Workshops and Courses

Citizens’ dialogs

To strengthen democracy, we need a new dialog culture and new spaces where citizens can meet and exchange ideas on a regular basis.

We create these spaces with our citizens’ dialogs. We invite people to talk to each other about the ideas and values that hold our society together, but also about their frustrations, fears, hopes and ideals. We decide together with the participants which specific topics we will talk about. The content can be very diverse, always depending on current public debates. General topics we bring along are loneliness, sustainability, compatibility of family and work, migration and integration, alternative energies, gender equality, social media algorithms, political radicalization, social inequality, democracy and pluralism.

We prepare the content in such a way that it is easy to understand and everyone can participate in the discussion. After a brief impulse, we move into group work processes and finally open up the format: In a café-like atmosphere, people can discuss further in small groups over coffee and cake.

The goal is to create a new togetherness without prejudices and to establish a knowledge transfer between science and citizens, to prevent misinformation and thus the formation of populism and radicalization.

Articles and contributions about our methods, experiences and research in this field include:

If you would like to organize a civil dialogue with us, please write to us at

Educational offers for schools

At schools we work with different formats of political education. We offer workshops on different topics such as democracy and liberal values, discrimination and racism, gender equality, masculinity, homosexuality, respect, European Union, social media, or sustainability. Various methodological approaches are used such as group discussions, democracy learning according to Betzavta, and interactive online tools such as Mentimeter.

We prefer to implement a series of individual workshops over a period of several weeks or months, as this allows for more intensive work and creates bigger learning effects. But we also offer project days and project weeks with several classes at the same time. Here, work phases in small groups can be alternated with plenary discussions and the groups can be mixed and swapped in order to train the students to learn from each other.

Articles and contributions about our methods, experiences, and research in this area include:

Integration workshops with refugees

We regularly organize series of integration workshops in refugee accommodations. There we talk about topics such as democracy, freedom, emancipation, pluralism, civil society, identity, discrimination, racism, belonging, homosexuality, respect, gender equality and personal responsibility. The workshops help refugees to integrate in Germany, and to come to terms with their new lives in another country.

Articles about our methods, experiences and research in this area include:

Multiplier workshops on discrimination and racism

Every year Social Science Works organizes multiplier workshops on discrimination and racism, mostly sponsored by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). These two-day courses aim to inform educators, employees of public institutions as well as civic volunteers in detail about racism and discrimination as well as other forms of group-based hostility and about the socio-psychological, historical and sociological backgrounds. Furthermore, we discuss skills and conversation strategies to deal with discrimination in everyday professional life, but also privately and in civil society. The discussion strategies should help to change perspectives, to expose mechanisms and inconsistent argumentation, and to provide arguments to refute group-related misanthropy.

The seminar could also include an excursion to various memorials in Berlin such as the Holocaust Memorial and the memorials for the murdered Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, and mentally handicapped people. Visiting places where group-based misanthropy has manifested itself will help participants to leave the theoretical level and emotionally grasp what we are talking about, what dimensions something that starts as a “joke” or everyday discrimination can take on. Among other things, we discuss together what role autonomous and critical thinking, civil courage and responsible action play in preventing such horrific events. Building on the experiences from the field trip, we will then discuss together how to prepare visits to memorials for different target groups.

The workshop is state-approved as professional development in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt.

Articles and contributions about our methods, experiences and research in this area include:

Multiplier Workshops on Democracy and Pluralism

In these workshops we illustrate the ideas and methods of deliberation and explain how topics such as democracy, pluralism, freedom, tolerance, identity, or equality can be discussed deliberatively with native citizens and newcomers from other cultures. The goal is to remove the uncertainties that many European citizens have when it comes to justifying and articulating the fundamental values of their societies. These ambiguities and uncertainties make it difficult to counter tendencies of radicalization and extreme populism, and often lead to unclear impressions among newcomers and thus hinder integration. You can find the flyer (in German) with further information here: Flyer Multiplier Trainings Social Science Works 2018.

An article about our ideas and experiences with this kind of workshops is:

Resisting democratic decline: deliberation and some lessons from Germany and beyond

Empowerment of women with refugee experience.

Women are of particular interest in the integration debate: they are not very visible, difficult to reach, often considered “oppressed” and at the same time play an important role as transmitters of values to their children. If integration is to succeed, these women must be reached. The aim of our empowerment workshops is to stimulate an intercultural exchange between women, to open up new perspectives on life in Germany for them and to show them new possibilities for action, thereby increasing their self-efficacy in the long term. In addition, we hope that longer-term contacts or friendships will develop between the women.

The innovative aspect of our workshop method is the interweaving of deliberative discussion with approaches from theater pedagogy. Deliberation means an open exchange of opinions in order to better understand one’s own ideas and views, to put them into context and to enrich them with alternative perspectives. However, cognitive deliberation alone often reaches its limits, especially when participants have little experience with such discussion groups and do not speak the language well enough. Approaches from the theater can help here to make the topics and questions first affectively tangible and to communicate playfully what would otherwise have remained unspoken.

Playing theater promotes inner mobility, the ability to concentrate, and the sensitization of one’s own body and voice. We want to make use of this. Exercises for (self-) perception and sensitization as well as the ability to imagine; structured improvisation, e.g. on scenes from everyday (family) life; guided exercises on status, role, role change; communication training through games and basic acting exercises, such as “move-by-move”; biography work; movement/dance and light voice training are intended to broaden the horizon of experience, to make topics tangible that may never have been thought about before.

It is important to us that the encounters and conversations take place at eye level and in a protected space. We do not teach, but learn from each other. Accordingly, we provide a cozy atmosphere, coffee and tea, and delicious food.

Articles and contributions about our methods, experiences and research in this area include:

  • “Tell me who you are”. Together we explore our identity (see the German part of this website).
  • Short film: tell me who you are.