2016 QRCA Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research
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Learn by Doing: The Cafe Conversation Immersive Experience

Posted By Susan Abbott, ARC Strategy Ltd / Think Global Qualitative, Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From Rebecca Bryant



I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna.  Beautiful city.  Legendary music venues.  And, of course, there would be the coffee shops! 

Several years back I was noodling around on the Internet looking at coffee shops, dreaming of a trip to Vienna and stumbled upon the Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations.  I had no idea that Vienna’s coffeehouses were so steeped in a tradition of verbal exchange.  One with such great value, that the Vienna Coffeehouse tradition has earned an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation.  

Talk about being gob-smacked!!

What motivates Viennese residents to sign up – at their own expense – and come to engage in conversation with travelers?  What is it about a one-on-one conversation that can be so powerful that it must be preserved?  What elements work to create such substantive and engaging conversation – conversation so profound – that those at the table come away with answers, more questions and the desire to return?  And, importantly, what might we as researchers learn from one-on-one conversations that would permit us to step away from our seat at the table and learn from the interaction of two individuals simply engaged in conversation?  I had to find out more.

When I shared this with several QRCA friends, interest sparked.  (…not surprise, eh, since we are all about conversation!)  Long story short, this year’s conference will include a pre-conference Vienna Coffeehouse experience.   I always love the conference, but admittedly, I’m particularly intrigued about going this year and finding out more about this Vienna Coffeehouse Conversation. 

…Starbucks eat your heart out!

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