Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building the World We Dream About: An Anti-racism Multicultural Program

Leader Resource 1: Discussion Cafe Instructions

Adapted from World Cafe Model.


Arrange the room so there are four tables with enough chairs around each to accommodate one-fourth of participants. Place a large sheet of newsprint and markers/crayons at each table. The paper will remain at the table as a record of the conversations held at that table. Place some type of marker (colored dot, a piece of masking tape, or an index card) on the back of ONE chair at each of the four tables. This indicates which person will remain at the table as "host" when the groups move. (Note: If your group is large, you might consider having more than one person playing the role of host. If you decide to, mark an additional chair at each table.) Divide participants as evenly as possible into four groups and post group assignments, assigning each a color (e.g., red, blue, yellow, or green). Provide each participant with a sticky dot, colored name tag, or other means of quickly identifying a person's color group.


Round 1 lasts 20 minutes and each subsequent "Round" lasts ten minutes.

Round 1

Invite participants to join all those in their color group at a table. Distribute Handout 1, Definitions of Racism. Give directions, using these or similar words:

  • Read the definitions aloud.
  • Talk about the definitions and create a list of examples from personal experience that make the definition clear.
  • Write/draw the examples on the large sheet of paper in the center of the table.

Round 2

Ask everyone except the individual(s) sitting in the "marked chair(s)" to move to another table, making sure there is a representative from EACH color group at each table. The host(s) remains at the table through all four rounds.

Give directions using these or similar words:

  • When the group arrives at the new table, the host plays the role of story-teller and scribe, explaining what is written on the newsprint as a way to describe the conversation, examples, and definitions that emerged during the previous round.
  • You are invited to add to the examples and definitions, linking and connecting ideas from your previous table to the current table.
  • You are invited to consider how the definitions and examples at the present table differ from and/or connect to the definitions and examples from your previous table.
  • You are welcome to add additional drawings or words as you reflect further on the definitions of racism.

Rounds 3 and 4

Repeat Round 2. Ask the host(s) to remain at the table for all four rounds. Invite participants to go to a different table for each round.