Activities

What is democracy for?

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what is democracy for?You can try out mobile messaging before, during and after this year’s Notwestminster.

Have a think about this question:

“What is democracy for?”

 

Send a text starting with NOTWM
then your thoughts
to 07786 205 227

(it only costs the same as texting your friend’s phone)

You’ll get a reply with a link to read other people’s answers.
It’s public but anonymous, so you can be as honest as you like.

 


Help us to share our text experiment

Please print out a few copies of these instructions and leave them in a cafe, a pub or anywhere else where you live.

Print these instructions on A5 paper (PDF)

Print these instructions on A4 paper, two copies per sheet (PDF)

 


Where did the question come from?

Our question was asked by Anthony Zacharzewski,
as part of the evidence he gave to the
Kirklees Democracy Commission.


Why use mobile messaging?

Participation using mobile messaging has a different feel to participation using social media. On social media we are performing and managing our identities for an audience, often a complicated mix of work, interest-group and personal contacts.

Mobile messaging is often for an audience of one, and we only communicate with a small group of contacts by messaging. This means that when mobile messaging is used as a way for people to take part in civic conversations, it feels anonymous.

This can be very helpful for encouraging heartfelt contributions and for welcoming people who are less confident about speaking up in meetings.

Two councillors in Camden used text messages to try and involve more people in a participatory budgeting process as long ago as 2008.

This is one of the messages they received:

“We are 6 mums and we’d like to plead with you about giving the Winch Project funds so it could carry on the wonderful activities for the children. Please as it is the only chance for all low income families. Please.”

One of the councillors involved said afterwards:

“Using texting definitely led to a net increase in participation in the democratic process. It probably almost doubled the participation in the local area forum vote.”

Thumbprint Camden

 

Thumbprint - share local knowledge by text message

Speak up for local democracy – in less than seven minutes

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PechaKucha Night

PechaKucha speakers wanted

We’re hosting a special PechaKucha Night in Huddersfield on Friday 10th February 2017 – and we’re looking for some speakers.

A PechaKucha Night is a fast-paced evening full of exciting speakers and topics. Ours will have a distinctly democratic flavour, as it’s a fringe event of Notwestminster 2017, a two day event bringing together people who have something positive to say about local democracy and who are up for the challenge of making it work better.  

Notwestminster PechaKucha Night 2016So if you’ve got something to say about local democracy, if you’ve a story to tell, or if you’ve got an idea to share, you might like to be one of our speakers on the night.

Each speaker will talk for 6 minutes 40 seconds on a theme of their choosing, following a “20 slides for 20 seconds” format. The slides advance automatically, so everyone gets exactly the same amount of time to speak – and you should be prepared to keep going!

The event will be in Cafe Ollo at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street in Huddersfield, from 7pm.

Our previous PechaKucha talks have included everything from whether public servants are human beings and why technology can’t save democracy, to the ‘joy’ of being a councillor and how regional democracy in England measures up to the Galactic Empire. As you can see, it’s a mixed bag, and sometimes challenging.

We’d love to hear your suggestions.

Councillor Andrew Cooper's PechaKucha talk

Want to be a speaker?

Please contact us if you’re interested in taking part. Get in touch by Friday 20th January if you can.

Want to listen to the talks?

Please come along to learn something new and be entertained. It’s a fun way to find out what inspires some of our local democracy advocates and to hear about people’s passions and interests. There are always a few surprises.

PechaKucha Night – register now

 

The Notwestminster PechaKucha Night is organised by the Media Centre in Huddersfield and the Notwestminster local democracy network.

 

Designing Your Democracy Experiment Day – 10th February 2017

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Democracy Experiments Day

Democracy Experiments Day

Friday 10th February 2017
The Media Centre, Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL

 

This is a day for anyone who is interested in making a difference to local democracy through practical experiments. It will give participants an understanding of the principles of design thinking and some hands on experience.

Nick Taylor from the University of Dundee will get us started with some key lessons that draw on his experiences with design-led civic technology experiments and community-level hackathons over a number of years. We will then be working on some real life examples brought along by participants, and trying out some techniques and approaches.

This day will be of interest to anyone who is already working on one of the Notwestminster experiments, anyone who would like to get involved or anyone who is interested more generally in design and democracy. Everyone is welcome and it’s free to take part.

Democracy Experiments Day – register now

Design Experiments for Local Democracy programme

 


Nick TaylorNick Taylor
@nicktaylor3
University of Dundee

Nick Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Dundee’s School of Art and Design, specialising in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design. His main research interest is the use of technology to support civic engagement in communities, working closely with communities over extended periods of time and deployments of new technologies ‘in the wild’. His most recent research has involved the use of hackathons to support grassroots innovation by bringing together communities with local makers.

