Tea and Tolerance was founded by artists Jason Hird, Lucy Meredith and Zoe Parker in 2014. It was created in response to the York Mosque that invited the English Defence League in for tea. First of all, our aim is to get people to let go of fear so that they can tolerate each other. After that, we want them to go beyond that tolerance. Even more, we want people to have deep and fulfilling conversations.
We listen and also we talk with people about how they feel. For instance, people may tell us how they feel about themselves, other people or their environment. Ultimately, we want to evolve the kind of world we would love to live in.
Tea Trolley Installation
The initial activity we created was a roaming tea trolley with various receptacles that represent an eclectic and diverse environment. People become curious and approach us, then are invited by two hosts to pick a pot and then inside are small scrolls containing questions. from here, we talk…
Nothing is compulsory and everything recommended.
Similarly, this model supports people to talk. First, it combines the trolley conversational structure with drawing. People are invited to ask the usual questions. After that, a visual artist turns the conversation subjects into simple drawings. Then they add ‘headlines’ to the pictures. Participants can also add their own headlines and drawings. Through the collation of these ideas and pictures together, we start to get a sense of the collective voice in a space or area.
Being Human is a Conversation Game
Being Human was initially funded by Arts Council England and since then, we have spent more than 2 years developing the game. We have refined the format so that it produces the most productive conversations. Notably, the game design incorporates a tea theme. A tea towel acts as the board and miniature teapots as the playing pieces. There are 5 sets of cards – WELCOME, YOU, US, WILD, QUOTES. All of this is contained within a tea caddy. Finally, the game ( first edition) is available for purchase.
If you would like to buy a game, do get in touch.
Training and beyond
We offer a short training in our methods and how these apply to communication. As a result of continued enquiry, we have identified a set of Play Nicely guidelines. These are a guide on how to speak with other people.
Through this work, we are creating a vision towards the shaping of a more humane and viable society. Hence we have worked in many communities across Leeds with these models. Most recently, we have developed a number of bespoke versions of the game by working directly with specific communities.