About the TTSC
The Talk To Strangers Campaign was conceived of in 2005, when founder Kristen Eaton spent several months working in Ireland. She was impressed by how much more freely folks (both local and visiting) discussed political and cultural issues. Moreover, these discussions were not seen as personal attacks on one another, but as respectful if often passionate exchanges.
Returning to a polarized United States, Eaton thought to herself that Americans needed to spend more time talking to strangers - i.e. exchanging viewpoints with people with whom we disagree. As she did just this, she became more and more aware of the stories we tell ourselves, our children, and our friends about the "other side." E.g. we might claim that Republicans don't care about womens' rights, that Democrats are all Commies, or that either is of touch with reality.
Eventually, Eaton came to the conclusion that in order for these "strangers" to start talking, they needed to first take a good hard look about the stories they were being told about eachother - in short, to apply a sense of consumer awareness to film, print...even to conversation.
An avid reader, writer, and theatre-goer from an early age, Kristen has always had a respect for stories and their powers to distract, to enlighten, and to present us with what John Waters calls "unsettlingly truthful versions of ourselves."* In a bid for diversity, Eaton hopes to see independent voices gain ground, rather than just those stories backed by big studios or big publishers. And in a society that dismisses all but the most commercially successful artists, she also hopes to inspire storytellers of all disciplines to band together as colleagues.