 


Lorraine ClarkeLorraine Clarke
University of Dundee

Loraine Clarke is a research associate at the University of Dundee’s School of Art and Design, with a background in Industrial Design and Human–Computer Interaction. Her research concentrates on physical technology supporting social interactions within groups in public spaces such as community spaces, museums or galleries. Her current research focuses on supporting community innovation utilising digital fabrication and the DIY maker movement.


Dave MckennaDave Mckenna
@Localopolis
Scrutiny Manager,
City & County of Swansea

Dave works for the Council in Swansea where he has been for 20 years. Prior to finding a home with scrutiny he worked in a variety of front-line and policy roles with varying degrees of success. He has completed a PhD with the Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University. His topic was Local Government and Public Participation.

Localopolis (blog)
How to be a public servant (blog)

Photo of Dave courtesy of Anthony Mckeown.


Ed HammondEd Hammond

@CfPS_Ed

Centre for Public Scrutiny

Ed leads on the Centre for Public Scrutiny’s work around local accountability. His work has a particular focus on corporate governance within local authorities, but he has also carried out extensive research on policing and community safety, having produced national guidance for the operation of Police and Crime Panels in 2011 and 2012, and research on their first year in operation in 2014.

He is currently leading on Design Experiments for Local Democracy, a partnership programme from Notwestminster and CfPS.


Design Experiments for Local Democracy

Design Experiments for Local Democracy is a practical programme for local democracy advocates. We are encouraging people to rapidly test and evaluate new ways of doing local democracy, and we’re supporting each other in doing this. The programme is co-ordinated by the Centre for Public Scrutiny and the Notwestminster local democracy network.


 

Who is your local democracy hero and why?

Posted on Updated on

Text message saying: NOTWM My local democracy hero is...You can try out mobile messaging before, during and after this year’s Notwestminster.

Have a think about this question:

Who is your local democracy hero and why?

Then start a text message with NOTWM

then give your answer

and send it to 07786 205 227

 

You’ll get a reply with a link to read other people’s answers. It’s public but anonymous, so you can be as honest as you like.

 

About mobile messaging

Participation using mobile messaging has a different feel to participation using social media. On social media we are performing and managing our identities for an audience, often a complicated mix of work, interest-group and personal contacts.

Mobile messaging is often for an audience of one, and we only communicate with a small group of contacts by messaging. This means that when mobile messaging is used as a way for people to take part in civic conversations, it feels anonymous.

This can be very helpful for encouraging heartfelt contributions and for welcoming people who are less confident about speaking up in meetings.

Two councillors in Camden used text messages to try and involve more people in a participatory budgeting process as long ago as 2008.

This is one of the messages they received:

“We are 6 mums and we’d like to plead with you about giving the Winch Project funds so it could carry on the wonderful activities for the children. Please as it is the only chance for all low income families. Please.”

One of the councillors involved said afterwards:

“Using texting definitely led to a net increase in participation in the democratic process. It probably almost doubled the participation in the local area forum vote.”

Thumbprint - share local knowledge by text message

What we’ll be working on at our Local Democracy Maker Day #LDMaker16

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Local Democracy Maker Day

Local Democracy Maker Day
Friday 12th February 2016
The Media Centre, 7 Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL

Eventbrite - Local Democracy Maker Day 2016
 

What is a Maker Day?

Our Maker Days are a chance to collaborate with others who care about local democracy on issues that we choose together. Our focus at this Maker Day will be on responding to some of our Design Challenges for Local Democracy.

We want to turn our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us – and we hope you’ll be part of it. You don’t need any previous experience to join in – we’ll be learning from each other as we go along.

We’ve chosen three challenges for us to focus on during the day, based on things that participants of the Notwestminster network have shown keen interest in recently.


Our three Local Democracy Design Challenges are:

  • Social Decision Making: Councils make many important decisions yet the people who are affected rarely have their say. How can we get people involved in local policy making so that they can influence the decisions that affect them? 
  • Real Representation: The job of the local councillor is to represent their constituents yet their wards can include as many as 25,000 people, all different, all special. How can councillors better reach out to people in their community so that everyone can be properly represented? 
  • Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated. How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?

Who is it for?

  • Digital makers
  • Open data advocates
  • Local government officers
  • Councillors and candidates
  • Community activists
  • Hyperlocals
  • Voters of today and tomorrow

Want to join in?

Free tickets are available now:

Eventbrite - Local Democracy Maker Day 2016


Other event info

Taking part at the venue or online? Here’s some other information you might find useful:


We are…

We are Local Democracy Bytes and the wider #notwestminster gang. Our Maker Day is part of our collaboration with LocalGov Digital Makers. It’s about turning our discussions around local democracy and digital into some practical tools that we can all use to make democracy work better for us.


