Friday, 15 October 2010

Leicester Speaks: Hindu / Jewish dialogue

Fourth and final meeting this morning presented by the Council of Faiths for Leicester Speaks (AKA Local Democracy Week). This one is a Hindu / Jewish dialogue at Phoenix Square Film and Digital Media Centre, 1100-1200.
I arrive just at 1050 (ten minutes before kick-off), hot-foot from the final planning / first debriefing meeting of the Steering Group at the Adult  Education College in Wellington Street. When I get there only our two speakers, Ramesh Majithia and Tony Nelson, are in the Phoenix Café Bar, along with Marion Kennedy, who has kept a 100% attendance record at these dialogue meetings (and who also made a such a good contribution from the stage at our launch event in Humberstone Gate on Monday morning).
We’ve been given the use of the Screen Room this morning, the smallest of the actual screening rooms on the ground floor which can hold up to 30 people. Shortly after we move in there and start the meeting, our numbers increase. Minou Cortazzi arrives, then two guys from TouchRainbow Productions to record the event in video and stills, then Manjula Sood (our Chair) arrives to bring our number up to eight.
I must say that I've probably been looking forward to this session more than any of the others this week. That's partly because of the setting but also because I felt like I couldn't predict what direction the dialogue might take. I don't think I'd ever sat through a dialogue meeting between in all the years I've been involved in inter faith work. If you've been keeping up with these entries, faithful reader, you'll have seen that the could be said about every one of these meetings - that the topics covered and direction followed have been unpredictable, but I have felt something different and special about this one, ever since the notion came into my head to plan our contributions along these lines. I'm glad to say that the meeting itself doesn't disappoint.

A few days later, an eight-minute extract from this session is posted on YouTube. This is what I'd have to say is a turning point in this kind of activity for us - and, more the point, for me. The significance of the fact that a meeting can be held with hardly a handful of people present, but for it to be recorded and posted online so that any number of people can see it, at any time. I'm not expecting thousands to watch it, but it does have massive potential. This realisation is what I'd have to call a game-changer - much as I don't like the term, it certainly gets the meaning across. And it shows the benefit of partnership working as I'd never have had the kit or the skills or the daring to do this by myself.

For some reason the sound quality of the recording is poor, but I think it looks terrific. You can find it on the Council of Faiths YouTube channel:

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