of Conversation Project programs you can bring to your organization per year. To choose this format, please select the “Community Conversation option” in the application and select the topic of your choice. Add more topics if you want to have multiple events.

Host a Reflective Conference

Imagine a day of connection, trust, and community building! A Reflective Conference is an event with multiple conversations happening at once or in sequence. Click here to learn more.
You have participants choose from several conversation topics or assign topics to your participants, depending on your goals. This event will allow participants to grow their understanding of difficult issues by connecting deeply with one another over the length of the conference.  You can choose between two and six topics for a Reflective Conference

To choose this format, please select the “Reflective Conference” option in the application form and select one of the topics you wish to bring into the conference. You will have to select each topic individually by clicking on the option “Add another Conversation Project.” Please select as many topics as you would like to include in your event. 

Please check our Conversation Project catalog to see where the conversation facilitator will be traveling from. 

Request an Expanded Conversation

Oregon Humanities facilitators are experts at presenting thoughtful, creative conversations, and we can help your organization expand on any topic you find in our catalog. Click here to learn more.
Any topic in our catalog can be adapted into a multipart conversation held over the course of several days or weeks. The cost to host an expanded conversation depends on how the labor required to adapt the conversation.To explore this option, please visit the Custom/Contracted work page and look for the Custom Conversations section, or contact Jennifer Alkezweeny at

Questions? Contact Juliana Posada, program lead, at

A photograph of five people seated in a circle in the children's section of a public library, engaged in conversation. All are smiling.Photo by Kim Oanh Nguyen


How to Host a Conversation or Reflective Conference

To request a customized conversation please click here.

We are excited that you are interested in hosting a community conversation. Below you’ll find information about what it looks like to partner with us to host a community conversation or reflective conference. (Click to reveal more.)
  • Apply

    • Take a look at our catalog. You can apply to host up to three events at a time. On the application, indicate how much your organization can pay to host per event (between nothing and $600). Most organizations pay $50. The amount you can pay will not affect whether your application is approved. We’ll notify you of approval within two weeks.

      Apply Now

  • Connect with the Conversation Project leader 

    • Once you receive an approval email from us, contact the Conversation Project leader to schedule a date and time for the community conversation, then get back in touch with us to let us know the details. 

  • Setup and Outreach for Your Event 

    • Your organization is responsible for setup, outreach, and production of these conversations. Virtual conversations must be held on Zoom or a similar platform that allows people to see and talk with each other in large and small groups. You’ll receive resources and materials from us to support you in promoting your event. 

  • Host the Conversation

    • Someone from your organization is required to attend the conversation. We hope this person welcomes participants, instructs them how to sign in, or makes note of which registered participants show up, and talks about Oregon Humanities and the Conversation Project. If your conversation is virtual, we ask that someone from your organization support the Conversation Project leader with technical needs such as breakout rooms and screen sharing.

    Follow Up with Oregon Humanities

    • After the event, invite participants to complete the Oregon Humanities evaluation survey. Then share attendee names and email addresses with Oregon Humanities, complete a host evaluation, and pay your invoice.


A photo of a crowd of people standing in a classroom, engaged in one-on-one conversation. A woman in the center of the image holds a sheet of paper reading, "I feel connected to others when...".
Photo by Kim Oanh Nguyen


Conversation Project Catalog

Scroll through to see the conversations on offer or click here to open the catalog in a new window. If you see a program you want to host, use this form to request a conversation in your community.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What kinds of organizations can apply?

    • All! Oregon Humanities partners with community organizations, small and large nonprofits, universities, community colleges, government agencies, corporations, and others around the state to host Conversation Project events.

  • How many people can participate in these community conversations?

    • Community conversations are best for groups of between seven and twenty-five. If you are opening the conversation to the general public (rather than convening a group of people where you know that date works for most), you can probably allow upward of fifty people to register, knowing that you can count on closer to twenty-five to actually attend the conversation.   

  • Who can participate in these conversations? 

    • You can host a Conversation Project program for the general public or for a particular group: people at your workplace, your place of worship, or a community you serve. 

  • Can I record this conversation? 

    • No. Our Conversation Project leaders create a space for participants to share their personal stories and experiences, and we want participants to be able to fully show up without feeling they should censor themselves. Recording can change interpersonal and group dynamics.

  • What if my organization doesn’t have a virtual platform to host a Conversation Project event? 

    • You can use ours! On the application, you can request temporary use of our Zoom account. 

  • What if I want to host an in-person conversation but the conversation is only available virtually?

    • We asked that all facilitators commit to facilitating their conversations virtually, and we left it up to them to let us know if and when they wanted to facilitate an in-person conversation. Please contact Juliana Posada at if you want to discuss a customized conversation.

  • What if I cannot afford to cover the cost of lodging for a Conversation Project leader who is traveling more than one hundred miles one way?

    • Oregon Humanities has limited funds available to cover lodging in cases where the cost of lodging poses a barrier for a host organization. Please take into account whether you are paying for lodging and adjust the host fee as you see fit—pay less if you need to. On the application you’ll have a chance to let us know that you want to request support to cover the cost, and we’ll contact you to discuss further.

  • Can I charge a fee?

    • No. We want these events to be free for your community. If you need to pay a smaller host fee, that’s OK. Please keep that in mind as you indicate how much your organization is able to pay per program on the application form.

  • I’m concerned about “Zoom bombing.” What should I do?

    • Only give registered participants the link to access your event by directing potential participants to a registration page to sign up for your event, instead of broadcasting the direct link to the event widely.


Questions? Contact Juliana Posada, program lead, at

The Conversation Project is made possible thanks to the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Kinsman Foundation, NW Natural, and The Standard.


Conversation Project Leaders Wanted

Oregon Humanities is looking for people who want to facilitate conversations that get people talking, listening, and connecting to one another.

What People Are Saying about the Conversation Project

Resources for Conversation Project Hosts

Tips, timelines, and materials for organizations hosting Conversation Project events

Toolkits and Discussion Guides

Resources for planning and hosting conversations in your community.

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