How To Guide For Designers

DYO and Deliberative

The Design Your Own (DYO) Ethics Symposia offer an online space for ordinary citizens to "link and think" together about ethics issues that affect our lives and impact us all. The Symposia are informative and educational. That said, they are not webinar lectures, TED talks, or "join in and chat" apps. They are online "live" participatory events and never recorded.

We think of them as small-scale "citizen conventions": deliberative exchanges with and for people interested in sharing their views, and to listen and to learn about the ideas, perspectives and traditions of other citizens. Including perspectives we have disagreements about. A lofty aim to be sure. Why not?     

The DYO element is a nod to the maker model. We welcome and invite self-taught tinkerers, nonexperts (experts are welcome too) who choose an ethics topic they care about and are keen to hear others share their own knowledge and perspectives. We call the DYO "chooser-of-subjects" and "prompter-of-questions"---The Designer.  

The Deliberative element is a nod to Symposia-goers, known as The Symposiasts. It's a wordful, and represents the people who attend the Symposia. They are not a heavy metal band, a cappella group or theater company.

We believe that in a democracy ordinary citizens should and ought to be trusted to deliberate over and make consequential decisions together.

For this reason, The Symposiasts are equal partners in this enterprise.

Everyone involved in the Symposia is urged to listen and to contribute their thinking and viewpoints. In doing so, we are designing a new community of linkers and thinkers, who are practicing democratic participation in talking through common and practical ethics issues and problems. 



The Symposia Designer

A Symposia Designer can be anyone 16 years or over with an interest in practical ethics questions and problems that impact us individually and collectively. We hope that is you! So...what's next? 

Choose A Topic

You may have an ethics topic you think and care about. You also want to hear what other people think. Alternatively, you may want to consider what other people are already discussing in Ethicsworld to get inspired and come up with a topic idea that interests you. To find examples, take a look at the 2022 Symposia Archive or questions from previous Big Ethical Question Slams.

When making your decision, think of your topic as a question and discussion series. The Symposia are not one-offs. We ask Designers to choose a topic that we can all talk about for at least 3 one-hour sessions.

Meet with Symposia Coordinators

Our Symposia Coordinators love meeting DYO Designers-to-be. Their enthusiasm deepens and increases once you describe and explain your ethics topic. They work with you to introduce your proposed Symposia in the following ways:

  •  set the best available dates and times for your series.
  •  review your recommended introductory information about your topic, such as a reading, a video or audio resource.
  • host the Zoom link.

While the Symposia organizers are responsible for publicizing your Symposia, the organizers always welcome you to: 

  •  promote your topic through a "Meet The Designer" video interview.
  •  end the series with a podcast that advances and extends the discussions from the series.      

Please feel free to invite friends and anyone else you think would be interested in your ethics topic to attend and share their views too.

So... Draw Yourself In as a Symposia Designer. We look forward to hearing about the ethics topic that must be discussed! Contact us at: [email protected]





The Symposiasts' Role

The Designer has created an Ethics Symposia series you will not want to miss--and that means simply will want to take an active role as Symposiasts. While Symposiasts are not a heavy metal band, a cappella group or a theater company, everyone plays and has a part. So, embrace the role: 

  • look over the special resources the Designer has selected to inform and enhance the discussions.
  • bring your perspectives and understand that we will have disagreements that we can handle amicably, with humor and seriousness too.
  • plan to attend the entire series, because discussions on ethics demand more than one session.

The Symposia is an ethics community created by and with people you don't always know, but come to know one ethics discussion at a time.

The DYO Ethics Symposia develop and establish small groups or "mini-publics" for discussing real-world ethics issues as a practice and as way to think through how we can disagree in a democracy--and still trust each other to make consequential decisions together.

                                Symposiast with us!