How to unlock democracy for young people

How to unlock democracy for young people
Removing barriers for young people to participate in democratic processes.


1:00PM – 2:00PM

Cube Theatre, Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road, Belfast


Tom Brake, Director of Unlock Democracy will interview Hattie Andrews, Director of The Politics Project and Paul Smyth CEO of Politics in Action on how to unlock democracy for young people. They will discuss the barriers to young people participating in our democratic processes and the steps that can be taken to reduce these barriers.

Tom Brake is the Director of Unlock Democracy whch campaigns for democratic reforms in the UK including PR, House of Lords reform, devolution, greater transparency and accountability of government and a written constitution.

Previously he was a Member of Parliament for over 20 years and a Government Minister for 3 years. During his time in parliament he championed extending Freedom of Information. As a Minister, he was in the Ministerial team responsible for the Lobbying and Recall of MPs reforms.

Hattie Andrews is the Director and Founder of The Politics Project (TPP), a non-profit organisation that supports young people to engage in politics. TPP is a specialist in political contact, bringing young people and politicians together to have meaningful conversations. It has supported over 800 schools across the UK to learn and engage with their representatives.

TPP also coordinates Democracy Classroom, a network of over 100 organisations in the youth, education and democracy sectors that work together on supporting young people to engage in elections. Harriet is a founding member of the APPG on Political Literacy and is on the Steering Group for the Democracy Network.

Paul Smyth is the Executive Director of Politics in Action. He has had a career spanning four decades in youth work and has always been interested in supporting the active civic engagement of young people. His organisation supports young people (in cross-community clusters of schools) to work together on issues that are important to them and to bring these issues to politicians. They are currently running a campaign to introduce votes for 16 and 17 year olds in Northern Ireland in line with their peers in Scotland and Wales. “Politics is far too important to leave to politicians.”

Sponsored by QUB Democracy Unit.


We’ll be in touch.