Our CONTEXT: We live in a world where trust and confidence in politicians and our institutions of democracy are in crisis, and where the forces of division appear stronger than the channels of connection. Yet, we have to find a way of living together whatever our views. We recognize that we may have to agree to disagree but ideally our conversations should help us to find common ground. We believe that this can be achieved by deepening and extending democracy throughout society.
Our MISSION is to invigorate democracy by involving ordinary people in informed conversations that enable them to have greater influence over the decisions that affect them.
Our AIMS are to:
- Stimulate conversations, especially across divides, about tricky issues, local, national or global, that help people to learn about those issues and find common ground, even when they disagree;
- Make decisions together and develop creative solutions,
- Link these conversations to the political process wherever possible,
- Strengthen the skills and capacity of citizens and the political system to ‘do democracy’,
- Recognise the importance of young people to the future of democracy by developing strategies to secure their involvement.
We do this by:
- Creating opportunities where all people can participate in democratic decision making in the community, in the workplace or wherever decisions are made that affect them so that they can live creatively together.
- Developing participatory formats that can be reproduced and scaled up or down for different locations with varied groups.
- Providing materials, formats and trained facilitators for participation to take place.
- Enabling people to come to a considered view so they can campaign for what they want by providing accessible information and by helping them to evaluate opposing views taking account of conflicting evidence, feelings and values.
- Ensuring that conversations are facilitated in a way that promotes listening as well as talking, non-aggression and inclusivity.
- Making the results of those conversations and processes accessible to all.
- Collaborating with partner organisations to achieve our aims.