With thanks to our sponsors

Our Maker Day is part of Notwestminster 2016, two days of rock n roll local democracy kindly sponsored by:
the-media-centre

Supported by UKGovcamp

UK Open Government Civil Society Network

LocalGov Digital

Democracy Club logo

Delib logo

Modern Mindset

ADSO

Help us to pick our next Maker Day challenges

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Local Democracy Maker Day

We’ll be announcing the three challenges for our next Local Democracy Maker Day this week. If you’ve signed up to take part, you’ll already have received our shortlist. If you haven’t signed up yet, the event is in Huddersfield on Friday 12th February and you can book free tickets for our Maker Day now.

We want to make sure that everyone who is interested gets a chance to help pick the challenges that we’ll be working on together. Here’s our suggested shortlist, based on what participants have told us so far. Please let us know if you have any comments or other ideas.

5 challenges to choose from

  • Social Decision Making: Councils make many important decisions yet the people who are affected rarely have their say.  How can we get people involved in local policy making so that they can influence the decisions that affect them? 
    [we received several workshop pitches for Notwestminster 2016 about this topic, so we know that some of our participants are really interested – but does it appeal to you?]
  • Real Representation: The job of the local councillor is to represent their constituents yet their wards can include as many as 25,000 people, all different, all special.  How can councillors better reach out to people in their community so that everyone can be properly represented? 
    [we’re delighted to have several councillors participating again this time – is this a good opportunity for us to work on this challenge together?]
  • Digestible Democracy:  Local democracy needs to involve the widest range of people and yet the format of reports and the use of jargon puts off all but the most dedicated.  How can we present local decision making so it’s less obscure like modern jazz, and more popular, like rock and roll?
    [we’ve worked on this challenge at a previous Maker Day, and some participants want to have another go at it, as there are many small things we could do to help – do you agree?]
  • Connected Candidates: High turnouts in local elections are a mark of a healthy democracy and yet many people have no motivation to participate.  How can we get people connected to their candidates so that they will see a reason to vote?
    [Democracy Club are already doing some great work to crowdsource local election candidates for 2016 – are you interested in sharing elections data or talking about what else is possible?]
  • Young People: The young people of today are the voters of tomorrow and yet many see local politics as irrelevant.  How can we get young people involved in local democracy so they have a voice, both now and in the future? 
    [this is really important to many of us. We have some amazing young participants at our main Notwestminster event, but we don’t currently have any young people signed up to our Maker Day – and we can’t work on this challenge without input from young people. Shall we save this for another day, or should we try to involve more young people on Friday 12th February?]

 

Comments?

Please try to let us know by 12 noon on Tuesday 26th January 2016.

You can leave a reply on this page, email us at notwestminster@gmail.com or tweet us @LDBytes.

Please tell us about:

  • Challenges that you’re interested in.
  • Anything not listed here that you’d like us to work on.
  • Anything else you’d like to say about the Maker Day.

All comments and suggestions welcome. 

This is just to help us pick the right challenges for our network. If you’re going to be here on the day, you can join any group (or more than one group) to work on whatever takes your fancy. You can also follow online during the event.

 

Your Notwestminster 2016 workshop ideas

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Share your workshop ideas
Together we’ve identified a series of Design Challenges for Local Democracy and we’re looking for practical ideas in response to these. Want to help shape our conversations?


We’d love to hear from anyone who would like to run a 50 minute workshop with a distinctly democratic flavour in Huddersfield on Saturday 13th February 2016. Your workshop should relate to one of our design challenges. Some examples are:

  • Young people – How can we get young people involved in local democracy?
  • Access to decision makers – How can we encourage real contact between those making the decisions and those affected by them?
  • Voter information – How can we make sure voters in the local elections get the facts and figures they need?
  • Digestible democracy – How can we make it less obscure like jazz, more popular like rock n roll?
  • Open data – How can we better share the data of local democracy?
  • Community News & Campaigns – How can we connect enthusiasts and help citizens to tell the story?

Please have a look at our full list and catch up with the story so far:

Design Challenges for Local Democracy

What we did at our Local Democracy Maker Day #LDMaker15

 

What are we looking for?

Workshops can be in any format you choose, from open discussions to practical creative sessions. Talk about something, build something or dismantle something.

If your proposal is accepted, your responsibility is to frame the challenge in a way that’s easy for a wide range of participants to understand and get involved in, then together work out one practical thing we could do to meet the challenge.

But the workshop is not a teaching session – your introduction should last no more than 10 minutes. After that, your role is to bring out the best from the group.

The outcome of your workshop should be one practical suggestion for redesigning local democracy – and the names of anyone in the room who is willing to help make it happen. We’ll give you an ideas sheet (both on paper and online) to record this on.

The final session of the day will be an informal ideas bazaar where you can have a drink, take a look at all the practical ideas from the day and do a spot of plotting.

Interested?
Please 
share your idea for a Notwestminster workshop.