The State of Democracy in Northern Ireland

The State of Democracy in Northern Ireland

09 March 2016

For the second year running, the Trust is sponsoring one of Belfast’s most exciting festivals – the Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas. This year we are running our Civic Activism Series which features a wide range of events.

First up is What is the State of Democracy in NI? On Monday 14th March at 1pm at The Duncairn Centre, Belfast.

This talk will look at how we can achieve a more deliberative democracy for Northern Ireland and how to improve the relationship between civil society and decision-makers.

The event, co-hosted by Involve and the Building Change Trust, will introduce and explore the use of a deliberative systems approach to examining the state of Northern Irish democracy, and the role of civil society within it. The session will be facilitated by Simon Burall, director of Involve, a charity and think tank that specialises in public participation, and will introduce the ideas in Simon’s recent report, Room for a View, which uses a deliberative systems approach to examine the state of UK democracy.

Rather than focusing exclusively on the extent to which individuals and communities are represented within institutions, this approach is equally concerned with the range of views present and how they interact, in the public, private and empowered spaces.

This approach isn’t completely new to Northern Ireland.

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) has done extensive work around engagement with education planning.

The IEF established a grant programme that supports communities in their dealings with local education services, and held multiple events across Northern Ireland between 2010 and 2012 in which discussions were held to foster information-sharing, engagement and understanding among education professionals, elected representatives, community leaders and community members.

The driving force behind the CAP project, a community audit of community engagement in education planning, is the IEF’s support of integrated education going back 23 years.

During that time, the IEF has worked with and supported schools and wider communities, as well as provided practical and financial support in establishing integrated schools.

The Festival of Ideas session will invite participants to reflect on their vision for the future role of civil society within Northern Irish democracy. The session will also hear from experts in the field, who will discuss their thoughts on how NI can work towards a more deliberative democracy.

If you would like to attend, you can get tickets here. 

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