Civic Engagement - Public Conversations Project Dialogue

Civic Engagement - Public Conversations Project Dialogue

26 March 2015

Is your organisation ready to get involved with civic engagement?

We have developed a Civic Activism Awards Programme to allow Northern Ireland based voluntary, community or social enterprise organisations to bid for the opportunity to try out one of the 29 tools from the Tools Directory.

If your organisation needs to explore a deeply divisive topic that seemingly can’t be resolved through compromise then Public Conversations Project Dialogue (PCP Dialogue) could be a method which works for you.

These issues are often rooted in deeply personal aspects of identity, values and worldviews, and often undermine the creation of a cooperative and constructive style of interaction within a community.


PCP Dialogue is a methodology developed by the Public Conversations Project based in Boston, USA. It often brings together multiple parties with a wide range of views – including civil society, industry, academia, non-governmental organisations and community leaders.

In the mid-nineties, PCP Dialogue was used to tackle the highly polarised debate occurring in Maine’s forests over plans to protect endangered species.

More than 80 stakeholders – including forest landowners (industrial and non-industrial), environmental groups, academics, state and federal government agencies, citizen activists, and sporting groups – came together to develop a more collaborative approach to biodiversity through the Maine Forest Biodiversity Project.

The project led to a public outreach programme and three shared publications, as well as the development of a collaborative relationship credited with shaping new legislation, launching the Forest Ecosystem Information Exchange, and inspiring similar dialogue for freshwater ecosystems.


PCP Dialogue can be used as a standalone process without a predetermined outcome, or as part of a wider process.

Regardless of the context, all PCP Dialogues are focused on the primary goal of shifting relationships or communication rather than necessarily reaching agreement.

Following a preparation stage and the development of ground rules, the exercise enables a structured process for speaking, listening and reflecting, with equal opportunity for all to participate, and an opportunity to explore doubts as well as certainties.

Find out more about our Civic Activism Awards Programme by clicking here. 

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