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Conversations with Strangers

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Listening Lab


NOV 13-14, 12-6PM EDT
Founders Lab

972 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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Join us at the Opening Reception

NOV 13 2-5pm

For 12 weeks, 5 listeners went into the 5 boroughs of NYC to encourage passersby to have meaningful interactions. Conversations With Strangers is a culmination of these actions.

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The Challenge


A grueling pandemic, increasing social isolation, and a divisive political season left many unheard, unseen, and unsure of how to come together.

Our Solution


To explore this challenge, emerging young artists from The Door worked with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to create participatory installations in shared spaces.

We invited passersby to converse, reflect, and connect with us by asking a simple question:


How has your life changed?

"Last year, I used to get in so much trouble. I used to be a really bad child: Getting  arrested, always getting the phone calls home from school. I was really bad. And over the year I really found myself, and that I don’t need to act out, because there’s really no sense in it, and now I’m a different person."

Washington Square Park

New York, NY


00:00 / 01:46

"I got diagnosed with anxiety, which I kind of knew I had, but it's weird when you're told you actually have anxiety... At first I was super stressed out about it. Cause you don't really want to accept it.

And I thought with my parents, it was also weird because they kind of didn't want to accept that either. None of us wanted to, and it was a big problem."

Washington Square Park

New York, NY


"I feel like, like it happened for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. So I feel like I just got to embrace it now. Just step into it and do what I need to do. And I just want to help people and bring joy and happiness and help people."

St. Nicholas Park

New York, NY


"We missed the human element. I don't have friends. All my classmates, none of them are my friends.

I didn't know anything about them. We finished the whole semester. No communication, no email communication, no telephone communication. I don't have anyone to ask. If I have some challenge, you know, someone from my classmates, has a better knowledge, give me some feedback, opinion. Give me some direct.

That's part is gone. You see what I'm saying? Everything is by yourself. And you feel like: You see them, but you don't know them."

Jackson Heights

Queens, NY


"A lot of people are pretty much paying attention to the Asian hate and the thing is that's always been going on. And the fact that, it's a mainstream thing to know that. is such a frustrating thing because people are like, 'now you guys know, and now you guys understand what it's like to be a minority'.

It's like, no, we've always understood you. It's like for you, it's the first time that you're knowing we're a minority, where you thought of us as not being minorities. So it's pretty frustrating."

Prospect Park

Brooklyn, NY


"I've moved. I wasn't in a very good house. Uh, well, I, wasn't in a very good space before and now I'm in a much better place with really good people. I think that I'm happy to be in a job, but, there's this huge thing going on with the stock market that people are talking about, and there's a chance that it can change people's lives with the money you could get from it and Bitcoin.

So I'm getting into that and then getting my brother into it as well. We're really hoping that some good things come from it."

Spring Street Park

New York, NY


"No, one's going to be happy for you. So just live your life. I've noticed that, especially in the past year, no one wants to see you win.

Like, I thought nobody wants to see you lose, but nobody wants to see you win either."

Coney Island

Brooklyn, NY


"It's been a very I don't know year"

Washington Square Park

New York, NY


00:00 / 01:49

"No matter what your parents are people as well. And once you understand that they are people, you start understanding that they have struggles, but they had you. So they were able to keep pushing forward and make sure that you are right. So I'm going to make sure that, I know I'm going to pass on my troubles to my kids, but at the same time... they're going to understand that I love them."

Washington Square Park

New York, NY


Experience more at our exhibition.


NOV 13-14 2-5PM EDT


Our Process




Members from The Door apply to be co-creators in what will eventually become Listening Lab.

5 are chosen, and begin a projected 12 week program to learn experience design, team building,  empathetic listening, and exhibition design.

6 workshops are put together by professionals from various fields to create a social practice and discourse training program.

Members begin meeting weekly with an executive coach to process their experience and focus their purpose.

The team starts operating as Listening Project 2021.



Every week, the team participates in workshops, plans outings in the 5 boroughs of NYC, and goes to chosen public spaces to listen to strangers at a table, recording what participants share.

Members continue Their coaching through the first few weeks of the Listening period.

Weekly workshops help to build leadership skills, philosophical understanding of purpose, listening/conversational ability, and technical knowledge of public art production.


A database​ is made, and members of the team organize the collected materials: audio, video, and photos.

The team lands on Listening Lab as a name for thactualizing the project the team set out to make. 

Join us and RSVP by clicking here

The Listeners


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Mahfouz Soumare






Support Team


These individuals supported the creation of Listening Lab, through professional development, instruction, coaching, workshops, advising, conversation, design and production.


Deena Ismail

The Door

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Sarah Gerber

20/20 Studios

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Tiffany Chan

Higher Love

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Matt Chavez

Art Plus People

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Rei Chou

The Feast

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Dirk Leidig

Life Labs Learning

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Mindy Fullilove

Social Psychiatrist

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Jack Saul


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Natalie Black

Culture x Curate

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Nickey Frankel

Founders Lab

Contact Us

If you'd like to learn more, partner with us, or learn how you can start a Listening Lab in your community, get in touch!

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