Living Room Conversations is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 as a result of a transpartisan partnership focused on revitalizing civil discourse through conversation. Living Room Conversations offers an open-source format to facilitate structured conversations among people of differing views and backgrounds. Through these conversations we hope to increase understanding of various issues, build relationships, and pave the way for collaborative and inclusive problem-solving.
Our Vision is a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds work together with respect – and even joy – to realize the vibrant future we all desire.
Our Mission is to cultivate warm and respectful engagement among people who may hold profoundly different points of view, and build relationships that generate understanding and enable collaborative problem-solving.
Living Room Conversations has incredible support from people who advise, champion and partner with us. Our champions help connect Living Room Conversations with people and organizations who could use them, our partners organize and cohost conversations, and our advisory board provides guidance.
In today’s world, we often find ourselves unable to connect with people of differing perspectives. Not understanding each other has led to dehumanizing others in a way that is detrimental to our society as a whole. This has led to our increased polarization and political gridlock.
Living Room Conversations are a simple way that anyone with an open mind can engage with their friends in a friendly yet meaningful conversation about topics we care about. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground and allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
When people of all walks of life begin to care about one another, they can begin working together to solve the wicked problems of our time.
Living Room Conversations is an open source project. Please use, share and modify with attribution to Living Room Conversations.
In late 2010, Joan Blades partnered with dialogue experts, Walt Roberts, Debilyn Molineaux, Amanda Kathryn Roman and Heather Tischbein, to create a structured, intimate conversation format that would empower everyday citizens to discuss important issues with friends of differing political affiliations and backgrounds. The theory was that if two friends with different points of view, each invited two friends to join a conversation, with full disclosure about the intent and structure of the conversation, they could create a safe space for a respectful and meaningful exchange of ideas, develop new relationships and perhaps find common ground. This was the Living Room Conversations pilot project.
By early 2011, the pilot revealed that the Living Room Conversations structure worked. Both the observed and independent conversations were successful. Participants found they were anxious at the outset but soon felt comfortable using the format. In fact, these early conversations fostered relationships that continue to this day.