To help as many people as we can reach to create a written self-portrait, describing their individual aspirations, talents and reflections on their own experience, and so to be authors of their own piece of literature.
We will publish the results digitally, and selectively in book form. From this body of work we wish to stage a mobile exhibition and theatrical works. so as to illuminate the city’s unique and diverse qualities in human terms, both for its inhabitants and for strangers who do not know it. Providing an unsentimental experiential, personal and reflective body of work that the personal diary once provided for historical purposes on how individual careers are performing for those involved in them.
We are working with and seek local businesses and professional organisations who would benefit through a practical demonstration of the contribution that conversation, collaboration and this literature can make to the city’s population and the future of work in the Midlands.
The Muse wishes to open up new channels of communication and facilitating better understanding between people in different occupations. Encouraging original thinking about how new forms of work can be invented in response to the growing problem of youth unemployment and the more demanding expectations of graduates and already established professionals in search of a more fulfilling working life.
We aim to invite relevant members of the community to Conversation events of the kind that the Muse has organised in a dozen different countries, in different businesses, organisations and universities. In the Conversation event, individuals who do not know each other are paired and converse with the help of a structured Menu, about what is most important in their lives. These Conversations have been shown to establish friendships, trust or appreciation between people from different faculties, origins and social categories, who seldom have significant or serious exchanges.
The Muse Conversations have been used internally by government departments, borough councils, universities, multinational corporations, the World Economic Forum, business schools and many others to improve mutual understanding among staff. We envisage extending them to be a source of enlightenment for the young contemplating their uncertain futures.
The Muse Conversations events have been held in fourteen countries and numerous universities, with over 2000 participants.
Examples of portraits we have made in the past may be seen on www.oxfordmuse.com, in two volumes about Oxford entitled Guide to an Unknown City and Guide to an Unknown University, and in a number of still unpublished books about Londoners of many kinds, e.g. the disadvantaged of south London, small shopkeepers, the London Gay Men’s Choir, the fashion industry, etc.