W elcome to The Depolarization Project. We exist to help people listen, learn and lead. We do this through researching what works (and what doesn’t), providing training courses to businesses, students and community groups and encouraging leaders to open up to changing their own mind.
HOW WE CAME ABOUT
The Depolarization Project sprang from a course at Stanford University that was implemented in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election. It drew attention from around the world after a feature in the Financial Times.
WHY DO WE NEED TO DEPOLARIZE
The share of people in the US and UK who think their country is divided
Democratic men are married to Republicans.
The number of US progressives who say a vote for Trump would strain a friendship
We are spending more time with more people who think like us. It makes it harder when we encounter difference, establishes barriers where previously there were none and fragments society. We believe that for society to function effectively, we need to embrace political difference - not walk away from it.
CHANGED MY MIND AND POLES APART
Changed my mind is The Depolarization Project’s podcast. We’re proud to work with Open Democracy, a global media platform, to share it with you. Each week we ask guests to tell us a substantive issue they have changed their mind on. We’ll ask them why they changed their mind, and what they have learned from it. Leaders are frequently told they shouldn’t change their mind, but in our polarizing times, is that still the case? Your hosting team for this podcast is Laura Osborne, Alex Chesterfield and Ali Goldsworthy. Find the latest episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Stitcher, TuneIn and a whole host of other platforms. Alternatively you can subscribe directly to the rss feed.
COURSES AND TRAINING
We run bespoke training courses for leaders in the community, colleges, NGOs and the private sector to help them to better listen, learn and understand the impact of their work. Central to our approach is that seeking out views that are different to your own is critical to depolarizing society. But having those conversations, reflecting on what is said and then changing behavior is deeply challenging. Our courses, developed at Stanford University, help participants overcome those challenges.
We're committed to trying to discover what is, and is not effective at tackling polarization. That means we occasionally contribute additional research on the topic. We are currently looking at two areas. The first, which will be supported by David Broockman at Stanford University will consider the impact of single issue campaigns on polarization. Building on a piece published in Quilette in fall 2018, the BBC carried a 20 minute long thought piece on the topic in 2020. The second is again focussed on activist groups, examining what they can do to combat the spread of fake news and how our political viewpoint changes our perception of validity. This research is supported by the King Center at Stanford..
There is a growing level of interest in polarization, what causes it and how to tackle it. We regularly summarise the latest research that has been undertaken by others as part of our newsletter. An ongoing catalogue of the work we have found and featured is available as a back catalogue. Please note whilst we focus on our book, Poles Apart, we have ceased updating this database but will return to populating it when it is published. To keep up with the latest work from others that we think will stimulate your thinking, sing up for our newsletter or follow us on twitter.
Founder and CEO
Associate and Cohost Changed My Mind
Associate and Cohost Changed My Mind