Designing for the Divide: A Conference on Community Action Across Lines of Difference

West Virginia University
March the 23rd & 24th, 2012
In almost every issue concerning for example governance, the environment, economic development or healthcare, the lacking ability to communicate, cooperate and compromise obstructs the successful and effective addressing of challenges.
This conference aims to present ideas that help build a bridge in order to reduce social differences with the help of communication design, service design, user experience design, social science and partners in civic engagement. Among others projects, media innovations and citizen brigades will contribute their share to this reduction. The conference will also schedule workshops and planning sessions to jump start some of those ideas.

There are four topics to be dealt with at the conference: information, communication, organization and action.
For the field of information the questions are to be answered, how the influential forces that deepen polarization can be corrected and how binary oppositions can be modified into nuanced viewpoints that reflect popular opinion.
In the communication field a conversation should be opened about how to communicate effectively across lines and respectfully.
In terms of organization the focus will be put on questions like: How can we organize and retain difference? Do we need to think differently about group formation? How do we help opposing groups to collaborate?
For the action field projects serve as examples for successful community action.
For further details and the schedule of the conference see