(2022)    Creating a community resourcing event

Resource Soup is an hour long low pressure resourcing event. It’s a space for community members to anonymously add questions to a bowl. Then the entire group addresses one question at a time in an open table discussion, sharing helpful answers and providing support.

It’s a great way to allow for vulnerability while creating an environment of psychological safety.  It’s easy to run, doesn’t require a facilitator, leads to unexpected conversations, and creates a sense of connection amongst the community. An activity to strengthen community, especially when it’s established as a recurring event. Resource Soup leaves me feeling open and energized.

Resource Soup was developed as part of my graduate thesis work, after being introduced to a similar salad bowl activity by a peer Vrinda Mathur. Hoping to build bonds with shared experience, she used the format to compile information / sentiments about levels of stress we experience as a cohort, she then read the responses to the group. Collaborator Jenny Chen and I adapted the format using it to anonymously compile questions which are then posed to a group. The exercise creates space for discussion that otherwise might not have been addressed. 

The name Resource Soup comes from the dissolving paper used when running the activity at RISD.  After each question was addressed it got added to the soup (a glass bowl full of water). Using bright colored pens made the color of the soup more exciting.  Though this may seem gimmicky, the dissolving paper was incredibly effective at grabbing people's attention and added to the ritual of the activity.

Within the RISD Masters of Industrial Design program we worked to establish Resource Soup as a monthly recurring event. I look forward to running Resource Soups in new spaces. I’m curious to see how the event will perform in different environments.

How To Run


    • All you need is paper, pens, and a bowl.
    • Also, a fully charged phone with Otter.AI if you are going to record the event.
    • Buy snacks or make it a potluclk
    • The ideal number of people for this activity is 6-11, so if more than 12+ show up divide into two groups. That means a recording device and bowl for each group.

    Running the activity

    1.    Form a small seated circle.
    2.    Have community members write questions or thoughts on a piece of paper and place them in the bowl. These are the thoughts or questions that will be brought to the group to respond.
    •     It's possible that not all the questions will be asked given time constraints - make this clear.
    •     If people don't want to write questions that's totally cool.
    •     As the session is running people are welcome to add more questions to the bowl.
    3.     If recording the event ask the group's consent to record. Place the phone in the middle of a circle.
    4.    Pick a question out of the bowl and ask it to the group. The group then discusses that question in an open format until they feel ready to move on.
    5.    Pass that bowl and repeat step 4.

    Activity End

    • 1 hour mark- If all the questions are not answered by the hour, check in with group to see if they want to continuing answering questions or  end the session.
    • Send an email thanking people for their participation and  be sure to share the audio with the group if you recorded the session.