Increasing social polarization quickly pushes people to their limits in conversations about controversial topics, making democratic and constructive conflict resolution and dealing with sociocultural diversity a challenge. Rather than reaffirming divides, the “demoSlam – workshops for understanding” bring people with contrasting opinions together, equipping them with the space and tools to discuss social issues in an innovative new way that goes beyond the ‘for/against’ logic usually seen in debates.
Slammers engage with their beliefs over the course of a preparatory workshop lasting several days. Working in pairs with different views, they later present the results of their work in front of an audience in a way that stays true to everyday life, is personal, and entertaining. Just as important is the subsequent audience participation. As the challenges of social polarization are felt throughout Europe, demoSlam is under further development both locally in Germany, but also for cross-border workshops to foster understanding. Joint meetings also play an important role, ensuring participant professionalization and networking, as do the evaluation and further development of the method for nationwide scaling.