Talking Park Bench is a pilot not-for-profit initiative with a vision of a society where strangers speak, listen and connect. It was founded through a crowd-funding campaign and with support from the City of Melbourne, CoDesign Studio and The School of Life. Founder Claire Dixon combines a passion for urban design, facilitation and storytelling with a background in innovation and community development.

Below Claire tells the story of where the idea came from.


"My smart phone unexpectedly ran out of battery while waiting for the train. After an initial wave of panic, I resolved to make the most of it and go in search of a conversation. I found myself a conversation and it ended up making my day. Thanks Val!

Later I was thinking about how cities, these dense human habitats, are melting pots of enriching social exchange, but they can also be lonely places at times. I reflected on my conversation with Val and the connection we made during that short time together and how we might fill the world with more conversations that go deeper, inspire and perhaps even make someone’s day.

Drawing on my interests in urban design, facilitation and storytelling, I developed the idea of the talking park bench."

Claire Dixon, Founder