Blog

Five things we learned from the Agora di Messina project

The Agora Di Messina Project took a group of citizens through a unique exploration of democratic engagement in Sicily, culminating in a festival of democracy that they organised themselves. We spoke to Francesca Attolino and Ivan Tornesi – the Demsoc team who led the work – about what they learned in this landmark programme. We’ve condensed some of the learning points from our longer case study – available on the Public Square website. Read: Our Public Square case study, available on the Public Square website.  Listen: Annie Cook interviews Francesca and Ivan – available as a podcast.   People care

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Research: understanding the role of councillors in local participation

As part of our research, we’re planning a project to map the opinions and attitudes of local councillors about participatory democracy. One point that’s been reinforced through the early stages of Public Square is that piloting new local participatory exercises requires the buy-in of the elected councillors. The goal is a better understanding of how representative and participatory democracy fit together. What we mean by participatory democracy While there are many forms participatory democracy can take, broadly it can be understood as providing mechanisms for “[d]irect influence for citizens on the decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods”.  As a

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Weeknotes: Preparing for Glasgow Scoping Session, w/c 22nd July 2019

Headlines We’re getting prepared for an intensive two days working in Glasgow with Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life to develop their programme of work with Public Square – looking at scoping, decision-mapping, community engagement planning and more!  Last week… We’ve been capturing outputs from our second Calderdale co-design workshop, ready for sharing back. Continuing to develop plans for the PB process in Frome, particularly thinking about online ideation and how best to sift and develop unformed ideas. This week we will… Meet with Dr Nikki Soo, Research Associate at the Crick Centre to discuss opportunities for sharing some of

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Weeknotes: Developing and Filtering Ideas, w/c 18th July 2019

Headlines Second co-design workshop in Calderdale Thinking about inclusion online and offline with our partners in Frome Last week… We ran our second our co-design workshop in partnership with the council in Calderdale. We used the open source tool scenes to help our group of council staff, partners and citizens think through what our four prototypes from the first workshop could look like in the real world. And we asked our group to think about opportunities for using them to reach particular groups, making a start on an engagement plan. Already one of them – a listening sofa – has

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Prototypes for a new kind of conversation in Calderdale

Introduction The work in Calderdale took a major step forward last week with our second co-design workshop with residents. This built on our first workshop in May where we – residents, officers, and members of the Public Square team – developed a set of initial ideas for holding public conversations about the borough in public places. Last Thursday’s workshop (11th July) saw residents, officers and an elected member working together on a plan to get these prototypes out and about and into action.   Background Calderdale is exploring how it can develop a new relationship between residents and the council.

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Weeknote: Second Calderdale Co-Design workshop, w/c 8th July 2019

Headlines Designing a co-design workshop Planning for wider participation Last week… We’ve been designing this week’s co-design workshop in Calderdale, where we’ll be working with residents and council staff to design how the council can build open conversations with its residents about the future of their borough. We’ll be using the free resource ‘scenes’ to help participants think about some prototypes generated at the first workshop, and will be working on how these can be put into practice. We started to plot out a timeline for our work with Frome over the course of the summer to help them get

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Weeknote: things are shaping up, literally, w/c 1st July

We’re working on three prototypes for our next citizen engagement workshop in Halifax with Calderdale Council next week. The prototypes we’ve developed are as a result of our initial engagement where citizens designed the physical tools to use, starting this summer, to have conversations about place with communities.

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Weeknote: Reflections from Calderdale comms workshop, w/c 24th June

Headlines Comms workshop in Calderdale last week First prototype of a playbook format for local authorities  Last week… We took part in a really productive workshop, led by staff from Calderdale council, to develop clearer messages about the conversation they want to have with residents at the end of the summer. We considered this up by thinking what looks different in the borough if this conversation works well. The council will be creating some messaging from here.  Alex finished up work on a review of digital tool use around Citizens’ Assemblies Beginning to map out councillor attitudes research project (more

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Weeknote: Comms workshop with Calderdale, w/c 17th June

Weeknote: Comms workshop with Calderdale, w/c 17th June Headlines A comms workshop with Calderdale Council Early stage playbook thinking Conversations with practitioners about developments in the field of participation Drawing our theory of change Last week… Louise and Zarino made a proposal to the team about what a first version of the playbook might look like – a practical resource for people working in and with local government, driven by some form of self-assessment Agreed some desk research around a key issue in the work so far – the role of elected representatives and their relationship to participatory research Had

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Weeknotes: Learning Review, w/c 9th June

Headlines Learning review day with Luminate last week and moving forward with Calderdale. Last week… We had a  learning review day with our funders, Luminate. It helped us to clarify some of our immediate needs on the programme, including preparing a pitch-pack for potential funders for the next stage of the programme. We’ve been continuing to develop prototypes from the ideas that workshop participants shared about how to build a conversation over the summer in Calderdale. This week we will… Work on the communications for Public Square – in preparation for the pitch pack Talk about complementary research approaches to

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