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Methods for Creative Conversations: developing and evaluating conversational practices for marginal and deprived contexts


Cathy Ross, Ripon College Cuddesdon, and Mike Pears, International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Amsterdam

Initial Description

This project ‘Methods in Creative Conversations’ builds on the previous two phases of the Creative Conversations initiative to develop a range of practical tools through which people can learn how to participate in Creative Conversations in their own situations. These tools might operate at a simple level in in a parish context, or within a mission project, or at a more sophisticated level for research purposes. What we are trying to encourage is attentive listening in order to better hear and see people in their own cultural and social con-texts. We aim to give particular attention to those who most often remain unheard and un-seen within public discourse. An important aim of the project is to develop reflexive (or receptive) listening methods that actively seek to bring to the fore the voices of those who are most often excluded.

Grounded within the fields of practical theology and ethnography, Methods in Creative Con-versations will explore the nature of transformation (or conversion) that takes place within conversational participants including the transformation of the minister or mission-person. It will engage theologically and reflectively with the questions that are raised through culture-crossing conversation and will nurture the skill of asking GOOD questions.

Two Phases

Methods in Creative Conversations will take place in two twelve-month phases.

Phase 1, ‘research and development’ will involve recruiting and working with a research team of up to 5 people (in addition to the investigators) who will use qualitative research methods to investigate specific projects with the aim of identifying and evaluating key conversational practices inherent within them. The team will work collaboratively to distil a step-by-step learning cycle that will form the basis of the work in phase 2.

Phase 2, ‘evaluation and publication’ will involve a researcher accompanying a group of vol-unteers through the implementation of the conversational methods in eight different social and cultural contexts. Guided by the researcher the group will assess the effectiveness of the methods and subsequent impact in their situation. This will be followed by publication of the methods and findings as described in the ‘outcomes’ section of this application.


See the Guide to Creative Conversations