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P3 Conversations Explore Passion

People Ÿ Passion Ÿ Purpose (P3) – Join the Conversation, 7:30 p.m., Mondays, Aug. 13, 20 and 27, at Intiman Playhouse, culminates a nine-month project involving 50 participants, who were partnered to focus on identified passions, discover the fundamental motivators of learning and gain a sense of self-fulfillment, productivity and success along the way. Project outcomes offer us a window into how we learn and support learning in our community.

The P3 project asked 25 people, of all ages and from all walks of life, to intentionally pursue their passion for nine months, guided by 25 mentors. The project considered questions of critical importance to the future of learning in our society – have learning and education become out of sync with one another? Is education a means to success; and if so, who defines success – and how does it influence learning approaches?

The public is invited to join the conversation as P3 participants, researchers and the committee discuss their experiences and discoveries and we examine how that can impact systems of learning in our society. Each night focuses on a different aspect of the project: August 13 Voyagers, August 20 Guides, August 27 research findings. Tickets to the events are free.  Advanced reservations via are encouraged. Clock hours are available.  For more information about the project, visit

P3 Project Background:

In planning the six-month 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (The Next Fifty), a citizen committee was formed to consider the topic of learning. The committee agreed that both learning and education were critical to the future of our society, and they shared a sense that learning and education have become out of sync. They were concerned that “success” had been so universally defined by society – and had become so ingrained in systems of learning – that it could impact the ability of a person to identify and follow his/her own intrinsic motivation if it differed from the norm.  And, without that individual sense of passion and purpose, people would struggle to achieve fulfillment, productivity and “success.”

The Learning Committee sought to address the topic with the greater community in an untraditional manner, and so they proposed an experiment – a learning journey – that the community could observe to collectively explore and answer several probing questions:  What can we learn about how we learn—how we pursue our greatest passions and therefore move civilization forward in the next 50 years? Does passion for something stimulate learning and productivity at a high rate? What real and imagined barriers to pursuing one’s passion exist? What assumptions do people carry about themselves, their innate talents and vulnerabilities, and how do they compare to other people from completely different walks of life? What might we discover that both aids and abets these individuals from improving their lives and in turn improving their community?   What does valuable support of this type of learning process look like? What are the implications learned from participants and their discoveries about how we design systems and institutions of learning in the future?


Twenty-five “Voyagers” were chosen through a competitive application and interview process in August of 2011. Twenty-five “Guides” were then recruited and paired with Voyagers one month into the project. Both groups participated in an orientation and were provided with toolkits that included a tablet to help them document as much of their realizations and experiences as possible. Voyagers were also divided into smaller groups to participate in Passion Search classes, led by Centerpoint Institute. The classes helped Voyagers to identify their passion, consider ways to use it intentionally over the following months, and insight into themselves from a supportive group of peers. 

Participants represent a wide variety of demographics present in Washington State, coming from variety of backgrounds including:  abled and disabled; artist and attorney; child, parent and grandparent; employed, unemployed, and retired; ex-military, ex-nun and ex-convict; foreign and native; gay, straight and bi-sexual; high school graduate and Ph.D.; low-income and affluent; male, female and transgender; school teacher and student; single, married, divorced and widowed; teen MENSA member and teen with autism; young (14) and old (75); and just about everything in between.  Learn more about the participants and follow their stories in Voyager & Guide Profiles.

In addition to responding regularly to questions devised by the P3 Project, the participants gathered for two full-day workshops to share their experiences.  A team of researchers from Seattle area universities is reviewing documentation collected over the nine months in order to draw conclusions, identify trends and themes, and help craft official findings for the experiment. The project culminates this month with the series of P3 conversations, a part of Next 50 Learning month.

P3 project partners include Antioch University, Centerpoint Institute, KCTS 9, Paradigm Studio, Seattle University, University of Washington and Western Washington University.  For more information on Learning month, Next 50 and other outstanding programming offered at Seattle Center, visit or call 206 684-7200.