10 steps to running a Street Scene

There’s no better place to enjoy the diverse wonders of the city than on the streets. Street Scenes is a network of people gathering on the streets to meet strangers and enjoy the public walkways.

Ideally, Londoners would regularly have the option of joining a friendly bunch in a public space.

To do that, we organise events and make sure there are always at least three people who can come, host and chat to people.

If you want to get involved email us at info@streetscenes.org.uk.

Here are some guidelines that we recommend so Street Scenes are enjoyable for everyone. It’s easy, but these will help it go very smoothly.

1 Find a location

We have many good locations listed in our past events. You might want to find a new one anyway.

Places with a medium amount of passers-by are good. If it’s too busy, you’ll get in the way and people will feel rushed; if it’s too calm you might just end up alone. Near transport hubs, like train stations and bus stops, is good.

Choose places where people won’t be disturbed. There are plenty of spots where residents won’t get bothered by noise and passers-by will feel welcomed, not blocked, by what’s going on.

In London, many places which seem public are privately run. It’s worth finding out beforehand.

If someone has a good reason and asks you to move, it’s usually easiest simply to do so and maintain good relations with everyone. You’ll often find that a new spot makes a welcome change, even if you liked the last one. Adapting to new spaces and situations is part of the fun.

2 Recruit a team

You might be happy setting up on your own in the street. I’ve done that and it can be a good way to spend time. However, it’s fun to set up with friends or like-minded people.

Choose a date and arrange for your team to meet you in a given place. If you’d like to join our network, get in touch with us so we can connect you with other street enthusiasts and share your event.

3 Entertainments

We always have some entertainment to share with passing strangers. There are a million options. See our list for inspiration. Sometimes the number of activities makes the place into a miniature fairground.

We want our events to welcome everyone. It’s worth thinking how your entertainments will be viewed by families, for example.

You will have most fun if you bring along something small to show or play with, like origami, top trumps or drawing materials. Your team might be able to bring extra entertainments too. There’s something for everyone.

4 Street furniture

Depending on the location you choose, you may want to bring some small, portable furniture to increase seating options and provide table space for activities. This also gives the sense of a happening that makes people stop and inquire.

We often use light and portable tripod chairs and picnic tables. Sometimes we use other found items, like milk crates, boxes, cable spools and other pieces.

5 Setting up and getting going

Arrange yourself and your furniture. Prepare your activities in a visible place and enjoy the street view.

If you have something to offer, like origami frog-making classes, you may want to say it out loud. People are ever so curious.

6 Welcome strangers

Friendliness is the spirit of Street Scenes. Everyone has something to offer and the more welcoming you are, the more people will surprise you.

7 Explaining the scene

Sometimes, passers-by are unsure why you’re there.

They are often surprised to see people on the street and suspect that you are selling something or recruiting. We just say we’re there because we like meeting new people and would rather do it on the streets than somewhere more exclusive. You could invite them to follow Street Scenes online so that they may come to future events.

If you are asked by an official, so long as you are being considerate, as these guidelines suggest, you should be confident that you are not causing any offence. Street Scenes are designed to be the most social, inclusive and respectful activities around.

8 Enjoy it

Sometimes organising and hosting an event, even a small one, can make you feel busy and distracted.

The event will be most successful if you’re having fun. That’s the point of it all and people will share most with you if they can tell that you’re in a good mood.

9 Rubbish is ugly

Gatherings in public places often create extra mess.

It’s easy to encourage people to take rubbish with them, and to clear up excess afterwards with a bin-bag you’ve brought. This will leave a good impression of Street Scenes.

10 Report back

It’s good to share news of your event with us at Street Scenes directly or just with your friends.

We’d love to hear what you got up to, by email, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter. And please join our network for future events!