What We Do

The Speakers’ Corner project aims to promote freedom of speech, public debate and active citizenship as a means of revitalising civil society in the UK and supporting its development in emerging democracies.

SCT pursues its aims by forming local Speakers’ Corner Committees made up of representatives of the public, private and voluntary sectors which ‘own’ and steer projects designed to stimulate and support public discussion, debate and consultation on the issues which matter most to people.

Where appropriate, the Committees’ work may include establishing new Speakers’ Corners in public spaces as symbols of citizens’ rights, focuses for national or civic identity and platforms for public engagement.

 But at the heart of each initiative lies a programme of events designed by the Speakers’ Corner Committee to reach every community in its area. Some may take place at the Speakers’ Corner; others will be organised in a range of venues, from Council Chambers to community centres, schools and places of work and worship. They could include debates led by interest groups, consultations mounted by public services or politicians or discussions stimulated by academics or others on subjects from the global to the national, regional, local and cultural.

Some may lead to greater public participation in decision-making and service delivery and an enhanced level of accountability and legitimacy in the democratic process; some may inspire practical community action at a local level; some may lead to improved understanding between or within communities. Some may be simply educative or enriching on a personal level.

The central principle in all these events is that they should be accessible to all, strictly non-partisan and non-adversarial, welcome diversity and seek to inform opinion, identify common ground – and, as often as possible, entertain.

SCT’s approach is based on the belief that association between citizens and the free, face-to-face exchange of ideas, information and opinions – with each other as well as with the decision-takers among them – is a key to rebuilding trust and participation in Britain’s civil society and developing vibrant civil institutions and robust rights in developing democracies.


  • SCT’s UK Programme

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    The rights of citizens to hold and express opinions lie at the heart of Britain’s democratic way of life. But almost 150 years after popular campaigning and an Act of Parliament led to the creation of the original Speakers’ Corner as a platform for debate and a symbol of those freedoms, the importance we attach to them has diminished and so has their power to inform and enrich our society.

    SCT believes that the re-engagement of citizens in the exchange and development of ideas and opinions – with each other and with the decision takers among them – is a key to rebuilding trust and participation in our civil society.

  • SCT’s International Programme

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    Freedom of expression and the right of assembly lie at the heart of all civil liberties. They are the aspiration of those who struggle for freedom and the prize of those who have achieved it.

    They provide the basis for relations among citizens and between them and their governments and the means by which societies develop and progress.

    SCT believes that Speakers’ Corners could play a significant role in embedding key civil rights in developing democracies and in providing a forum for the public debate which is vital to the health and progress of their societies.

  • SCT’s Educational Programme

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    SCT, in partnership with a team led by Professor Stephen Coleman, Professor of Political Communications at the University of Leeds, and the BAFTA-winning digital design company Bold Creative has developed Youth Amplified, a website launched in May 2012 which features a range of educational resources to support citizenship teaching and provide young people with an innovative and engaging introduction to the speaking and listening skills they need to become vocal and active citizens.

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