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Brexit, the pandemic and recent economic and political turbulence have highlighted major faultlines in UK society, adding to the real concern about polarisation and division – even “culture wars” – in the UK.

But to get a picture of the true state of the nation, and whether we should be worried about our direction, we need high-quality, long-term data that tracks values, attitudes and beliefs over time.

That’s why the Policy Institute has been leading the UK arm of the World Values Survey, one of the largest and most widely used academic social surveys, which since 1981 has captured the views of almost 400,000 respondents in over 110 countries.

Drawing on insights from this major research programme, our expert panel will discuss the key challenges and opportunities facing the UK, from changing confidence in institutions and attitudes to democracy, to views on immigration, religion, trust in others and more.

We’ll also explore how the UK now compares to other nations and whether the nations within the UK are coming together or drifting apart.


  • Mark Easton, Home Editor, BBC News (chair)
  • Maria Sobolewska, Professor of Political Science, University of Manchester and co-author of Brexitland
  • David Halpern, Chief Executive, the Behavioural Insights Team
  • Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian columnist and writer
  • Bobby Duffy, Director, the Policy Institute at King’s College London

For the first time in over 15 years, the UK is a full participant in the WVS, generating new insights as a result of our partnership with UCL, the Behavioural Insights Team and the Social Change Initiative, and the kind support of the ESRC, Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland Office, the British Academy, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Unbound Philanthropy and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

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At this event

David Halpern

Visiting Professor

Event details

Bush House
Strand campus, 30 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BG

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