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Casual Conversations a way to hear untold stories

Everyone has a story, and this weekend you’ll be able to “borrow” a person to hear theirs.

Organiser Tanya Nock came up with the idea for Casual Conversations when she encountered a Living Library at WOMAD. The concept, which began in Denmark, aims to address prejudice by helping people talk to people they wouldn’t normally meet.

“The idea is to challenge cultural stereotypes: instead of borrowing a book, you’re borrowing a person.”

The 15-minute conversations help make a “human connection”, Nock said. “It’s a two-way benefit.”


VIRGINIA WOOLF/STUFF Rose Linde, Tanya Nock, Ilonka Gotal and Julia Panfylova are aiming to break down barriers and defy stereotypes at the Casual Conversations event at Cultural Conversations in Morrison Square.


In a world fractured by Covid-19 and with ongoing discussions over race and identity, building connections is more important than ever, Nock said.

“We don’t know what’s going on with other people; we have no idea what people have been through.”

Participant Ilonka Gotal will share her experience about growing up in Croatia.


“How life looked after war in Croatia; the struggles of finding work, no food. I’d just like to show people that life can change, I went from nothing to everything.”

Born in a part of the Soviet Union which later became Ukraine, Julia Panfylova will converse about holding on to her Russian identity in a country that did not welcome her culture.

“And to give people another perspective. It’s not like you see in the media. Sometimes people think Russia is the bad guy, but it’s not that easy to comprehend.

“When you come from the inside you can provide a broader perspective of what people don’t see.”

Rose Linde will talk about her 30-year te reo Māori journey. The learning she has done fits the event, she said.

“I love the whakapapa, the layering of stories; storytelling is important and that’s strong in Māoridom.

“Everyone has a story”

Held as part of Nelson Heritage Month/Tuku 21, the Saturday April 24 event will be held at Cultural Conversations, the temporary event space that recently moved around the corner from its previous Hardy St spot to take up residence in Morrison Square.

You can book a spot online. For more information, visit Cultural Conversations Morrison Square.

Source: Amy Ridout13:00, Apr 22 2021, Stuff

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