Category Archives: Open Democracy editorial partnership

Futures of public participation? Meet The Practitioners

Mounting awareness of the limitations of top-down forms of public organisation is generating an explosion of interest in public participation.

To contribute to the on-going debate about these developments, we have teamed up with to publish a series of interviews that examine developments in contemporary public participation from the perspective of those who are responsible for organising them – we call them The Practitioners.

We’ve written a short introduction to our guest feature. Today (Monday) openDemocracy also publish our first interview, which is with 38 degrees. The other six interviews (with UK Uncut, Complaints Choirs, UDecide and others) will be published between tomorrow and Friday.

For those working to creatively anticipate and realise futures that are both more public and more participative, we hope you will find these interviews as interesting as we do.

These interviews are published as part of a project called Participation Now, which is a new Open University web platform that hosts debate and an accessible and expanding collection of over 120 of the most creative examples of contemporary publicparticipation and engagement initiatives.

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Launch of editorial partnership between Participation Now and OpenDemocracy

Against the background of the crises, uprisings, occupations and institutional break-downs of recent years and in a context where debates about the need for new and more effective forms of public participation and action are becoming increasingly mainstream, this editorial partnership between the Open University’s new project Participation Now and openDemocracy has been set up to support the ongoing exploration, debate and development of the field of participatory public engagement.

Featuring short blog-style pieces including:

Could volunteering be bad for our health? by ELLEN STEWART

Knowing your citizens, making publics by HELEN PALLETT

Researching austerity: participatory engagement by JANET NEWMAN

Researching Occupy London by PAUL-FRANÇOIS TREMLETT

Keyword: public by SHANNON JACKSON

PPE in Oxford: people’s political economy by JOEL LAZARUS

The Ragged University by ALEX DUNEDIN

The nQuire young citizen inquiry by CHRISTOTHEA HERODOTOU

Project COBRA: community-owned solutions for the marginalised indigenous communities of the Guiana Shield, South America by ANDREA BERARDIJAY MISTRY, and CELINE TSCHIRHART

Participation Now is looking for short, blog-post style contributions (250-750 words) that draw on your own research and/or experiences related to public participation and public engagement. For more details see the Participation Now website and contact

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