SOUP originates in Detroit and the first SOUP, planned on Super Bowl Sunday in 2010,
was more like a dinner that created the vision of what a night like this could do the community. At the second dinner, one of the presenters didn’t show up and so the gentleman who presented on his photo book about Rust Belt architecture left with $110. That is quite simply how the SOUP journey began! Those first few dinners were full of risk takers, many of whom were artists. What we did was execute on the idea. There wasn’t months spent on planning, or building a manifesto, or creating a website. We did the first dinner with all the naivety it takes to start something. We literally just did the work and our meaning, value, and purpose developed over time.
Quickly, SOUP moved from just artists pitching at the event to ideas about land-use,
justice, small businesses, and urban agriculture. These other ideas quickly
and organically made their way to the SOUP stage. We didn’t have a solid structure
in place yet. About six months in, there was a dinner where six ideas pitched. I
remember sitting in the back of the room and thinking, when we reached idea 5,
that I couldn’t process any more information. That was the month where we put a
limit on the number of proposals to 4.
What it's all about
SOUP is not about pushing a brand, a trend, a product, or a business strategy.
SOUP is not a topical event where we sit in circles of like-minded individuals
who want just art, or farming, or technology, or small businesses to succeed.
It is convening all of these previously siloed people together and having a
conversation about what matters.
How to get involved
Don’t do SOUP monthly, try quarterly or six times a year as it can be a lot of work! It might take you two or three months to get your first event off the ground.
You can start your own SOUP in your town, village or neighborhood. Here you'll find a guide to help you. This guide is based on the experience of 7 years of dinners in Detroit; use it as a guide and feel free to add and adapt based on your local context.