About the Citizen Participation Network


Foto by Emilio Perez – Ramblas de Barcelona


The Citizen Participation Network includes 600 citizens, researchers, practitioners and policy makers working in a range of fields in Scotland and beyond. It is open to anyone interested in democratic innovation, citizen participation, deliberative democracy, public engagement, co-production, and collaborative policy-making.
CPN is hosted by the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh. The network is convened by Oliver Escobar and the newsletter is edited by Meng Yan.
To join our emailing list, please contact: oliver.escobar@ed.ac.uk
To follow us on Twitter: @OliverEscobar

What we are about

In the last two decades there have been increasing efforts to encourage direct citizen participation in governance.  Scotland and the UK have not been an exception to this global trend.  Ideas and practices of civic participation, community engagement and public deliberation can be found in policy arenas as diverse as local government, the NHS, urban planning, constitutional issues, social policy and science and technology.  However, despite all the work and experimentation on the ground, there seems to be a lack of spaces for cross-cutting dialogue between different areas of practice, as well as between practitioners and researchers.  CPN aims to provide that kind of space by:

* fostering dialogue and knowledge exchange;

* building a network that cuts across disciplinary boundaries and policy silos;

* creating a platform for collaborative practice and research.

2017 – 2020

Most of our recent and ongoing activities are linked to What Works Scotland and Smart Urban Intermediaries.

2014-2016 Series

The best way to find out about the range of projects, research and events carried out by CPN partners is to check the Archive of CPN Newsletters. The right column at the bottom includes all the Newsletters by month, from 2011 to 2016.

2012-13 Series

In this series of public conversations we explored topics such us:

  • youth and children participation
  • the impact of participatory ways of working on public authorities
  • the Electoral Reform Society’s Democracy Max programme
  • the use of Citizen Juries
  • So Say Scotland
  • the Scottish Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill (then at the pre-parliamentary consultation stage).

Ongoing collaborations

The network took an active role in contributing to public debate about citizen participation and deliberation in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum. Our focus was on how the civic dimension of the process could be enhanced through the use of deliberative citizen assemblies and other participatory methods. Examples of our collaborations included:

Democracy Max2011-12 Series

Following suggestions made during our conversation-café in September 2011, the new series covered topical areas such as online participation, Scottish community councils, engaging ‘hard-to-reach’ groups, and public dialogue and deliberation.

As usual, a range of researchers, citizens, policy makers and practitioners kicked off the conversations by sharing short ‘stories of practice.’

2010-11 Series

The topics in this series responded to questions from our agenda-setting conversation-café in January 2011:
•    What is the point of citizen participation?
•    Is it legitimate? Who is accountable?
•    What can we learn from international experience?
In keeping with our ethos of practice-led dialogue, the series featured panels that mixed practitioners, policy makers and academics from diverse policy areas. They shared their views briefly, as a stimulus for open conversation.

One thought on “About the Citizen Participation Network

  1. Pingback: Blog by Biba – The Gathering 2015

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