Love-Driven Politics

A dialogue series about the urgency of love as a political virtue and practice


Fields of Knowledge
  • Politics / Economics
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions

Love-Driven Politics Collective (LDPC), Slought, School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania

Contributing Institutions

The Center for Public Theology at Wesley Seminary (Washington, D.C.), Mike McCurry, Director


In partnership with Columbia University's Digital Storytelling Lab, the blog Refinery29.com, the love-based consortium WeStandwithLove.org, and the social media app/start-up TableTribes

Opens to public


On the web


Slought, the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Love-Driven Politics Collective (LDPC) are pleased to announce a series of pop-up conventions across Philadelphia from July 25 – July 28, 2016 taking place in parallel to the Democratic National Convention. Our hope is that these dialogues will open up the possibilities of love-driven politics as a response to political evil, acrimony, anger, and cynicism, and serve as catalysts for further conversations and work in our communities.

This election season has heightened feelings of bitterness, anger, resentment, and cynicism about the role of politics in American common life. A prevalent sense that everyday citizens are unable to participate in the political process––the elections and otherwise––in any meaningful way has become a pathology of our American moment. Regretfully, we have been witnessing a widespread sense that politics is a wholly separate realm from the values and sources of meaning in people's lives. These conditions need to change, and we believe a profound source for that change is love.

How do we create the new practices, polities and politics that contemporary crises demand? In an age of cynicism, defeatism, and resignation, how do we assess efficacy and relevance of what Dr. King called "the strength to love"? How do we quicken the sense of urgency our times demand to respond with love, and in love? How do we rediscover underused archives, traditions, and imaginaries from the past?

Parallel to the Democratic National Convention, the Collective is partnering with arts, civic, and religious organizations from different regions of Philadelphia to host what we are calling "pop-up conventions." The idea is to gather a relatively intimate group of everyday people in a common space in your institution for a dialogue about love and politics. The prompting questions will be "Why Love? Why Now? Why Us?" There will be one pop-up taking place for each day of the convention.

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The members of the Collective are scholars, activists, teachers, students, artists, curators, social innovators, and religious leaders. The Collective is dedicated to an educational mission, one that flows in and out of conventional classrooms and coordinates with a wide-variety of public teaching spaces, partners, and opportunities. The Collective dispatches its work through meaningful invitations to partner and to be in solidarity in cultivating a political culture animated by love and marked by compassion, forgiveness, mercy, generosity, grace, and empathy.

The ends and aims of the Collective are non-partisan and, at this early stage, largely interrogatory. We are seeking to assess and determine what role, if any, love plays in people's political lives. Which is to say, the Collective is inviting everyday people and institutions to talk about love and politics.

Through scholarship, teaching, the generation of forms of public engagement (public dialogues and new media), and the construction of curricula, the Collective seeks to productively disrupt the cynicism and incivility that have been hallmarks of American political life for the last half-century. We aim to do this by catalyzing the constituents of our civil society––ordinary citizens, civic and religious organizations, institutions of higher education and K-12 schools, arts organizations––to join in the regeneration of the love-driven common good. This is the work of love-driven politics.

Schedule and sites:

Monday, July 25, 6:30-8:00pm
Colored Girls Museum

4613 Newhall St, Germantown

The Colored Girls Museum is a memoir museum which honors the stories, experiences, and history of Colored Girls. www.thecoloredgirlsmuseum.com

Tuesday, July 26, 1:30-3:00pm
Fleischer Art Memorial

719 Catherine St, S. Philadelphia

One of the country's oldest nonprofit community art schools with a mission to make art accessible to everyone, regardless of economic means, background, or artistic experience. fleisher.org

Wednesday, July 27, 6:30-8:00pm
Church of the Advocate

1801 Diamond St, N. Philadelphia

The Church of the Advocate unites community residents, volunteers, churches, service providers and educational institutions in a cooperative effort of mutual support and learning to improve the life prospects and well-being of North Philadelphia residents. www.churchoftheadvocate.org

Thursday, July 28, 1:30-3:00pm
Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave, Fairmount

Eastern State is considered to be the world's first true penitentiary; today it is a National Historic Landmark and operates as a museum and a preserved ruin. www.easternstate.org