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Public Square and playbooks

Our work focuses on citizen engagement in local democracy, and we think a playbook could form a key part of this project. Playbooks are a proven way to share the practical lessons we learn from the work we’re undertaking. Our aim is to ensure that none of our learning is lost, and that it is shared with practitioners who face similar challenges in the future in as useful and accessible a way as possible. We’re planning a series of guides, case studies and research presented in a clear and accessible playbook format, to be used by councils and other public

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How Merlin helped us understand how to talk about our Public Square project

Andrew Peacock, of Calderdale Council, explains the techniques we used to help us understand how we could communicate about their Public Square project, which envisages a different kind of relationship between citizens and the council. How do you make toast? Anyone who’s been involved in a workshop knows the value of a good warm-up exercise to get people feeling relaxed – and, if you’re lucky, maybe even a bit creative.  There’s one task in particular that’s guaranteed to stimulate grey matter: a challenge for people to draw their answer to the question: ‘How do you make toast?’ For some it’s

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Weeknotes: Capturing Learning in Calderdale, w/c 29th July 2019

Headlines Creating resources for capturing learning and reflections in Calderdale. Planning communications and web presence for Calderdale Conversations. Scoping conversations in Glasgow. Last week… We pulled the prototypes and engagement plan developed through our co-design workshops in Calderdale into a form for the council to start building upon and putting into use. We also created a content capture form for staff and volunteers to record what’s heard in Calderdale Conversations across the borough. And created a learning and reflections form for those using prototypes to capture learning about how well these prototypes work and how they can be improved on.

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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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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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