Polarization is growing in our societies. Most Europeans believe that their countries are more polarized than 10 years ago, and that people increasingly perceive and describe politics and society in terms of “Us” versus “Them.”
Through the "STOP - Storytelling against Polarization", our organizations from the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Turkey are searching together for ways of counteracting this trend.
The project started in December 2020 preparing online questionnaires and one-to-one interviews with the aim to collect in a Study the meaning of 'polarization' in each country, but also to explore the similarities and differences in the narratives, attitudes, values, desires, fears and needs of people who belong to different 'tribes'. During this phase, it became clear that the connotations associated with the word differ per country, so finding a common ground became the first challenge. Not an easy one!
Our next step will be the development of a Method Book and Training Toolkit in which we will collect the methods and activities used throughout the project in our training courses, focusing on depolarization. We hope and believe that with these, we will inspire other trainers and educators who work with adult learners.
Last but not least, we intend to create a Tabletop Game that will playfully encourage the participants to address their identities, stories, more-or-less fixed positions and conflicts without the guidance of a facilitator.