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Tapping the savvy of public juries – a glint of democracy’s rebirth?

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135 Bethnal Green Rd

135 Bethnal Green Road

London

E2 7DG

United Kingdom

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Screening of short documentary “When Citizens Assemble”, panel discussion and Q+A

Panel:

Patricia Wharton - participant in the RSA's Citizens Economic Council, a programme designed to give citizens a say on national economic policy and influence over the future of the UK economy. Patricia is also a trained psychologist who brings therapeutic approaches to effecting change, particularly among parents and families.

Ella Whelan - freelance journalist and author of What Women Want: Fun, Freedom and an End to Feminism. Ella is currently researching a book on feminism, transgenderism and what happens when you ask: what does it mean to be a woman?

Tim Hughes - director of Involve. Tim is an expert in public participation and open governance. He has advised governments at many levels in the UK and also multilateral organisations. - including the OECD, Council of Europe and Open Government Partnership.

Patrick Chalmers – director and producer of When Citizens Assemble, pilot episode for the All Hands On documentary series on democracy. Patrick is a journalist, educator and author of Fraudcast News.

Doreen Grove (panel chair) - head of Open Government for the Scottish Government, where her work supports public services reform, democracy renewal, transparency and the use of innovative participative processes.

Ireland's efforts to break a decades-old political deadlock over its de facto abortion ban inspired a bold political response. Its politicians agreed to create a Citizens' Assembly to tackle the issue.

A random pick of Irish people deliberated on the highly contentious question. One hundred people took part, balanced for age, gender, social class and region. They heard from experts, campaigners and women directly affected by the ban. Their conclusion, reached in April 2017, recommended radical liberalisation.

The assembly’s work helped bring on a national referendum on abortion in 2018, when Irish voters will have a chance to change abortion laws.

Ireland’s approach was similar to the one it used on same-sex marriage, which voters approved in 2015. Both mark breakthrough moments for all those wondering how politics could be done differently. Rather than leaving decisions to elected politicians, The Irish showed how public wisdom can help cut through controversy.

At a time of deep dysfunction in our electorally driven politics - what issue wouldn't lend itself to a citizens' assembly approach? Where might things be on Brexit, on Scottish independence, poverty and other social justice questions given access to public panels addressing such questions?

When Citizens Assemble is the first in the global, nine-film series All Hands On. The series focus will be the state of world democracy and real-life efforts to radically improve it using the ages-old device of public juries. Follow the films, or get involved directly to help fund and publicise it, by signing up for project updates via this link.

When Citizens Assemble was made possible thanks to help from founding partners the newDemocracy Foundation and Common Weal, who gave support in cash and kind.

The event will be kindly hosted by Newspeak House, the London College of Political Technologists. See more events like this at www.nwspk.com/events.



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135 Bethnal Green Rd

135 Bethnal Green Road

London

E2 7DG

United Kingdom

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