local democracy

What’s your one best hope for local democracy?

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Notwestminster is a community of people who have something positive to say about our local democracy. We’re up for the challenge of doing something to make our local democracy better. To mark the return of our annual event in Huddersfield, and so that more people can join in and connect with each other, we have a little challenge for you.

What’s your one best hope for local democracy? We’d love for you to share your response to this question with us online. It would be great if you can create a quick video clip or photo, so we can hear or see your one best hope, to share as your personal message for others in our network.

There are lots of reasons to be hopeful, because the future is unwritten. . .


How to take part

  1. Record a quick video clip of yourself, saying what your one best hope for local democracy is. Your clip can be a few seconds or up to a minute, filmed in landscape. If you don’t fancy the video option, you can write or draw your one best hope for local democracy and take a photo of this, in landscape format.
  2. Post your video clip or photo to twitter, including the hashtags #Notwestminster and #OneBestHope. You can share your hope anytime during February 2022. We’ll also be sharing your hopes as part of our Notwestminster event on 26th February.
  3. If you’d like, please email us your video file (or a link to where we can download it) so that we can make a compilation video of our hopes. You’re also welcome to email us your contribution if you’re not on twitter. Email us at: Notwestminster@gmail.com


In memory of our friend John Popham 

John lived in Huddersfield and many of you will recognise him as a familiar face at our Notwestminster events over the years. He was a big advocate of the power of digital technologies to connect people, and he loved to support people to tell their positive stories. Video was very much John’s thing.

Two weeks after our Notwestminster 2020 event, John was told that he had cancer. True to character, he used digital storytelling to find his way through the process of dealing with this, in the hopes of helping others who were going through similar challenges.

John’s family have asked that people remember him by continuing to be positive, by using social media for good and by keeping on asking ourselves how we can make someone else’s life better.

@bemorejohn

“Did you ever get that feeling that what you do has suddenly become a lot more personally relevant? . . . Let’s not go back to how it was before.”

John Popham, March 2020

What’s next for Notwestminster?

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Notwestminster participants

Join in our online get-together
Friday 26th February, 2pm to 4pm
Register now to take part


Notwestminster is for everyone who has something positive to say about our local democracy and anyone who is up for the challenge of making it better.

Although we can’t have our annual Notwestminster event in Huddersfield this February, we are still here for each other. And we’re still here for our local democracy.

You can come to Notwestminster to share your ideas and experiences, listen to others, learn new ways of doing things, be part of finding solutions to issues for our local democracy, bring your questions, share your aspirations, hear things that will spark your imagination, and meet lots of people who are at the heart of efforts to improve our local democracy, for everyone. 

Whilst we’re not able to gather, collaborate in the same room or talk over beer and curry in quite the same way this year, we’d love to hear your ideas about how we can best support each other over the coming months. This could be through some online workshops or more informal catch ups. We’re interested to hear what would work for you.

If you’ve already got involved in Notwestminster – or if you’d like to be involved – please come and take part in this informal online discussion about what happens next. You’ll be able to share:

  • Your thoughts about how connecting with people in the Notwestminster network could be useful for you and for your organisation this year.
  • Ideas for online discussions, talks, workshops or other activities that you’d like to be part of (or help to organise).
  • Something that you find valuable about Notwestminster events, which you’d like to see happening online.
  • Updates about things that Notwestminster has helped you to do.
  • Things that you’re currently working on, which you’d like to connect with others in our network about.

New to Notwestminster? We’ll share a quick introduction to what we do. 

We’ll also share an update about other work that’s happening in the UK to connect people who are working to strengthen our democracy. 

Please register if you’d like to take part, and we’ll send you a Zoom link nearer the time. 

If you have any questions, or if you can’t make it on the day but have ideas to share, please get in touch.

Register now to take part

Email: Notwestminster@gmail.com

@Notwestminster

Got something to say about local democracy?

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Dave Mckenna, talking about Columbo as an excellent public servant
Dave Mckenna, photo by Anthony McKeown

PechaKucha speakers wanted

On Friday 14th February 2020 we’re hosting our latest PechaKucha Night in Huddersfield. We are looking for people who would like to be speakers on the evening.

A PechaKucha Night is a fast-paced evening full of exciting speakers and topics. As usual, ours will have a distinctly democratic flavour. It’s a fringe event of Notwestminster 2020, 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.  

Rose Condo
Rose Condo, photo by Anthony McKeown

If you care about the place where you live, or if you want to work with others for civic good, we know that our participants will be keen to hear what you have to say. So if you’ve a story to tell, or if you’ve got an idea to share, we’d love to hear from you. We can offer support and advice if you haven’t been a speaker before. 

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!

At Notwestminster we believe that together we can create a stronger local democracy. We’re always keen to hear from anyone who has ideas, experiences and enthusiasm to share. 

Some of our previous talks have included: Local democracy in North Korea (with summer holiday slides), The greatest movie ever made about democracy,”Council mottos: the good, the bad and the utterly meaningless” how Sheffield’s tech community responded to the refugee crisis, regional democracy compared to the Galactic Empire, and “The total and utter history of local government” (which turned out to be quite ambitious in less than 7 minutes). 

