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Meet the participants




Meet the practitioners



Meet the researchers

When is citizen participation transformative?
Hilde C. Stephansen, Leah A. Lievrouw and Nick Mahony

The democratic potential of activist performance
Samir Dayal

Researching austerity: participatory engagement
Janet Newman

Bradford’s Community University: co-producing knowledge for a change
Jenny Pearce

Participation Now: patterns, possibilities, politics
Hilde C. Stephansen and Nick Mahony

Pondering participation
Mike Mowbray

Researching Occupy London
Paul-François Tremlett


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    Meet the practitioners…

    Apart from an academic research project, Participation Now exists to support discussion between the many and varied practitioners who are currently involved in designing, organising and inventing new forms of participatory public engagement. Nick Mahony and Hilde C. Stephansen launch this space with a series of keynote interviews with public engagement organisers, brought together here with practitioner contributions.


    ‘Less than human’: does asylum system harm child refugees’ mental health?

    The UK government has agreed to accept an unspecified number of unaccompanied child asylum seekers. With escalating anti-immigration rhetoric, will inadequate mental health provisions exacerbate trauma?

    Creating a culture of participation

    As part of our series of interviews with practitioners and activists, Participation Now researcher Hilde C. Stephansen spoke to Mikey Weinkove of The People Speak, an artists’ collective that creates ‘tools for the world to take over itself’. Their many projects include Talkaoke, a mobile talk show, and Who Wants To Be?, an ask-the-audience game show.

    Building relationships through participatory budgeting

    As part of our series of interviews with practitioners involved in public participation initiatives, Participation Now researcher Hilde C. Stephansen spoke to Alison Lamb at Newcastle City Council about Udecide, a participatory budgeting scheme that has been running since 2006.

    From Occupy to online democracy: the Loomio story

    Flexibility was important, with people being able to change their position if their mind was changed by a persuasive argument or new information. Democracy is a skill we can practice with people wherever we are. 

    Engaging EU citizens in policy making

    As part of our series of interviews with practitioners involved in public participation initiatives, Participation Now researcher Hilde C. Stephansen spoke to Deirdre Lee at Insight-NUI Galway, about Puzzled by Policy, a European Commission funded project that aimed to engage citizens in the policy making process.

    Taking responsibility for Friern Barnet Community Library

    “Barnet claims to know what people want.  But if you go into some of the libraries in Barnet, I would have to say that they probably don’t know what people want.” Nick Mahony talks to the Chair of Trustees of a library saved by occupation for the community in north London.

    Complaints Choir: what is it?

    "This project stays dynamic when people take the Complaints Choir as a tool and make use of it in their own context and modify it. That’s the spirit of open source." Hilde C. Stephansen interviews the founders of the choir for Participation Now.

    Changing public opinion through direct action

    “Starbucks felt so pressured by the public that they felt obliged to pay £20,000,000 to the HMRC.” Our series of interviews with activists and practitioners who organise public participation initiatives speaks next to Sarah Kwei from UK Uncut, the direct action group that works to raise awareness of tax avoidance and austerity cuts through creative forms of protest.

    Organising today: stewarding and responding to ‘the people’

    38 degrees aims to bring people together to take action on the issues that matter to them. As part of our series of interviews with practitioners, Participation Now researcher Nick Mahony talked to Becky Jarvis and Rebecca Falcon at the 38 Degrees office in London about their work.

    Introducing ‘Participation Now: meet the practitioners’

    Participation Now is a new Open University web platform that hosts an accessible and expanding collection of over 120 of the most creative examples of contemporary public participation and engagement initiatives. Meet 'the Practitioners'.

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