About Us

Who We Are and What We Do

The Institute for Diversity and Civic Life has a mission to advance more democratic public spaces through storytelling, research, and education. We are committed to expanding civic imaginations and building bridges across differences. 

IDCL was founded in 2015 to research, document, and foster conversations about the rich diversity of Texas. While IDCL’s work began with a focus on Texas, we know that as goes Texas, so goes the nation. Texas is a microcosm of the nation as a whole. Increasing diversity and theocratic threats to democracy are not unique to Texas. And so we work with scholars, activists, organizers, and artists across the country and the globe. Together, we build tools, skills and strategies for nurturing democracy through community-based narratives and research.

Our programs harness the power of stories to transform. We create platforms to amplify underrepresented voices, empower people to tell their stories on their own terms, and democratize the historical record. IDCL’s narrative and storytelling initiatives include:

  • Religions Texas: A digital archive and community-based oral history project that documents the religious diversity of Texas
  • The Migration Narratives Project: An initiative supporting community-based narrative projects that document and explore experiences of migration in Texas
  • Oral History for Social Change: An asynchronous online certificate program on ReligionAndPublicLife.org that empowers students, scholars, activists and community members with tools, skills, and strategies for creating impactful oral history projects

IDCL also supports public research and bridges academic and public conversations about belonging and recognition. These initiatives include:

  • The Grounded Knowledge Project: an initiative to build networks among scholars and explore ways to engage in community-based research that benefits the common good
  • The State of Us: a series of webinars, research, and reports that explore the issues shaping our communities, collective identities, and civic spaces in Texas
  • Religious literacy resources including curriculum guides and workplace guides


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