For Immediate Release
Issued by United Nations Association Coventry Branch
22 September 2016
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Two Chairs Exchange in Friargate 2016
The theme of Coventry Peace Day, 21 September 2016, was “Come together for peace” and to explore how strangers from different backgrounds could meet and share a few minutes of contemplative silence, Dr James Hodkinson from the University of Warwick ran an inspiring event he called “Two Chairs Exchange”.
Using the fixed chairs in the walkway through Friargate from Coventry Rail Station, James and members of the United Nations Association Coventry Branch asked passers-by to sit and stare into each other’s eyes for 2 minutes, then spend a little time talking about the experience. He encouraged them to ask questions such as: How did they feel during the session? Did anything change? Did they learn anything?
He then asked them to write a few notes to add to his research.
The Two Chairs Exchange is a rolling, co-operative project between Dr. Hodkinson of Warwick University and diverse, non-academic partners in the UK and Germany. lt aims to set up and stimulate reflection on real-life and virtual encounters between mutually different groups and communities, whether these are defined in terms of ethnicity, faith, gender, geography, language or nation – with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on young people.
James Hodkinson is an academic at Warwick University, researching and writing on historical relations between Europe and the Islamic world.
“I am also engaged in public engagement work that takes my academic research off campus, not only in the form of public lectures, but also social and community events,” he says. “These events include workshops, seminars, cross community encounters, and draw on images, ideas and concepts from diverse cultures of past centuries. They attempt to re-think the relationships between diverse communities and faiths so that they emphasise commonality, shared heritage and values and communication, whilst, crucially, respecting and articulating differences. I look forward to bringing this work to enrich a rage of community events in the Coventry area, both on World Peace Day and beyond.”
Information for Editors
Video of Event
United Nations Association
The United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) is the UK’s leading source of independent analysis on the United Nations as well as a UK-wide grassroots movement. UNA-UK believes that a strong, credible and effective UN is essential if we are to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. It advocates strong government support for the UN and demonstrates why the UN matters to people everywhere.
UNA-UK is a UK-registered charity number 1146016
UNA Coventry Branch
The UNA Coventry Branch runs events throughout the year where experts discuss international issues with the public, such as Women in ISIS, International Law, the Future of Democracy.
More information at unacov.uk
Coventry Peace Website
UNA Coventry Branch has brought together information about the wide range of peace-related activities in Coventry to create the portal CoventryCityOfPeace.uk
United Nations Association Coventry Branch
024 7671 7275