No, not the kind where you go to get your hair-did, this type of salon is all about conversation.
As grad school ended and friends started to get busier with work, there seem to be less and less group get-togethers. And with that went those late night conversations that hinged between the realms of crazy talk and poignantly intellectual ideas.
The concept is derived from Salons of the Jazz era (think Great Gatsby and even up to the time of the beatniks). Salons acted as a meeting ground for contemporaries to talk about new ideas, form business relationships, and just generally to drink and chill. In an age where physical communities are becoming few and farther between, I believe many of us seek a forum to stretch our visionary skills in a face-to-face environment.
We started small and, against all my efforts to diversify the crowd, with all engineers. My first thought was to talk about the nature of scientific culture and then maybe find connections with community or spirituality. But since there had been a reoccurring theme of assessing values the past week, I decided to go with that.
I learned from the placemaking (placecraft.org) workshop the power of brainstorming and free association, so I went with that technique.
We began with values and, naturally with a group of engineers, the conversation veered towards science. We followed the thread and hashed out what science and values meant to us. I left everyone with the task of asking themselves tomorrow how these concepts of values and science arise in their daily lives.
It was a great experience and I can't wait until the next!
Kendra is the founder of 4Love+Science and works as a Science and Community Consultant