Participants 2022

Coming to Notwestminster 2022 or following online at #Notwestminster? Here are just some of the people you can hear from, talk to and collaborate with – not only speakers and workshop hosts, but listeners and doers too…

Photo by Anthony McKeown

Carl Whistlecraft

Carl is an innovator in local democracy, with over 30 years experience of working closely with elected councillors in the fields of policy and governance.. He retired as Head of Democracy at Kirklees Council in 2021. Carl has a passion for local democracy and is fascinated by the opportunities presented by supporting and promoting democracy in a digital age. He is particularly interested in trust, compassion and kindness in democracy, social justice, citizen-led democracy, participation and reciprocity.

Jon Alexander 260x260Jon Alexander
activist strategist Citizen

Jon is the author of ‘CITIZENS:Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us’. A committed member of the Notwestminster community, Jon wrote the book after working for seven years at the New Citizenship Project – a consultancy he co-founded as a way to bring the skills of the creative industries to bear on inspiring people to claim their agency in society as citizens, instead of just selling stuff to people as consumers – across all sectors and aspects of society, with a particular passion for local government.

Alex Barker 260x260Alex Barker
Be More Pirate

Alex runs Be More Pirate; a book turned social movement and consultancy that supports organisations and individuals to challenge the status quo. She’s worked on culture change inside local government, across the NHS and with global tech companies like Salesforce. Alex is author of How to Be More Pirate and produces the Be More Pirate podcast. She also co-organises grassroots democracy movement, Trust the People.

James Yarker 260x260James Yarker
Stan’s Cafe

James co-founded the radical theatre company Stan’s Cafe over 30 years ago. Almost impossible to categorise, their work tends to start with a single arresting idea that is then pursued with reckless single-mindedness. The result has been a series of engaging, humane shows that help people see the world around them in startling new ways. Their newest production, All Our Money is a comic but numerically accurate dramatisation of Birmingham City Council’s budget setting process.

Catherine Howe
Chief Executive, Adur and Worthing Councils

Catherine is an expert in digital innovation, focusing on the area of digital democracy and social change. She has worked with new collaborative technologies and social networking tools for over 15 years. Her research interests cover digital civic space, citizenship and systems linking and she is a Trustee of the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny and a Governor of the Democratic Society. She is now Chief Executive at Adur and Worthing Councils where she is trying to put some of the ideas she has thought about for years into practice.

Peter Lovell
Kirklees Youth Council

Being part of Kirklees Youth Council, has opened my eyes up to the importance of local democracy. I have been able to expand my knowledge of local democracy, and help young children in other schools to understand the importance of looking after our environment. I want to assist all young people to have a voice, and ensure that voice can be heard.

Noreen Blanluet

Noreen Blanluet
Director, Co-production Network for Wales

Noreen is a co-production consultant, trainer and facilitator, but even before that has been coaching and facilitating groups for many years. She is a huge advocate of co-production for the improvement and transformation of our public services and our society in general, but it always has to start with some very tangible actions, mainly: getting people together, and talking! Noreen loves sharing what she knows, and nerding out about all the related ideas, so talk to her about: co-production (obvs), improvement, complexity theory, democracy, citizen engagement, and anything that *you* are geeking out about. Co-production Network for Wales.

Patrick Hurley
Royal Society of Arts

Patrick Hurley is the North of England manager for the Royal Society of Arts, and is a longstanding local authority councillor in Liverpool. His background is in social enterprise and community business. He’s the chair of a grassroots homelessness prevention charity, helps to run the city’s UBI Lab promoting universal basic income, is a governor at the local college, and is co-founder of the Liverpool Soup microfunding scheme. He still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Dave Mckenna

Dave Mckenna

Dave is a researcher, freelance public servant and local democracy geek with 20 years local government experience and a PhD in local politics. He is a researcher at the Institute for Local Government Studies looking at how councillors can make a difference to adult social care. Dave also works with committees and boards to help them have more Constructive conversations. He loves to use solution focussed techniques and to learn about the amazing things people are doing to make democracy better.

Rebecca Deegan
I have a voice

Rebecca grew up in Bradford and went on to study Anthropology at Durham University, before returning to Bradford to save up to study a MA in Globalisation and Politics at the University of Sheffield. For the last decade she has held roles in the private sector, leading teams that advocate a range of issues from climate change to supporting an ageing population. She set up I have a voice to take professional policy campaigning to the classroom with the aim of diversifying the range of voices within roles, particularly in the private sector, that seek to inform and influence political decisions.

