Cafe Conversations | A Taste of Slap

Tea and Tolerance took over the cafe at York Theatre Royal to have conversations as part of A Taste of Slap 2020 on 15th February 2020.


Though storm Dennis submerged trees this weekend, we stayed nice and dry in York and chatted with visitors to the event about a really wide range of topics. People could have conversations inspired by tea trolley or our ‘Being Human Game’ From death, dreams and ghosts…to benefits of social media, how to combat loneliness to the perils of the charismatic leadership style. Here’s a little taste of the conversations we had. Thanks to Slap! for having us and to all attendees for their contributions.

We also talked about the benefits of this game to reduce social isolation because of the feeling of connectedness talking so surprisingly deeply and personally with other human beings that you have never met before. WE also talked about how it can be easier to open up to strangers, And about permission. When is it ok to talk to people and when will they regard you as w weirdo.

The Conversations

How does it feel to be vulnerable? It’s a big question. I think about the flooding this weekend and how that must feel for some people dealing with that – very real. Last year, I was made to feel really vulnerable. I’m still not sure I can forgive that person. It’s taken a long time to feel safe around people again and to have any kind of trust. Sometimes really scary things happen. And in that absolute vulnerability, everything feels really different. Looking back, being that vulnerable was the making of me.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for? I would say, to be strong and fit and have no fear so that I could be bold. To have more motivation and focus. Inner peace.

What is your favourite word? Discombobulated. Piglet is one of my friend’s favourite words. Some words just sound good. They sing

When the best leader’s work is done, people will say: ‘We did it ourselves.’ 

It’s a pity we don’t have more leaders like this. We seem to prefer charismatic leaders – hierarchies, I suppose.  I think maybe we would do better with these kinds of leaders that empower people. 

We talked quite a lot about social media and whether or not it reduces social isolation? And in what ways is it useful to us? And we talked about the pressures for young people- you know having a life being broadcast one status at a time. We talked about the limitations of twitter to have any nuance in conversations. Yet that the anonymity of social media does mean you can hear and consider the views of people you would never meet in the real world. This has helped some of us to expand our thinking, knowledge and views around some subjects.

Why are you here? Its really important to support events like this (SLAP). I came because my friend invited me

How can we forgive? When the person knows what they did. I’m not sure you always should forgive. Not forgiving can give boundaries and keep people away if you don’t feel safe around them. Though not forgiving keeps something that someone else did i wrong close to you. In teaching, I have always treated all my students with ‘Unconditional Positive regard’.

They need to know that so they can trust you. There used to be this thing called gifted and talented but studies showed that often the students that were identified as gifted and talented, whatever their actual ability, completely outshined the others. Maybe this is that unconditional positive regard. We then went on to talk a little about the human givensThese are the givens and drivers of human nature. We talked about how these help you to understand where someone is coming from. It gives clues to what they need by the behaviours they show you.

The Human Givens

They seemed relevant to a game called ‘Being Human’, so I thought I’d share them. They are as follows…

Security: A sense of safety and security; safe territory; an environment in which people can live without experiencing excessive fear so that they can develop healthily.

Autonomy and control: A sense of autonomy and control over what happens around and to us. 

Status: A sense of status – being accepted and valued in the various social groups we belong to.

Privacy: Time and space enough to reflect on and consolidate our experiences.

Attention: Receiving attention from others, but also giving it; a form of essential nutrition that fuels the development of each individual, family and culture.[12][13][14]

Connection to the wider community: Interaction with a larger group of people and a sense of being part of the group.

Intimacy: Emotional connection to other people – friendship, love, intimacy, fun.

Competence and achievement: A sense of our own competence and achievements, that we have what it takes to meet life’s demands.

Meaning and purpose: Being stretched, aiming for meaningful goals, having a sense of a higher calling or serving others creates meaning and purpose.

Questions and quotes added. 

“Its our power to make others’ shine”

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

“Don’t do other people’s work.”

“Behaviour is communication.”

“If I knew what my own prejudices were, I wouldn’t have them.

‘Do you believe in dreams?”

“Let your life speak.’

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Summer Tea chats in Leeds

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*Photo taken by Jon Dorsett at John Lewis Store, Leeds ( part of the summer activities programme.)

This weekend Tea and Tolerance visited the John Lewis Store in Leeds and then popped in at the Lingfield Community Hub Retro Fair. It was an amazing weekend. 

Amongst many topics, we talked about the kind of world we would like to live in, and the most important qualities we can have as human beings. Kindness and patience came up as forgotten but very key qualities. Speaking nicely, and being kind were talked about. Could we be kinder and more patient with each other we wondered? Will we? Will you? You decide. We spoke to lots of people of all ages and these are some of their responses to questions they answered…

Do you think before you speak? No. Not as much as I should.

