Pankhurst Picnic: Getting the conversation going

You are in the park and people have arrived. Now how to get people talking? 

First thing make yourself known! As people arrive introduce yourself and gather people into a circle. Get everyone to introduce themselves and briefly say why they are there.

What next? We’ve pulled together a few ice breakers - there is no pressure to do these and you are welcome to adapt them.

Democracy? Ice breaker

This one needs no preparation at all - apart from some paper and pens:

  1. Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and ask them to write down using only 5 words what they think about democracy in the UK.
  2. Then each piece of paper is put into a hat or bowl or box. 
  3. In turn each picnicker takes one of the pieces of paper, reads it out.

Once everyone has read out, try to pull together themes and agree a consensus on what people at your picnic think of democracy in the uk. 

Just A Minute Democracy

Just A Minute is a Radio 4 game. It’s quick, and it’s harder than it looks! You will need a timer, the conversation starter questions, and a container. Put the “conversation starter” questions into a hat, bowl or box. In turn, draw a question. You must talk about the topic on your question for one minute, without hesitating, moving off the topic, or repeating yourself. It’s everyone else’s job to make sure you don’t hesitate, deviate or repeat! After the game, you might find you want to discuss points people raised.

Alternatively you can just use the questions we’ve put together as conversation starters or even add your own!

Conversation Starter Questions

  • What do you think Emmeline Pankhurst would think of number of women mps in Parliament?
  • Political education - Is citizenship education enough, can more be done to engage people in politics before they leave school?
  • Why is a fair vote?
  • Should 16 years old be given the vote? 
  • Who holds power in 2015?
  • What would Emmeline Pankhurst have thought about the Labour “Pink Bus” campaign?
  • What turns people off politics?
  • What could politicians do to make politics engaging?
  • What powers should be devolved?