25th March: 3.00pm
Democracy in NI is Alive and Kicking
This workshop will showcase some great examples of innovations in democracy at a local level in Northern Ireland, being supported through the Community Foundation’s Civic Innovation Programme.
To many eyes, politics at Stormont doesn’t present a very rosy picture of the health of our democracy – institutions teetering on the brink again, a series of unfulfilled NDNA commitments and an Executive that often seems like a series of mini-governments at loggerheads with one another. Thankfully democracy doesn’t start and finish with elections and politicians – ultimately, it’s about translating the ‘will of the people’ (all of the people) into decisions and actions that create and sustain the kind of society we want.
Our current model of representative democracy is simply our best attempt so far at making that a reality, or in the words of Winston Churchill “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”. But democracy has never been static.
The Community Foundation has led the way in moving democratic innovations forward by supporting communities to put people at the heart of decision making processes in NI. Through the Civic Innovation Programme (CIP) we have supported a whole array of projects using creative approaches to public participation in decision making around education, climate change, the Irish language, community planning, and community division amongst others. Launched in 2020 this unique programme utilises a collaborative co-design approach and creative problem solving process to develop and deliver innovations that put people in the driving seat for change.
Come and hear first-hand from a range of Civic Innovation Programme project teams such as Commoning Possibilities, Future Schools Project and Idir sráid agus stát /From Street to State as they discuss their experience of participation in the CIP programme, the challenges and obstacles they faced and the opportunities that have emerged as they continue to embed the civic voice in decision making and move towards a more participative democratic society.