The Talking Shop is a cultural and democracy information centre - a space for all visitors to discuss their own and their communities’ issues. It's a physical what’s on, what’s where and who’s who listings hub using the arts to inform, empower and connect people to drive the local social change they need. It's a space for the public and artists and creatives to collide, connect, collude and collaborate every single day.
For Yvonne’s Talking Shop pilot, an empty high street store in the centre of Cardiff was repurposed. It received over 550 visitors, aged from two to 92, reaching across all social, ethnic and economic backgrounds.
Enticing people in with a ‘question of the day’, everyone was invited to share their views, facilitating conversations between people who wouldn’t ordinarily interact.
Yvonne has been a freelance Theatre Director, Creative Producer, Practitioner and Consultant since 1992 working across the UK and internationally. She is particularly interested in the intersection between cultural and democratic participation. She has been made an Associate Artist of Wales Millennium Centre, Theatr Iolo and Artis Community and has been a board member of Chapter, Cardiff and Awen Cultural Trust. She is an elected councillor for Penarth Town Council and strives to make work which empowers, informs, entertains new audiences, challenges the status quo and inspires positive social change.
“This is genuinely inspirational – mind opening. Societal cohesion. Meeting others and learning different viewpoints. Getting challenged and educated. Thanks. I can grow as a person. Focussing on important issues. Free Conversation. This is an amazing idea. Thanks for starting this. I really appreciate this.” Talking Shop Visitor
Yvonne wanted to bring The Talking Shop back to Cardiff for a longer residency, so applied for The Multiplier. She was keen to learn about scaling so more towns across the UK could benefit from the project.
Yvonne was chosen to be a Multiplier because, like The Cares Family, she believes we need inclusive spaces for people of all ages, to listen, share, understand and reduce cultural and social divides. The value of the project was recognised by those who visited the space:
“The Talking Shop is amazing because you don’t have to be privileged to be here.”
“We need places to chat, have conversations, to listen to one another and be civil. We are losing the art of civil interaction so we need to invest in spaces where we can get together and share our social experiences.”