Brexit Café in the East Midlands: Conversations amongst the confusion

On 13 July 2018, academics from Loughborough University London’s Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance, hosted a Brexit Café at our East Midlands campus as part of their 28+ Perspectives on Brexit project.

The 28+ Perspective on Brexit project, part of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative, organised a “Brexit Café” in the East Midlands to provide a platform for deep meaningful conversations about Brexit for civil society stakeholders in the region.

Almost 50 participants representing a wide variety of business, NGOs, charities, higher education institutions and other civil society stakeholders attended the café event, and engaged in an evening of conversation on the subject of Brexit.

The participants were invited to discuss three questions in rounds of around 15 minutes each: What are your foremost thoughts about Brexit? How do you think Brexit will affect you professionally? And how do you hope the UK-EU relationship will look like in 5 years’ time?

Dr Borja Garcia, co-investigator on the project said: ‘the “Brexit Café” adapted the world café model to encourage meaningful, calm and reflective conversations on Brexit, where participants are required not just to express their views, but to pay attention to others trying to join dots and create new patterns of thoughts. It is designed to generate a calm debate and exchange of views on an issue that has certainly divided people across the country.’

MP for Loughborough, Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan, attended the Brexit Café and closed proceedings on the evening by thanking all the participants for their views and opinions. She highlighted that it is “very useful to listen to other people’s views as to why they voted the way they did”.

This edition of the “Brexit Café” demonstrated that the format adapted to the reality of Brexit by the 28+ Perspectives on Brexit project team is an innovative and different way of generating conversations on such a divisive issue. This Brexit Café brought the debate to the East Midlands and demonstrated that a real dialogue is possible. Participants congratulated the project team for the format, which facilitated a very fruitful and enjoyable evening for them.

Professor Helen Drake and Dr Nicola Chelotti from our Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance are part of a multi-generational, multidisciplinary and gender-balanced team who have won funding from the ESRC to be part of its UK in a Changing Europe programme, 28+ Perspectives on Brexit. To find more information about the project, take a look at our blog.

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018. 

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. 

The University has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking. 

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.