Left Vs Right Talk?/ How to have a conversation with a Conservative (To want a better name)

Convener(s): Chris Rowland 

Participants: Kirean Hurley, Pat Ashe, Lauren Cooney


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

The reason I came up with this discussion was to talk about segregation between the left and right communities and the difficulties of starting a conversation between the two.

I remember a friend telling me, when the riots happened  that there was opinions on his twitter feed that he disagreed with, so he was un-following these people. But then he thought about this as possibly damaging in the way that he was stopping possibly vital conversation and possibly segregating himself off to a liberal only newsfeed.

And also about arguing with family/friends about politics and the difficulty of feeling that you should have that talk at least occasionally instead of avoiding it.

I wanted to propose how to do such a discussion why?  And examples of projects where people with opposing views are involved.

Kirean started by stating that some people may want to be dialogical and open within such discussions, but that we shouldn’t apologize for our views and should be able to say that they are wrong. It maybe useful to look from their view but this doesn’t mean we should accept their paradigm.

We ourselves are consistently bombarded by right wing opinion from  billboards,  commuter newspapers, marketing, news etc. So why can’t we make a stand for our own politics, WE SHOULD NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR RAISING DEBATE AS OUR OPINIONS SHOULD BE AS VALIDATED. Their opinions, after all, are displayed so regularly. It may seem like a interference or intrusion but this maybe what is needed if  we want to sustain such opinion.

There was a debate recently on ‘Whose street? Our streets!!!’ and how this interfered with the right wing politics+ whether this was fruitful or not.

There is difficulty in maintaining space for doubt/uncertainity/ whilst sticking by broad certainties that one believes. It is like having two heads one for trying to persuade/argue/maintain certainties in the discussion and one omnisciently watching over to try to open up the debate. Tension between the certain and un certain.

Franco + Eva Mattes  Nike Plaza project is interesting when thinking about the reclaiming  of brands by consumers who have no say in what they are marketed. It opened debate around ideas of ownership and brands within local community as well as internationally, with Nike also threatening legal action because of the use of their brand by the Mattes  (check out their website it’s amazing)

A South American country banning billboards within cities – IF ANYONE KNOWS ABOUT THIS PROJECT PLEASE WRITE IT DOWN HERE

Discussion (In reference to article within Live Art Almanac Vol 1 IF ANYONE KNOWS THE TITLE PLEASE WRITE IT HERE) moved onto the right claiming the idea of the dream as their own and the left being unable to dream anymore.  This being about selling political ideologies to the public.


Referencing Chris Thorpe’s Edgelands 2011 speech at the Forest Fringe

‘I want to talk like the fascists do’  We talked about how to reclaim this liberal voice in definite terms without disregarding our own ethics/morals, and openness to a multilayered answers/narratives etc.


David Starkey being wrong/’rightwing’ but also a charismatic cunt who gets his voice heard.


The Centrist left not having the bollocks/articulation/information to argue against cuts as they see it as a thing we have to deal with instead of a thing that doesn’t have to be accepted so can be fought against.

We talked about the Left being based on dreams itself, though‘we need to make it much more accessible’.


Debbie Pearson’s project ‘Talking to a Conservative’. Unsure about why someone would or could think in this way Debbie tried to understand this perspective by interviewing conservatives on film.


At this point Pat and Kirean left and Lauren joined in.

She immediately stated that Conversations don’t work because your always going to have to vocally compromise. It’s too difficult, people don’t want to discuss this. I suggested that we don’t have to have successes or failures that it’s just a method to create discourses so one doesn’t segregate off. This is obviously still up for discussion.


We talked about annoyance at political theatre just philosophizing and taking minimal action and the differing/unsatisfying outcomes . The most successful show she had seen didn’t feel like it had a direct political agenda. The show itself was called Third Ring Out which was shown in Edinburgh last year. You and a few others were in a crisis room and given an area of the country to distribute services to during a crisis/humanitarian disaster. Depending what your decisions were, consequences would follow. There was also a second room which displayed a map of Edinburgh where anyone could place an action that could potentially happen in the city, philosophizing about the outcome.

This was discussed with the idea that being practical and being placed into situations being much more important then theorizing, which then has to be interpreted to practice.


The Occupy movement annoying people because it does something in a space, rather than just discussing the problem.  Though this is in turn a discussion point. What can we do other than discussion?


We talked about Simon Jenkin’s article in the Guardian ‘Adele and her ilk have mangled the ancient art of rhetoric’. About Adele being stopped from ending her speech by ITV. The article went on to talk of discussion as an artform in itself. We have gotten like bad at talking about shit and that. tha Ancient Greeks were well better YAAAA???? .  We  need to be taught to articulate? – educational reform in debate and discussion rather than told what is right etc. How do we source our information? How do we keep ‘well’ informed?


Discussion of a book that documents an academic conversation between two people one Israeli and one Palestinian with similar standing, both being authors, thinkers, journalists etc. This is possibly a good model for what an academic discussion should be. IF YOU KNOW THE NAME OF THE BOOK PLEASE WRITE HERE:


Does this academic writing confine our opinion and neuter our rage?


Lauren then talked about when she talks to her sister, someone she confesses to not understand, they often disagree. But then there are moments where she feels like she has got through to her. Her Sister replying stating how she can understand her view. A Zing/chemical reaction is made that comforts and a feeling of togetherness is gained. Conversation seizes and the pair feel on a even keel to be together. This experience was compared similarly to the ritual of greeting friends/family and then talking your worries out and about events that are/have happened recently to you – till you reach the point of feeling comfortably in each others presence.


We talked about her earlier point that conversations don’t work and how the paragraph above might contradict that explaining that why do you have to be consistent and the duality of the situations/ contexts you can dwell within.

To facilitate a conversation fairly and to the aims and objectives stated earlier could be a full time job.


Ted talk on talking to someone of a opposing view as yourself.