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NextEra London: A New Vision For Democracy

Can we recover a vision for democracy in which people’s participation is valued? What would be in it? These are some of the questions we will examine in the Next Era democracy workshop in London.


This text is originally published on Demos Helsinki web page.

When voter turnout fell in the 1990s people began to worry about the state of democracy. Policy makers wrung their hands, tinkered, launched enquiries and experimented with participatory budgets. But voters continued to desert political parties and cynicism grew. But then new politicians arrived, from outside the establishment, with a more compelling idea of what it means to take back control.

Can we recover a vision for democracy in which people’s participation is valued? What would be in it? A particitopia of citizen assemblies, budgets and juries? An artificially intelligent democracy? A rebuilt parliament for a new kind of participation?

What is needed if we wish to bring people from different backgrounds closer for constructive, shared deliberation on the future of our societies?

NextEra initiative by Demos Helsinki and Sitra organises a workshop on a new vision for Democracy on March 29th 2017. The seminar takes places in Finnish Institute in London. It is also the official publication event of the second NextEra dossier that focuses on identifying the forces that are changing democracy and participation (and offer solutions to make them stronger).

The seminar will be streamed through Facebook Live by Finnish Institute.


2.10 Welcome

Pauliina Ståhlberg, director, Finnish Institute in London

2.15 An Introduction to the NextEra programme

Aleksi Neuvonen and Roope Mokka, Demos Helsinki

2.30 From the trials of democracy towards future participation

– A new paper by Elina Kiiski Kataja, leading foresight specialist at Sitra with a response by Reema Patel from The RSA

3.00 Brief presentations on new and emerging practices:

Marcin Gerwin, co-founder of Sopocka Inicjatywa Rozwojowa, on the growth of deliberative democracy in Poland, and the Gdansk Citizen’s Assembly

Dr Clodagh Harris, senior lecturer at the University of Cork, on Ireland’s Citizen’s Assembly and Constitutional Convention.

Janne Kareinen, foresight specialist at Sitra, on ‘Timeout’, a participation experiment in Finland.

Marcus Beltran, formerly of SCL Group, on on new ways data is now used to in electoral campaigns.

Claudia Delso, Councillor for Participation and Democratic Innovation, on participatory budgeting in A Coruña (Video Presentation)

Audrey Tang, Digital Minister for Taiwan on Taiwan’s latest deliberative democracy innovations (Video Presentation)

3.30 Tea

3.45 Breakout groups discussion of examples of practice than can contribute to a new vision for democracy.

4.15 Final session, sharing examples and adding them to NextEra map.

Indra Adnan & Pat Kane from The Alternative UK
Johanna Sumuvuori, Head of Culture and Society programme. Finnish Institute in London