What are Mini-publics?

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This Research Note introduces a range of ‘mini-publics’ and outlines key features, how they work, and how they may improve opportunities for citizens to contribute to public deliberation and participatory governance.

Introduction:

The idea of mini-publics was first proposed four decades ago by political scientist Robert Dahl. Inspired by democratic ideals and social science principles, Dahl envisioned an innovative mechanism for involving citizens in dealing with public issues. He called it ‘minipopulus’: an assembly of citizens, demographically representative of the larger population, brought together to learn and deliberate on a topic in order to inform public opinion and decision-making. A growing number of democratic innovations have flourished around the world based on this idea, from Citizens’ Juries, to Planning Cells, Consensus Conferences, Deliberative Polls and Citizens’ Assemblies. Mini-publics have been used to deal with topics ranging from constitutional and electoral reform, to controversial science and technology, and myriad social issues (e.g. health, justice, planning, sectarianism).

The paper includes answers to frequently asked questions about mini-publics. You can also see more examples and resources on the What Works Scotland website.

 

 

 

 

Course on dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills

Beltane Public Engagement NetworkMaking Conversations Count

24th and 25th March 2014

http://tinyurl.com/BelConvMar14

This is the 16th time that Wendy Faulkner and I deliver this course for the Beltane Network. The focus is on public engagement practice in research and policy contexts, with particular attention to dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills.

The course is very hands-on,  using several techniques and providing many opportunities to practice. It’s also a great chance to meet people from various fields, and who are interested in how dialogic communication can make a difference.

We hope you may join us!

‘Thinking Together’: A Citizens Assembly

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Thursday 28 February 2013, 10am-5pm, Glasgow

 

The registration for potential participants is now open: http://bit.ly/WMPo3v

 

Please note that registration does not guarantee a place, as we will be selecting participants in order to reflect Scotland’s demographics.

 

 

We are gathering together 192 folk to spend a day in facilitated dialogue. Thinking, in a new way, about the future. Selecting participants to reflect Scotland’s diversity. Discussing our values along with what purpose and vision we feel is important for the Future of Scotland.

People work in groups, thinking together. Facilitators hold the space to make sure everyone has a say. Priorities from our morning session focus our afternoon. We consider how we can create a society where what we care about is brought to life in the way we live, work and play.

Connecting with the lived experience of citizens, harnessing the inherent wisdom of folk. Building on the wealth of work underway. Engaging people in meaningful participation, crafting a future fit to face the challenges of our century.

Inspired and supported by the assembly movement in Iceland, this unique event is coming together in a tight timescale, on minimum resources. We welcome support from people and organisations to make Thinking Together the best possible success on the day.

‘Thinking Together’ A Citizens Assembly hosted by So Say Scotland in partnership with Future of Scotland, SCVO, Church of Scotland, Electoral Reform Society, Academy of Government and others.

Find out more and join So Say Scotland: www.sosayscotland.org