Action dialogues are gatherings of around 20-25 experts from diverse sectors, including universities, government, civil society and elsewhere who meet for 2-5 days on a particular theme. The interaction that develops from these gatherings affords all participants the time to speak about their work, and discussions can begin on further possible action including how to multiply and expand successful projects. Action Dialogues are university-led but do not focus solely on academic research; they seek rather to include many of those with experience and knowledge in the theme being discussed. Thus the purpose of an Action Dialogue is to feed academic research and other knowledge into strategies and productive projects which can have an impact on poverty and inequality.

After the Carnegie 3 Conference in September 2012 and its report - the Rough Guide, it became clear that more was required than another conference or another book. Whilst there had been considerable relevant research within universities as well as numerous initiatives outside academia – much of this existed in isolation. Yet, these ‘pockets of excellence’, including work by communities, governmental and non-governmental organisations around the country, coupled with deep research could surely provide more effective strategies against poverty and inequality. With this in mind, “action dialogues” have been developed as a way of pollinating experience, ideas and research in a more productive way than has happened in the past.