The Activity of Agora Square
Agora Square is a powerful discussion model to explore the complexity of ideas and uncover a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.
Set up your space so every participant can both see and hear all others. Generally, this means no more than 15 people sitting in chairs in a round or oval configuration in a reasonably quiet setting. All mobile phones, electronics, and other distractions should be switched off to allow everyone to focus on the conversation.
Distribute pen and paper to each participant. Invite each person to write an open-ended question on their paper (without their name.)
When ready, collect all of the questions and read each aloud one by one to your group. Invite each person to vote on which question the group would like to start with.
As the lead facilitator, create a respectful environment for sharing to help your group explore the complexity of ideas and uncover a deeper understanding of the topic. Your key role is to approach the conversation as an observer, allowing participants to share and, where necessary, asking open-ended questions along the way.
Throughout the session, guide your group by:
- Asking open-ended questions based on what the group shares
- Resisting the urge to share your own opinion
- Inviting your group to consider that there are no right or wrong answers.
Most conversations conclude with a natural conclusion when everyone feels that they have had the opportunity to contribute.
Moment of Reflection
- Do you feel that you know more about this topic than you did an hour ago?
- Did anything shift in your perspective?
- What did you learn about another person or their perspective?
- What surprised you in our conversation today?