We’ve compiled a list of all the good reasons to host a salon in 2021, but how will you choose a tantalizing topic?! Not to worry fellow Salonistas, here are 21 fresh ideas to get your wheels turning. If none of these spark joy, we also recommend your bookshelf as an avenue towards endlessly fascinating topic ideas (unless, of course, you like boring books).
1. Our Relationship with Nature
There’s plenty of research about the health benefits of engaging with a natural environment. To start off with, take a listen to Susan‘s interview to learn more with psychotherapist and psychiatrist Sue Stuart-Smith, author of the The Well Gardened Mind.
2. DEFI and Cryptocurrency 101
What a great opportunity to give a platform to your friend who never shuts up about crypto! Why not give them carte blanche (with a time limit of course) to drop knowledge and answer questions about the decentralized finance revolution?
3. Death By Choice
Between life-extension technologies and New Mexico becoming the latest U.S. states to pass a medically assisted suicide bill, will death increasingly become a choice? What does that mean for society?
4. The Return of Live Music
Most musicians have been starving for opportunities to perform, and to earn a little money if you and your friends can pitch in. Invite artists to share stories about their songs, or maybe have a mixed format salon with a performance and discussion element. How has the landscape changed for the music business in a post-Covid world?
5. Community Living
The idea of living in “intentional communities” has cycled in popularity, but is making a big comeback in the wake of the pandemic. With all the social and financial benefits of living in community, why do these so often devolve into cult-like behavior?
6. Meet An IRL Explorer
Who in your community has travelled the world? Get a group together and throw out some questions to a local who has scaled mountains, canoed across oceans or maybe travelled to outer space.
7. Legalize It
In addition to the states that have legalized recreational cannabis, last year Oregon decriminalized all personal drug possession and California might do the same. What do we want a legalized drug market to look like and how does that evolve our society?
8. Why NFT’s Make So Much Sense
Digital goods are now rare, but why?! Looking at artists like 3LAU and Beeple who have pioneered the NFT movement and made it mainstream, what new considerations does their success raise? What about its developing role in professional sports? Bonus points if you can showcase some NFTs on a TV screen or pass a tablet around.
9. Local Unsolved Mysteries
People love unsolved crimes, so tap your friend who listens to way too many murder podcasts, loves to talk about it and give them a platform. You can make it unique to your region by focusing on local cases.
10. Tracing a Garment
Where do our clothes come from and what is the true cost of fashion? How does so-called fast fashion contribute to pollution and can we evolve our buying habits to support sustainable manufacturing?
11. Buying A Home
Is buying a home in the US cancelled for younger generations? Is real estate the best place to park your money, and is Gen Z going to cancel the concept of home buying completely because it’s become so impractical? What about buying real estate in groups?
12. The Future of Food
What are the realities of food waste and how do we put a stop to it? Why does some produce overseas taste so much better than in the U.S.? If there’s someone in your community who’s tracking the evolution of the food supply chain, pass them the mic and ask some questions.
13. Famous Cocktail History
Pick a few iconic cocktails and make a whole salon theme around them – trace the often fascinating history of famous drinks and serve them up for your very own in-home version of bastardized drunk history.
14. Comedy and Cancel Culture
Where are we at as a society with consequence vs. cancellation culture and what does do to comedy? Why can certain legacy comedians like Dave Chappelle get away with making jokes that would get anyone else “cancelled” and what does that do to freedom of speech? Can the next Dave Chappelle emerge within the current socio-political climate?
15. Bringing Back the Matriarchy
Open up a discussion about ancient and modern matriarchal societies and inevitably invite questions about how the patriarchy came to dominate the planet. Even if you don’t succeed in smashing the patriarchy in a single evening, trust it’ll be a lively and majorly mind-expanding topic.
16. Theoretical Physics and You
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with the headiest person in your circle who loves wild theories about the nature of our reality. In a perfect world you can find a physics professor who will answer the most extreme questions about parallel universes, quantum entanglement, time travel etc.
17. Dating Apps, Divorce and the Decline of Casual Sex
You’ll immediately open up a fascinating and hopefully humanizing can of worms by inviting discussion about modern day love, “swipe” culture and whether how quick “no’s” on dating apps ultimately correlate to marital separation. And why are younger generations having less sex?
18. Post-Isolation Social Anxiety
How do we handle the very real social anxiety so many of us are experiencing post-Covid? We know that connection to community is essential for our happiness, so why are so many of us resisting coming back together and how can we be supportive of each other?
19. Homeless Initiatives That Work
The number of people experiencing homelessness has skyrocketed in the pandemic and local government is apparently unable or unwilling to respond, so what can we do? A conversation about privately funded, successful initiatives (like Haven For Hope‘s transformational campus in Texas) will spark some ideas about what taking care of our most vulnerable populations actually looks like in practice.
20. How Do We Spend Our ‘Work Time?’
A quick listen to Susan‘s interview with anthropologist James Suzman raises a lot of questions about our ideas and ethics around work. Where is the balance struck between internalized capitalism, the notion that an unproductive day is a loss, and the poetic ideal that work is love made visible?
21. Real Talk About Screen Time
In the U.S. our screen time usage has gone up in the pandemic from 12 hours a day to closer to 16! What does science have to say about this trend? What does the research say about appropriate amounts of screen time for children? Steve Jobs believed if he’d grown up with unfettered access to tech his imagination would never have developed to be able to conceive of it.