Porch Sittings take seriously the idea that dialogue can happen side-by side, rather than face-to-face with an expert. It makes space for the things we wonder rather than providing a platform for the things we know.

Participants are free to wonder, observe, dream, or reflect upon our collective future. There may be periods of quiet, moments of shared understanding, or bursts of raucousness. It is a side-by-side, informal discussion inspired by the notion of sitting on the porch, watching the world go by. Everyone can come and go as you please as long as they pay due respect to the silence or the flow of conversation.

Imagine this is a shared household. The conversation space becomes this ‘household’ divided into two areas:

The Kitchen

In the Kitchen, you can get drinks, have a chat, have a bite to eat. There are no rules for behaviour. There is no need to leave the Kitchen, if that’s where you’re most comfortable.

The Porch

On the Porch, conversation is sustained by a few simple rules. It is a space to sit, think, dream or get involved in the ongoing conversation.

Interested in hosting your own Porch Sitting?

It’s simple. All you need for a Porch Sitting is:

  • Chairs

Really - that’s it! Just some chairs and a mindset. We put together a few guidelines to help you get in the right frame of mind:

  • A Porch Sitting is where you sit, think and dream or get involved in the ongoing story or conversation.

  • You can come and go when and if you please. Just pay due respect to the silence or the flow of conversation

  • Try not to worry if it all goes quiet for a spell, or if it gets a bit raucous for a time or if somebody just bursts into song. The Porch can handle it.

  • Let everyone know ahead of time just how long you think you might be sitting on the porch and when the time comes find a way to turn ‘the porch light on’ and wish everybody a safe journey home.

  • A few openers help ease you into conversation:

    I wonder whatever happened to….
    Who do you think that is….
    I have a feelin’ it’s going to….
    Or just about any phrase that begins:
    I imagine…I wonder…I think…I feel…

the front side of a fan designed for porch sittings, created by Jo palmer

the front side of a fan designed for porch sittings, created by Jo palmer

the back side of the fan

the back side of the fan

The only rule is to adopt the mindset of a porch-sitter with phrases like I imagine… I wonder… I think… I feel.


The Backstory

In these divided times, it’s crucial that we talk to each other. Our survival depends on it. We need to find ways to acknowledge the things we care about, to find out what we share and how we differ; to wonder about the future and to ask difficult questions.

Porch Sittings are an opportunity to move from these broad questions to more personal stories and experiences and to explore what it might mean to think, and feel and talk intimately in public.