In this blog, Diane Sims, Co-organiser at Notwestminster and part of the Democracy team at Kirklees Council, discusses an upcoming event that they hope will inspire the future of local democracy.
It’s fair to say that lots of us are going through some significant changes. Things have happened in our lives, communities and organisations in the past two years that were not in anyone’s script. But the good news is that the future of our democracy is not yet written – and we can each be part of writing that story, every day.
Notwestminster – the free event for everyone who has something positive to say about local democracy – is returning in February 2022, and you’re all welcome to be part of it.
The Notwestminster community is home to anyone who is up for the challenge of making our local democracy better. It’s a growing network of people who give their time and attention to improving our local democracy in places across the UK. Participants include local government officers, democracy advocates, community activists, councillors, young citizens, civic tech organisations, academics and others with an interest – resulting in an amazing mix of people who inspire and support each other.
The ‘Notwestminster: The future is unwritten’ event is taking place on Saturday 26th February 2022 at the University of Huddersfield and will feature interactive workshops, quick-fire talks, creative activities, conversations and lots of opportunities to connect. You can choose from a dozen participant-led workshop sessions including:
- Pirates, Citizens and local government – what would a council of the future look like if it were taken over by pirates, working with a citizen mindset?
- Explore whether virtual meetings have improved local democracy.
- Find out what Dr Catherine Howe has learned on her journey from digital democracy champion to local authority Chief Executive at Adur and Worthing.
- Develop creative ways of communicating local democracy with Stan’s Cafe, who presented Birmingham City Council’s budget as a theatre performance.
- Test out a new way of measuring and enabling active citizenship, co-created by citizens in Kirklees, with New Citizenship Project and Kirklees Council.
- Work with young citizens on climate action, civic education and fair voting.
You can enjoy two extra bursts of inspiration from our lightning speakers on the day, including Notwestminster Co-organiser and local democracy innovator Carl Whistlecraft. Carl will be reflecting on his experiences of place-based engagement and balancing representative and participatory democracy. We’ll also be hearing from some of our collaborators who are working to strengthen local democracy in the United States.
If you’re up for the challenge of renewing your local democracy, wherever you are, please join in. Notwestminster is a free event and everyone is welcome to take part. We will also be hosting an online event later in the year so that we can continue to work on our ideas together and enable more people to get involved.