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What we learned: Conversations about Quality of Life in Nova Scotia

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Our partners at Engage Nova Scotia have offered this reflection on their experience with The Meet-Up

The Meet-Up was a six-week series of conversations and reflections related to wellbeing and quality of life in Nova Scotia. It was designed for anyone in Nova Scotia to take part on specific and intersectional topics. Some of the topics included how we spend our time, the impacts of income, and our levels of trust in institutions. 

Over one hundred Nova Scotians registered to take part in The Meet-Up. Some joined to connect, some joined to learn, and some joined to push themselves to start reaching out to those in their community again. Over the weeks we learned that the power of storytelling and public conversations can surface ideas and perspectives we need to hear more often and more loudly. 

What happened each week? 

There were two opportunities for participants to take part each week; the Blue Chair Chats and Whiteboard Jam Sessions. The Blue Chair Chat conversations were the “food for thought” portion of the week. The goal of these chats was “less panel, more podcast” to allow for unstructured, free-flowing conversation directed by guests. 

The Whiteboard Jam Sessions hosted by Engage’s Hailey Vidler offered an hour of guided reflection and discussion. It created the opportunity for participants across the province to hear from one another. The purpose of these Jams was to share, think and chat about the theme of the week through a quality-of-life lens. 

Active and passive participation

The Meet-Up was an opportunity to connect virtually and provide ways to take part actively and passively.  The Blue Chair Chats offered passive participation which saw higher engagement than the more active Whiteboard Jam Sessions. Having Wayside as a platform host, offered a balance of both active and passive participation as it held the Blue Chair Chat recordings and resources used during the Whiteboard Jam Sessions.

Joining conversations about quality of life 

We heard from participants that discussing the quality of life feels universal. The Blue Chair Chats were an opportunity to peer into what conversations about quality of life look and sound like here in Nova Scotia. There is something captivating about hearing the way in which others speak to their own quality of life and understanding how it is both the same and different from our own.

The most interesting moments during the Whiteboard Jam Sessions were when participants reflected on the connection between the data and their own stories. We heard from some people that they see themselves in this work and we also heard that others felt unsure. Wherever participants landed on the spectrum of their personal connection to the data, there was a consensus that the questions in the survey were the right ones to talk about.

Quality of life is a lifelong conversation

Whether it is the first-time participants and guests had considered a conversation about quality of life, or the thousandth time, we know the discussion is continuously evolving. Gathering around this topic sparked new questions, thoughtful considerations, community engagement, and most significantly, dialogue. There is a conversation to be had about quality of life and how it impacts all of us.

Bringing Nova Scotians together in an event like The Meet-Up to realize the potential of our shared and differing experiences will help us reach a more vibrant, resilient, and inclusive place for everyone. 

To learn more about the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Initiative please visit our website: https://engagenovascotia.ca/ns-quality-of-life-Initiative

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