04 / 05 / 21
by Alyaa Ebbiary
The pandemic has affected so many people’s lives in different ways. What started as an in-person project to bring people together with food, art and activities, ended up being an online one, with all the challenges and benefits that it brings. Doing dialogue online was difficult because it is hard to build trust with people you don’t know through a screen, but there was a silver lining because it made the dialogue sessions more accessible for people with mobility limitations or childcare commitments.
Walsall is a small town in the West Midlands with a big heart. It has a very active civil society with community organisations for everyone and everything. Creating a space for all these community members and their contacts to talk to each other was challenging but rewarding. At the end of each session the facilitators would ask participants to give one word as a “take away” about how they felt. Some of the common words were “grateful”, “warm”, “privileged” and “uplifted”. Connections lost through social isolation can be gained through dialogue, and with positive results.