Democracy Beyond Elections: Empowering Citizens, Strengthening Participation

This event will be held at the University of Bristol on 17-18 March 2017, and is supported by the British Academy through the Rising Stars Engagement Awards programme. The workshop will bring together academics, policymakers and civil society representatives to discuss historical and philosophical questions around democratic participation as well as case studies of innovative methods of citizen engagement that transcend the conventional top-down modes of governance. Around the world, there is discussion about a lack of democratic engagement, declining turnouts in general elections, and declining rates of membership in political parties. Against this backdrop, the workshop seeks to open up a conversation on public engagement beyond the ballot box for general elections.

Examples of topics would include: - deliberative (constitutional) assemblies, - social movements channelled through political and judicial avenues, - public consultations, - participatory budgeting, - public readings in legislatures, 2 - crowdsourcing in the context of parliamentary scrutiny or public service delivery, - referenda, - e-petitions and other forms of digital engagement etc.