VIDEO: Meet the elephant in the room. His name is Taboo

Taboo Talk is a volunteer-run organisation which brings people together to chat about taboo subjects.

Taboo Talk work organisers pose a question to the public every month. In their April session they asked people via Facebook and email: “Can we separate the art from the artist in light of the #MeToo movement?” Participants are then invited to different locations around Sydney to discuss the subject matter with the help of trained facilitators whose role is to maintain a fruitful conversation.

Amirah Amin, the founder of Taboo Talk, started what she calls “a social change initiative”  to offer people new spaces to share their thoughts and perspectives outside of their usual circles. She feels that by creating an environment for robust conversation she can bridge the divide around controversial subjects and tackle certain stigmas.

“Can we separate the Art from The Artist in light of the #MeToo movement?”

The Taboo Talk sessions feature two group talks using what Amirah describes as a fishbowl model. Attendees are invited to sit in one of two circles – the inner and the outer. The inner circle is for those wanting to jump right into the conversation, the outer circle is for those who would like to sit and listen for a little while. The “elephant chair” stays vacant and its purpose is to allow those on the outside to jump in if they have a pressing statement to make.

The volunteers who run Taboo Talk call themselves “The Herd”. One of them is Kosta Lucas, who says he always learns something new at their sessions. Last year he facilitated a talk asking people how social media affects their lives and to his surprise he found a lot of the participants were sharing stories about how social media had been a positive contribution to people’s well-being. He believes that by drawing in eclectic crowds the diversity of perspectives will naturally come out.

Taboo Talk has been operating for a year and a half with its financial life blood being a donation jar. They aim to continue and expand, and develop  programs so that Taboo Talk can pop-up around the country. – Bakri Mahmoud