The purpose of Democracy Cafes is to make genuine transnational politics possible, by providing an online space in which political activists from across Europe can meet and discuss pressing political issues in an informal “Cafe” setting.
Think of it as the digital equivalent of Jürgen Habermas’ coffeehouse. Democracy Cafes are meant for idea generation, not consolidation, which means that everyone’s opinion is listened to and respected.
# Flipped Meetings
Democracy Café while based around face-to-face small group meetings also enables online meetings using audio and video. Our aim is to bring these two modalities together in a way that preserves the quality or the original face-to-face gatherings.
Whether you meet in small group online video conference, or around a table in physical space, the Democracy Café format is able to capture these discussions, archive them and link them together in a structured research archive.
The focus is on group-to-group conversation. There is no current space on the internet that facilitates rich conversations between groups. Instead we have forums and other spaces that enable individuals to post their ideas into one "group" pot. We believe political conversation is best conducted in small groups where we can encoutner our differences and seek to find common understanding.
# The Format
During these meetings, the main facilitator introduces the question on the table and splits the main group into small groups of people that can discuss the question for a designated period of time. After the discussions of small group end, everyone returns to the main room and summaries are given of the outcomes of the discussions.
A World Café or Knowledge Café is a structured conversational process for knowledge sharing in which groups of people discuss a topic at several tables, with individuals switching tables periodically and getting introduced to the previous discussion at their new table by a "table host".
A café ambience is created in order to facilitate conversation. In some versions, a degree of formality is retained to make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak.
Small groups of four or five participants sit around a table and discuss an open-ended question for a structured amount of time.
# See also