You can have a look at our Twitter moment from our 2019 PechaKucha to get an idea of what the event is like.

We welcome talks on any aspect of local democracy, community life and other stuff you’re interested in.


Want to be a speaker?

Contact us if you’d like to be a speaker 


Notwestminster PechaKucha Night 2016Want to listen to the talks?

The event will be in Cafe Ollo at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street, from 7pm on Friday 14th February. 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 network.


 

Want to speak up for local democracy?

Posted on Updated on

12 random citizens
Dave Mckenna, photo by Anthony McKeown

PechaKucha speakers wanted

On Friday 15th February 2019 we’re hosting our latest PechaKucha Night in Huddersfield. We are looking for people who would like to be speakers on the evening.

A PechaKucha Night is a fast-paced evening full of exciting speakers and topics. As usual, ours will have a distinctly democratic flavour. It’s a fringe event of Notwestminster 2019, 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.  

Rose Condo
Rose Condo, photo by Anthony McKeown

If you care about the place where you live, or if you want to work with others for civic good, we know that our participants will be keen to hear what you have to say. So if you’ve a story to tell, or if you’ve got an idea to share, we’d love to hear from you. We can offer support and advice if you haven’t been a speaker before.

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!

At Notwestminster we believe that together we can create a stronger local democracy. We’re always keen to hear from anyone who has ideas, experiences and enthusiasm to share. 

Some of our previous talks have included: The greatest movie ever made about democracy, a conversation between dad and daughter about democracy, “Council mottos: the good, the bad and the utterly meaningless” how Sheffield’s tech community responded to the refugee crisis, regional democracy compared to the Galactic Empire, and “The total and utter history of local government” (which turned out to be quite ambitious in less than 7 minutes). 

Listen to some of last year’s talks

We welcome talks on any aspect of local democracy, community life and other stuff you’re interested in.


Want to be a speaker?

Contact us if you’d like to be a speaker 


Notwestminster PechaKucha Night 2016Want to listen to the talks?

The event will be in Cafe Ollo at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street, from 7pm on Friday 15th February. 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 network.


 

Public Square – putting people at the heart of local government

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Public Square

A guest blog from The Democratic Society

Around the world democracy is struggling and needs strengthening. It’s time we ensured that people are placed at the heart of how decisions are made, how places are shaped, and how services are run. Local government is a key place where this vision will either be realised or sunk. In response to this challenge, Public Square is a two-year-long programme of research and action exploring how local government can go further in putting the voices of the people they serve at the heart of how they work. It is a collaboration between The Democratic Society and mySociety with funding from Luminate.

This exploration will be based on research in test sites across the UK where we will be working with councils and the communities they serve to look at what is already working well for involving people in the work of local government and what challenges and unmet needs remain. Drawing from this research we will then be prototyping techniques, approaches and tools that could respond to these gaps and push public participation to the next level. These resources we develop will be made freely available. We will also focus on making these resources work in a way that fits with other tools out there and that are freely adaptable by others.

We know that there are already many people working on this question. Often this is done from a wide range of different angles, and with advances not always being joined-up. A key aim of this programme is to reach out to this diverse community, learn from what is already known, and make sure that what we learn can have maximum impact for people working in this space. Throughout the project we will be sharing what we are working on and seeking views from people already working on this challenge.

How to get involved

Public Square really kicks off on 19th November 2018 with an event open to all at the People’s History Museum in Manchester where we will be learning together about where progress is at now and what is needed to take public participation further. You can sign up for free through this Eventbrite page: Public Square – register

We are also looking forward to speaking to people at The People’s Powerhouse Convention, Stakecamp and Notwestminster.

If you want to know more you can also get in touch with us through team@thepublicsquare.org.uk We are particularly keen to hear from councils who would like to take part in this programme of research. You can also follow our progress, and find ways of feeding in, through @PublicSquareUK and www.thepublicsquare.org.uk

We look forward to speaking with you.

Mat and Michelle

The Democratic Society

Got something to say about local democracy?

Posted on Updated on

PechaKucha Night

PechaKucha speakers wanted

We’re hosting a special PechaKucha Night in Huddersfield on Friday 16th February 2018 – and we’re looking for some speakers.

A PechaKucha Night is a fast-paced evening full of exciting speakers and topics. As usual, ours will have a distinctly democratic flavour. It’s a fringe event of Notwestminster 2018, 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.  

Ben Proctor, photo by Anthony MckeownSo 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!

Some of our previous talks have included: a conversation between dad and daughter about democracy, votes for women, the ‘joy’ of being a councillor, how Sheffield’s tech community responded to the refugee crisis, regional democracy compared to the Galactic Empire, and “The total and utter history of local government” (which turned out to be quite ambitious in less than 7 minutes). 

We welcome talks on any aspect of local democracy, community life and other stuff you’re interested in.


Vote 100

Want to be a speaker?

Please contact us now if you’re interested in taking part. We’d love to hear your ideas. 

 

Contact us if you’d like to be a speaker 


Notwestminster PechaKucha Night 2016Want to listen to the talks?

The event will be in Cafe Ollo at the Media Centre on Northumberland Street, from 7pm on Friday 16th February. 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 network.