PEP Talk stands for People Engaging in Place. It is literally a 'pep talk' for a community. A catalyst that starts conversations, identifies key themes or aspirations there is an appetite within the community to address (specific to that neighbourhood), delivers an event to inspire ideas and connect people together, and facilitates discussion about how to work together and self-organise to translate these ideas into ACTION after the event.
The key goal of PEP Talks is to CONNECT and form relationships between different community members, residents, businesses and organisations. Building capacity and social capital and linking up local businesses, organisations or residents who can work together to achieve their aspirations.
Forming these connections in a meaningful and productive way enables people to develop ideas for their local places together, and work collaboratively to self-organise and take ideas forward, leaving a legacy in that place after the PEP Talk.
PEP Talks is a PROCESS, not just a one-off event. It involves a long preparation time - we call this a PREP Talk. This 4-8 week period is spent speaking face-to-face one-on-one with local people, talking to people in the street, engaging with local businesses and organisations. We believe it is the people that live, work or pass through an area that know it best - the local experts - so we get out there and talk face-to-face with the broadest range of local people to start forming relationships, understanding what is already happening, and what is important to people.
The outputs of this prep stage of the PEP Talk - what we call a PREP Talk - involves us synthesising down the key themes, concerns, ideas and aspirations that come straight from local people. We often make this into a short film to communicate and give a voice to some of the key ideas coming out of this initial research. It is these conversations with local people that set the agenda and theme for the PEP Talk event itself. This ensures each PEP Talk event is tailored to the neighbourhood or place it is held and the speakers or activities at each event are decided based on the themes that have come straight from the community.
The PEP Talk event itself invites speakers, artists or local groups to talk along the theme specific to that area to give inspiration and help develop ideas that can be applied to that neighbourhood. Each event uses different methods to prompt discussion, share and build on ideas and connect with one another.
After the PEP Talk event we use a mix of digital and physical methods of staying in touch - such as meet-ups and social media - to ensure the widest range of local people can continue the conversations had at the event and the ideas and relationships developed continue to blossom. HERE+NOW facilitates the startings of taking these ideas forward after the PEP Talk event - providing the platforms to connect and useful tools, links and resources to kickstart the projects that result, but this is a PEP Talk - a prompt to start action which is then made sustainable by being continued through a self-organising local community.