Everything you ever wanted to know about Citizens’ Juries…

ReportInvolving communities in deliberation: A study of three citizens’ juries on onshore wind farms in Scotland

Executive Summary

Full Report

Interest in deliberative forms of public engagement is growing in Scotland. There have been many studies of deliberative participation across the globe, and in particular mini-publics such as citizens’ juries. But this new report is unique as it provides an unusually detailed account for practitioners, policy workers, decision makers and researchers interested in developing deliberative public forums.The three citizens’ juries were part of ClimateXChange’s research programme, and dealt with the issue of onshore wind farm development in Scotland.

Here is what people have said about the project and the report:

Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi MSP said: “Involving people and communities in decision-making leads to better results, more responsive services and gives communities the chance to have a say on how ideas are delivered.”

“This exciting project offers valuable lessons which will help our efforts to boost participation in local democracy and improve community engagement.”

Project Manager for ClimateXChange Ragne Low said: “This report provides robust evidence of how we can create processes that will be trusted by communities and balance different views. It also gives very practical advice about organising and facilitating good quality public engagement to support decision making.”

“Participatory forums like citizens’ juries are not an easy option. They need very careful planning and experienced facilitators who make sure that the process is balanced, inclusive and that all voices are heard. What we saw in the juries was real appreciation of getting balanced expert opinion and working through difficult questions together.”

Research Director Dr Oliver Escobar, said: “The research findings are very timely given the appetite for more participation at all levels of society in post-referendum Scotland.”

“To solve the many pressing problems of our time we need new political spaces that bring forth the voices of those seldom heard. Mini-publics like citizens’ juries may provide some of those spaces.”

For more information about the research project and the juries please click HERE.

Course on dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills

Beltane Public Engagement NetworkMaking Conversations Count

24th and 25th March 2014


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!

Dialogue Techniques for Public Engagement in Healthcare Genetics



27 and 28 November, Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh

This two-day course is sponsored by Gengage (The Scottish Healthcare Genetics Public Engagement Network) and is open to anyone who has a professional or personal interest in facilitating dialogues about healthcare genetics, particularly in a Scottish context.

The course gives practical advice and is provided free-of-charge. Bursaries may be available to cover travel and accommodation costs where these might otherwise prohibit someone from attending.

The course has been developed and is delivered by Wendy Faulkner in collaboration with Heather Rea and Oliver Escobar

More info and registration

Training- Dialogue in Public Engagement at Roslin Institute

Edinburgh Beltane Training Course for Researchers and Staff at the Roslin Institute

Dialogue in Public Engagement

1 day course


Friday 23 March 2012, 10:30 to 17:15

The idea behind this Dialogue course is simply that researchers doing public engagement (PE) sometimes end up ‘talking at’ people rather than engaging in a genuinely two-way conversation. With the best will in the world, the skills and insights needed to ‘think where others are coming from’, to make it safe for people to speak openly, to hear what others have to say, and to plan processes that really can enhance mutual understanding, are sometimes underdeveloped. Dialogue has proved a powerful approach to communication in public engagement, knowledge exchange and others areas. This course gives relevant practical guidance.

This one day programme is intended to develop insights and skills concerning the use of dialogic approaches in public engagement.  This course will address the following topics:

  • What is Dialogue?
  • How might dialogue enhance your PE efforts? What are the obstacles to achieving dialogue?
  • Facilitation skills: inclusion,  impartiality and handling disruptive behaviour
  • Lay-expert divides and ‘multiple realities’ over controversial topics
  • Choosing techniques and designing a dialogic PE process
  • Evaluating dialogue

When and where?

Friday 23 March, 2012

10:30 to 17:15

Venue: room B-006 at the Roslin Institute

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Who should attend?

The course is open to all research staff and students and public engagement staff  at the Roslin Institute. It is recommended if you are involved in, or plan to be involved in any form of public engagement activities.

Cost:  Free

But please note there will be a charge of £25 if you are unable to attend and do not notify us 48 hours in advance.


The course has been developed and will be delivered by Wendy Faulkner, in collaboration with Heather Rea and Oliver Escobar, and is being supported by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

Wendy recently retired from the University of Edinburgh where she was latterly involved in a three year project doing and researching public engagement around stem cell research. She has also herself undergone three training courses on dialogic approaches provided by:  Dialogue Matters,  Queen Margaret University  and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

Heather is the deputy director of the Edinburgh Beltane Beacon for Public Engagement.  Formerly a researcher in Knowledge Management in Manufacturing Engineering, Heather has been involved in public engagement with research activities since 2005. She has attended two courses on dialogic approaches: IAP2’s Planning for Public Participation course and a Dialogue course at Queen Margaret University.

Oliver Escobar is doing a PhD on citizen participation and policy making at the University of Edinburgh, where he works for the Public Policy Network. He is a Public Engagement Fellow of Edinburgh Beltane, and a former researcher at the Centre for Dialogue (Queen Margaret University). More info: https://oliversdialogue.wordpress.com

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement were established as part of the Beacaons for Public Engagement intitiative. They support universities to engage with the public and work with all the beacons to promote best practice in public engagement and provide a single point of contact for the whole higher education sector. They also work strategically with our key national partners to help develop work across the sector.