TWS @ The Canvas cafe, 20th february, 2017
Wait to sit down.
Watch Jen's intro.
Look around the room.
Watch Jen's speech and leave.
This was the first TWS London event ever organised on facebook (check out the new TWS London facebook page on the right), and also the first event which featured multiple hosts and multiple tables of strangers in a room at the same time. The event was held on the national day of action in support of Britain’s migrant communities, in cooperation with Chaigaram, a socially responsible business creating employment opportunities for refugees. I used this event to record video footage and photos to give a sense of what a TWS event feels like.
I also used this opportunity to talk to a variety of people, some of whom were first time TWS attendees and others who were regulars. No one I talked to apart from the hosts knew each other. I talked to Adam, a TWS hosts who told me that the goal of TWS is always to try to keep events apolitical, although of course this event, very much in support of refugees, was taking a stance on current political debate in the UK, a positive and necessary stance in my opinion and the opinion of those present. This again plays into the idea of TWS speaking to a very particular community, as I will discuss further on. Generally, the anecdotes and stories about TWS experiences which I heard at this event were those of incredible openness, one informant told me she had been invited to a host’s house party the very evening after attending a TWS teatime and she was now one of her close friends. Jen was present with her boyfriend, whom she had hosted at a TWS event, as was Chi. Chi told me that he was currently in the process of becoming a host. While in our prior discussions he had always insisted that he did not keep in touch with the people he met at TWS, now he would, I imagined, fall into the inner circle of hosts and perhaps become part of a new community.