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Project information

Straight Talk

Our 'Straight Talk' project is a series of dynamic interview-based discussion events. With high profile speakers and a fast-paced format it aims to attract a diverse range of local people to engage with key social/political issues and one another, encouraging active citizenship and social cohesion.

September 2014 - June 2015

Charity information: Dialogue Society

Dialogue Society logo
  • Need


    Strong local communities require networks of engaged actors from diverse backgrounds. The experience of Dialogue Society staff living and working in Islington and more broadly in London is that there is a lack of meaningful interaction between different cultural, faith and social groups. We also see a desperate need for greater engagement with political issues. The voter turnout for 2014 Local elections was just 36%.
    Events billed as 'community dialogue' don't have broad appeal...


    Straight Talk events have a broad appeal and are actively advertised among different diverse Islington communities. Through this engaging and expansive platform, speakers and members of the audience engage in constructive and critical dialogue on a miscellany of issues affecting their personal, professional and communal lives. Straight Talk will bring together different communities and promote an active engagement with current affairs.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Create constructive and critical public dialogue about important, sometimes controversial issues.


    » Facilitate engaging, well-presented discussion events (initial interview with an expert speaker and seasoned interviewer followed by ample Q&A time).

    What success will look like

    Participant's experiences will be assessed through project evaluation based on paper/email questionnairies filled in by participants after each event.

    Aim 2

    Bring together diverse local people to interact and engage in meaningful discussion.


    » Advertise widely, through diverse community and faith groups and educational institutions, making and drawing on personal connections.
    » Schedule time for networking/informal exchange over refreshments. Create a friendly, welcoming environment in which people can get to know each other.
    » Give everyone a chance to have their perspectives heard during a Q&A/discussion session.

    What success will look like

    We will keep careful records of who is attending. Participant's experiences will be assessed through paper/email questionnairies filled in by participants after each event.

  • Impact


    We envisage the programme continuing for years to come. It will bring together different communities and help to strengthen a network of engaged people and organisations from Islington. It will foster the engagement of diverse local people in current social and political affairs and inspire further interest in community dialogue. It will play a part in creating a more connected, cohesive and democratically engaged Islington.


    There is a risk of low/insufficiently diverse turnout. We have dealt with this risk by comprehensive and diverse advertising. The format itself is designed to have a broad appeal. We are also careful not to schedule events when they will compete with other popular local events, or during popular holiday times.


    We will send donors reports and photos after each session and share with them full details of our project evaluation (based on paper questionnaires and follow-up email after each event).

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,090

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £600 Speakers Speakers travel costs and small gifts = 12 speakers x £50 (average)
      £240 Refreshments Refreshment costs = 6 events x £40 (average)
      £250 Stationery&Advertising Travel for visits to community groups; Ads in two prominent local weekly papers, stationery
  • Background


    The project will take place at our London branch in Islington and it will mostly include people from the local community.


    The local community. Our target audience includes general public, students (FE and HE), academics and researchers, think tanks, press, and others interested in current affairs.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have extensive experience in organising discussion events.
    Our work contributing to academic and policy debates in our areas of interest brings us into contact with potential interviewees, and having run a Media School for charities and community groups we are well placed to find suitable interviewers.
    In 2012 we conducted three successful Straight Talks (hosting Shami Chakrabarti and Krishnan Guru-Murthy among others). We will build on this experience and our evaluation of it.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Ilknur Kahraman

    Ilknur is the project manager for the Straight Talks. She has been running events for the charity as Co-Director for over five years.

    The Whole London Team - Staff And Volunteers

    For much of the year a core staff and volunteer team run weekly events, working together to make everything run smoothly.