Public Service

Community Conversation

What is the Community Conversation Series?
The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University and Indiana Humanities, along with several statewide partners, established a program to work with local community partners to:

  • Convene conversations among community leaders and citizens from public, private and non-profit sectors to address major challenges facing communities;
  • Evaluate possible solutions for addressing community challenges and discuss best practices;
  • Provide regions with access to resources, technology, and expertise in the creation of solutions to regional problems;
  • Provide ongoing consultation to continue to address these challenges

How does a Community Conversation work?

The conversations vary by community and depend on the topic and the audience. They may be a day-long meeting, beginning in the morning and concluding in mid-afternoon; they also may be a two-hour event with a keynote speaker in the evening, a mobile bus tour or any activity in between. A nominal fee may be charged to participants to cover the cost of meals and materials. The cost of the speakers, planning and promotion will be covered by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, Indiana Humanities and event sponsors. After the workshops, The Bowen Center for Public Affairs will provide additional consultation as requested.

How have these Community Conversations helped individual communities? 

Over the past four years, more than 20 Indiana regions have been selected to participate in Community Conversations. These events have served as the catalyst for additional conversations. Some conversations have fostered specific plans to face the challenges presented—such as a community-wide clean-up in Orange County, broadband internet connection in Warren and Fountain Counties, an action team in Greensburg that applied for (and received a large grant), or the launch of the Horizon 2.0 project in Elkhart. What happens in an individual community or region depends on the objectives sought by the planning committee and the participants as well as the subsequent leadership commitment by participants.