Befriend is hosting a series of warm, friendly community conversations that we hope will bring people together, plant new seeds of possibility, and transform how we see the world around us. We hope you can join us!
The world we share is complex and constantly changing. In our communities, we find ourselves facing challenges that often feel larger than us as individuals: bushfires, social inequity, loneliness, and more recently, our collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, to name just a few.
A very human way to deal with this level of complexity is simply to view these colossal challenges as multiple static things. We tend to analyse these in isolation and digest them in smaller chunks, rather than widening the lens to take in the full, interconnected (often messy!) whole of it. Often we rely on numbers, patterns and statistical analysis to steer us towards some kind of conclusion or way forward. Reliance on ‘big data’ is regarded as the gold standard in science, research, business, politics, health (as in the pandemic), and almost every aspect of human affairs.
Big data is extremely valuable, but it’s also limited. Just because something can’t be counted doesn’t mean it doesn’t count or isn’t important. There is so much ‘warm data’ in our shared human experience, and it is all important and relevant to the changing world around us. Our unique experiences as community members are important. Our stories are important. Our observations about life around us are important. The way in which we communicate them to one another is important. This kind of information we each hold within us is still “data”; it’s just more difficult to measure on a spreadsheet… it’s warm, human data.
When we come together to share our stories and listen to one another, we expand our view of life, deepen our understanding of what others in our communities are going through, and perhaps even see fresh possibilities.
Introducing “Warm Data Labs”
Many thousands of people around the world are participating in community conversations called ‘Warm Data Labs’. We like to think of it as the best after-dinner conversation you’ll ever have with people you don’t (yet) know!
At its core, a warm data lab experience is a space to bring together community members from all walks of life, to generate invaluable warm data through the organic act of conversation. Participants come together to explore a common question ( for example, ‘what is home in a changing world?’, or ‘what is wellbeing in a changing world?’). Small groups to reflect upon the day’s question through different “lenses” or arenas of life, such as family, community, economy, health, religion, and more. Everyone is encouraged to move around the room, joining different groups to hear and share perspectives and stories.
Image originally from an article entitled ‘Working with warm data‘ by Torben Lohmüller
These experiences have been described as a “kaleidoscope of conversation”, packed with enriching stories, laughter and insight. They nourish the soul, transform the way we approach work, life and our communities, and ultimately, create space for new relationships to flourish. They can even plant new seeds for community projects to renew and revitalise community life.
Curious? Join us!
If this is something you’d love to participate in, we invite you to join us at one of our upcoming series – Vital Village: Connecting through Conversation – where we’ll host a community buffet-style dinner (on us!) followed by rich, warm conversation, in Butler, once a fortnight, starting in October. A second series will run at the same time in Yanchep, every alternative fortnight.
You don’t need any experience to participate… just bring along your curiosities and be yourself. All are welcome.
Butler Community Centre | 6pm – 9:00pm | free
Friday, October 22
Friday, November 5
Friday, November 19
YHUB, Yanchep | 6pm – 9:00pm | free
Thursday, October 28
Thursday, November 11
Thursday, November 25
Whilst it’s not essential, we do recommend that you try to make it to as many sessions in a series as possible. This way you can get to know each other better and become more familiar with the process. Also, feel welcome to come along to both series in Butler and Yanchep if you’d like.
Click either of the buttons below to register for Vital Village: Connecting through Conversation and we’ll see you there!
For those extra curious folks amongst us, Peter and Hayley (two members of the Befriend Staff Team) recently recorded a conversation over Zoom, talking about Vital Village and this idea of “Warm Data Labs”. You can give it a watch just below!
For any questions, please feel free to reach out to Lee on or give her a call on 0488 823 817.