So many things that are old are new again, and the concept of a Salon is no exception. I’m not talking about a hair salon, which is the image I conjure up when I hear the word, rather a salon as a forum for discussion and debate.
A succinct description from my friends at Wikipedia: A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host. They are generally defined as a cultural event linked to literature, art or discussion. Historically, salons are associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 21st-century the tradition continues, with the modern-day cultural salon thriving in cities around the world.”
In London, salons are formatted similar to a live TED talk – with a 20-minute guest speaker to kick off the evening – with the goal of stimulating discussion afterward. Topics have included literary works, philosophy, science and art and salons are held at different venues throughout the city.
I have always been a believer in the power of “live” events, and it appears that it holds true today for intellectual pursuits as well as entertainment. We would all be better off if we participated in civil, in-person dialogue instead of hiding behind impersonal social media. A good discussion coupled with rational humans and a good glass of wine could make for quite the stimulating evening!
Think about the role you could play as an inspiring host. Can you convene a meeting of the minds who would revel in a good discussion about art or literature or other ideas? You could be the one to create a salon environment to entertain your mind as well as your friends.