In who’s interest? Sometimes it’s easier not to think about it…sometimes it can be too much and you want to just close the door and shut it out. Once you open your eyes to whats happening in the world you can’t shut them again.

The lack of resources for communities, I mean can you believe that police stations are only open certain days!! What’s that about? That’s not in anyone’s interest.

When people don’t look out for each other.

How does it feel to be wrong? Not being right can be good as it’s how you learn to do something better.

I don’t like it when I get told off – is that getting it wrong?

Where do you belong? I belong with my family. In the pub – having a drink and a nice time with friends. Wherever I feel comfortable and welcome. Wherever I lay my hat…(who sung that song?)

If you had a superpower, what superpower would you have? Patience. All the Super powers in the world!!

If you could change anything, what would you change? Everything. It all needs changing. Where do you start? I would change the school system….as people learn in different ways and that needs to be accounted for or you can cause damage to young people.

* Photographed and drawn by Jon Dorsett for John Lewis Store Leeds as part of the community activities taking place there every weekend this summer.

When do you ask for help? When I need to go to Hospital? Didn’t you just ask me for help to read this question? Oh my god. I did, didn’t I! You’ve really hit on something there with me. That’s deep. This is brilliant!

Not often enough as I don’t like to bother people…(do you mind when people ask you for help?) No not at all it’s a privilege…that’s a good point.

What do you think will happen to our beautiful planet in our lifetime? Well there’s pollution – that’s already happening…and then there’s certain leaders, they are going to change this planet beyond recognition. It’s going to get worse before it gets better!

What is the difference between you and me? We have different skin but we are the same on the inside. Everyone is different and unique but then we are all the same as well. Our finger prints are all different

What inspires you? Everything inspires me: Nature, science, beautiful buildings, nice people, art, talking about exciting ideas.

What floats your boat? Adventure. Gymnastics. Dancing.

What are you grateful for? Friends. My health. Being alive. Sunshine. My kids everyday.

*Photos at Lingfield Living Local and John Lewis Store,Leeds.

What makes you happy? Ice cream in the park on a sunny day. Being with my family.

What stops you in your tracks? Rats. I don’t like them. One came right up to my foot. It was huge.  I was terrified.

What makes you hopeful? Events like these that bring people together and inspire people.

What are you afraid of? Nothing….Spiders!

What makes your blood boil? When someone sets the way things will run and then nobody else sticks to the plan…that does my head in.

Trump!! The state of the world.

People dropping litter – things like that where people don’t show respect.

Why are you here? Like what is my purpose? I try to connect the older ones with the younger ones and vice versa. They don’t always understand each other’s ways of living in the world…I try to help with that.

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. Some people say when people die they appear like a light in the room. Is that a ghost or just energy? I believe in energy.


Do you believe in Unicorns? Yes! (Performs a little unicorn movement.)

What’s your favourite word? Mermaid. Explore. Ice cream!

How much are you worth? Those two are priceless to me- they mean absolutely everything. ( About his kids) Am I priceless to them too? I guess so.

How does it feel to be vulnerable? In a way, not nice. But it can be really helpful and it happens to everyone at some point. I guess it depends how you handle it.

Can you laugh at yourself? Yes – all the time. I even laugh at my own jokes. You have to laugh don’t you!


*Photo at Lingfield Living Local ‘Retro” Fair, July 2017.

Article written by Zoe Parker and Lucy Meredith of Tea and Tolerance. Tea and Tolerance is a live art ‘installation’ – a roaming tea trolley brewing up refreshing conversations which go beneath the surface. We support better cohesion, understanding and tolerance within our communities. This weekend was possible thanks to generous funding from John Lewis and Leeds Community Foundation #GiveLoveLeeds fund.

Tea and Tolerance received a Leeds Fund #GiveLoveLeeds Grant, thanks to support of the Fund’s Anchor Partner, John Lewis Leeds. Managed by Leeds Community Foundation, The Leeds Fund creates positive change in the communities of Leeds that need it most by distribributing financial grants and support to community projects across the city.


Leeds Big Lunch ( & #BIGconversations)

Who was it that said an image is worth a thousand words?

Well I would have to agree in this case. Tea and Tolerance with Eden Communities and The Real Junk Food Project ( and their Fuel for Schools project) outside Leeds Art Gallery ( Victoria Gardens). Lovely conversations and people, and a beautiful scorcher of a day! We were able to test out our new ‘Conversation Picnic” which includes a pack of cards containing questions, instructions and quotations, jam jars and chatterboxes. This all happened on May 26th 12-2pm 2017 – thanks to everyone who came down. Wonderful photographs by Angels of Youth. Feel free to  share your experiences about the day below….