What is a Dialogic Culture?

A Dialogic Culture is open, inclusive, and respectful…

The culture of an organization or community is the generally accepted way of doing things. Culture is not necessarily rational - it often includes contradictions to manage unresolved conflicts. It holds a story about the situation that includes memories of past experiences that may be irrelevant, and assumptions about the future that may be unrealistic. It varies in different sub-cultural groupings. A Dialogic Culture is open, inclusive, respectful. People have a common story about the organization. They know what they and others are trying to do and understand their contribution to the beneficial outcomes intended and achieved. They have a voice and influence others purposefully.


Ben Wright (USA) is a Vice President at Abilis Solutions a supplier of information management and technology to correctional agencies. Ben had the remarkable experience of creating a dialogic culture from scratch. He drew on dialogic principles and skills when opening a new prison. As warden he hired and trained staff, developed policies and procedures, managed budgetary forecasting, and achieved a safe and healthy environment. Ben’s career includes 23 years in state service and five years on the Faculty of Radford University. 

Leo Hylton (USA) is a PhD student, currently incarcerated in Maine State Prison where he helped spearhead the creation of the Earned Living Unit, a largely self-governed and low-restricted housing unit developed through the implementation of dialogic restorative practices and principles. As a prison resident of 15 years, and a restorative justice practitioner-scholar of 6 years, he collaborated with fellow residents, prison staff, and administrators to establish a dialogic culture within an institution that is historically hostile to interconnectedness and community building.

Susan Williams (USA), licensed Clinical Psychologist (degrees from Yale and VCU) is Mental Health Project Manager for the Virginia Department of Corrections. An original VADOC dialogue practitioner, starting in 2012 with Dialogue Associates under the leadership of Director Harold Clarke, Susan is now an Accredited Professional Dialogue Practitioner (APDP). She has extensive experience within the Department generating cultural and operational change in complex situations, and has introduced dialogic principles into other agencies, boards, churches and community groups for better engagement and problem-solving.

Lars-Åke Almqvist (Sweden), founding director of Alamanco AB consulting company, has extensive trade union experience. For 29 years he worked on changing the traditional union culture in the Swedish Municipal Workers' Union, Kommunal, rising to Vice President for the past 12 years. Now, he and his ten employees work with Swedish municipalities’ care for elderly and disabled people. They engage the entire local organizations to develop new ways of working, creating small dialogic working teams as a better means of planning care.

Participatory Dialogues announced so far

During the conference you have the opportunity to engage in over 50 Participatory Dialogues. These sessions expand on the theme for the day in small groups of 15 to 25 people and are co-facilitated by Accredited Professional Dialogue Practitioners and other carefully selected individuals. Here are a handful to whet your appetite…

  • Caroll Macey (UK) and Mary Morand (US)
    How could a group or team enable a broader dialogic culture?
  • Sharon Burgess (USA) and Faezeh Tamimi (Iran)
    How does it help to build effective teams?
  • Elisabeth Razesberger (Belgium) and Martin Chen (China)
    Dialogic culture: awareness, skills, willingness - how ready are you?
  • Jon Steinman (Canada) and Peter Garrett (UK)
    Why might people fear a dialogic culture at work?

Further details announced each week

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