The Center conducts research consistent with its mission of developing a greater understanding of policy issues that were at the core of John Brademas' public life and of Congress. Research focuses not only on examining the rules and procedures of Congress but also on the ways in which the Senate and House of Representatives help determine the substance of law and policy for the Government of the United States—through their leaders, committees, caucuses, conferences, staffs and individual members, and through the interaction of Congress with the executive and judicial branches. Projects commissioned by the Center also examine policy implications on public life, and how legislation can expand or better its effects.

In the midst of a devastating pandemic, as theaters, art galleries and museums, dance stages and concert halls shuttered their doors indefinitely and institutional funding for entertainment and culture evaporated almost overnight, a cohort of highly acclaimed scholars, artists, cultural critics, and a journalist sat down to ponder an urgent question: Are the Arts Essential?

The John Brademas Center will lead a conversation over the course of 2022 on the value of civility in politics and the public square.  The Center will convene thought leaders, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to address the question:  What do we mean by “civility?”  

The project will examine political processes, institutions, and systems. It will explore values and norms, how they inform each other, and how they evolve or break down over time.  It will address what happens when participants in the system no longer accept the “rules of the game,” and the legitimacy of the opposition.