Newcomers and locals do not have enough opportunities to meet. And when they do, it’s nearly always in a context in which locals are helping newcomers – they do not meet as equals. Furthermore, these encounters typically take place in formal settings such as government institutions, and charity centers. This results in very few opportunities for newcomers and locals to build social connections that would allow them to get to know each other personally, share ideas and concerns and eventually develop friendships.
By connecting people in private rather than public settings, SINGA’s Living Room Events foster social connections among newcomers and locals differently. The event series began with Living Room Storytelling, in which people in our community were invited to offer their living room as a place for newcomers and locals to meet and share stories around common themes and memories. Not only do people’s homes create a relaxed and more personal atmosphere but they also make it easier for people to meet as equals. The format also turns the tables on common assumptions of who hosts whom, by also making it possible for newcomers to welcome locals to their home. Through Living Room Events, SINGA offers the tool to building a local welcoming culture.
Since our very first Living Room Storytelling in 2016, over 450 people have been welcomed to a total of 35 Living Room events. Half of the events have been hosted by newcomers and 5 variations of the event have since been created and tested, including: Living Room Storytelling, Cooking, Cinema, Games and Concert
SINGA for me means motivation and it’s an opportunity for me to organize exciting events myself and to bring people together. Here it doesn’t matter where they come from and which background they have.