Andrew Mycock

Dr Andrew Mycock
Reader in Politics, University of Huddersfield

Andy is Reader in Politics at the University of Huddersfield. His research interests focus on issues of youth citizenship and democratic participation. He served on the UK government’s Youth Citizenship Commission from 2008 to 2009 and was the independent chair of the Kirklees Democracy Commission. Current research focuses on voting age reform across the UK (Lowering The Voting Age in the UK) and the ‘Civic Journeys’ of young people during their transitions to adulthood.

Andy Galloway
New Citizenship Project

Andy is Business Manager at the New Citizenship Project, a consultancy catalysing the shift to a more participatory society. Previously a Sabbatical Officer at the University of Bath Students’ Union, Andy and the team began exploring what it would mean to actively shift how the union sees the role of students; from consumers of the union’s services, to citizens able to shape it for the better. Andy now supports other organisations to make similar shifts, working on projects across local government, national charities, mission-led businesses and beyond.

Diane Sims

When she’s not co-organising Notwestminster, Diane is Engagement and Communications Lead for Democracy and local places at Kirklees Council. She’s stubbornly committed to working with citizens, councillors, community organisations and partners to grow a stronger local democracy, from the ground up. Diane is helping citizens to shape their local places by leading on Shaped by People – a new shared strategic goal created by citizens in Kirklees – and leads work to create Civic Pathways for Young Citizens, including the pioneering Democracy Friendly Schools programme. She believes that democracy happens where you are, and you make it happen.

Quixada Moore-Vissing
Public Engagement Partners

Quixada Moore-Vissing is a civic researcher and designer of participatory engagement processes, both in the United States and internationally. Her interests include building democracy at the local level and concepts of civic infrastructure. She runs her own consulting firm in the United States, Public Engagement Partners, and has worked on leading engagement programs at Public Agenda, Everyday Democracy, and for two universities. She trained in principles of nonviolence and peace with Kingian civil rights leaders and Gandhian scholars. She earned her PhD in Education at the University of New Hampshire.

Tom Chigbo

Tom Chigbo

Tom is an experienced community organiser, trainer and campaigner, who brings passion and creativity to the task of helping citizens shape their communities and public services. Over the last 13 years, Tom has worked with local authorities, NHS, police, faith, education and community groups around the UK to bring local people into decision-making and delivery of change using a variety of methods. As a former Senior Organiser with Citizens UK, he has equipped hundreds of people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds with the tools to build community relationships, identify shared challenges and take effective social action.

Calum Green

Calum is Director of Advocacy and Communications at Involve, where he works to ensure people in positions of power include members of the public in decisions that directly affect them, and wider society. Before Involve, Calum was Chief Executive of London Community Land Trust, and a Senior Organiser at Citizens UK, amongst other roles.

Andrew Seligsohn
Public Agenda

Andrew is president of Public Agenda, a democracy-focused research and engagement organisation based in New York. Andrew previously served as President of Campus Compact, Associate Chancellor for CIvic Engagement and Strategic Planning at Rutgers-Camden and Director of Civic Engagement Learning at Princeton University. He also taught at those institutions and several other colleges. Andrew has published articles and chapters on educating for democratic participation, higher education engagement, student political engagement, constitutional law, political theory, and urban politics. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.

Jessie Joe Jacobs
Involve / Democracy Network

Jessie Joe Jacobs works for Involve and is the UK Coordinator for the Democracy Network –  a network to connect organisations seeking to renew UK democracy and address issues of civic power, voice and influence.  She is former Sunday Times social entrepreneur of the year, former director of the Northern Inclusion Consortium and founder of the award winning charity, A Way Out. She also ran as Labour’s Mayoral candidate in the 2021 Tees Valley Mayoral election.

Mel Stevens
Democratic Society

Mel is Director or Programmes at the Democratic Society. She is a specialist in developing strategy and practice for all forms of evidence-based decision making and participation. She has worked with a range of organisations, supporting them to use participation and inclusion as a way of sense-making, harnessing insights and working collaboratively to make decisions. Her work with the public sector ranges from establishing a Hate Crime Incidents Team in 2000 to designing Citizen Assemblies for local authorities today.

Notwestminster 2022