Democracy Network Annual Conference 2024 Agenda


Full Agenda for the 2024 Democracy Network Annual Conference


Day 1 – Tuesday 9th Jan 2024

08:45 am – Arrivals and Registration
Registration and settling in with tea and coffee.

Day 01 – Morning Plenary Sessions

09:15 am – Introducing the Democracy Network
Jessie Joe Jacobs introduces the Democracy Network and provides insights into its mission and objectives.

09:30 am – Panel discussion: Threats and opportunities to democratic renewal in the UK
Panellists Akiko Hart, Femi Oluwole, Hannah White, and Neal Lawson, led by Jess Garland, explore the threats and opportunities to democratic renewal in the UK and discuss key challenges and potential pathways for enhancing democracy.

10:30 am – Coffee Break

10:45 am – Networking for Democracy
Facilitated by Jessie Joe Jacobs.

12:15pm – Lunch

Day 01 – Afternoon Workshops (Round 1)

1:00 pm – Concurrent workshops

Workshop a Where next for democratic education?
Join Hattie Andrews from The Politics Project, along with speakers  Matteo Bergamini of SOUK and Liz Moorse of the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT), for a conversation about the future of democratic education in the UK. Explore how to enhance citizen education and contribute to achieving democratic goals.

Workshop b –  Where next for local democracy?
Join Grace Pollard of New Local, Simon Duffy of Citizen Network, Cllr Marianna Masters of Fabian Women’s Network, and Sarah Allan of Involve as they discuss where are the opportunities for renewing local democracy and local government.

Workshop c – Amplifying our voice in the media
Join NEON’s Head of Communications, Kevin Smith as he gives a 60 minute masterclass on how we can amplify the voices of our movements through the media.

Day 1 – Afternoon Plenary Sessions

2:00 pm – Panel discussion: Integrity
Ben Rich, Daniel Bruce, Paul Tyler, and Dr. Susan Hawley explore the challenges and opportunities related to maintaining integrity in political and civic processes.

2:50 pm – Panel discussion: Where now for representation?
Panellists, Helen Pankhurst, Zainab Asunramu, Lee Jasper, and Kamran Mallick, led by Hannah Stevens, discuss challenges and strategies for ensuring diverse and inclusive representation.

3:40 pm – Coffee Break

Day 1 Afternoon Workshops (Round 2)

3:55 pm – Concurrent workshops

Workshop a – The role of independent media in a healthy democracy
Join Joe Mitchell of Public Interest News, Hardeep Matharu of Byline Times, Natalie Fenton of Goldsmiths University and Darryl Chamberlain of Greenwich Wire as they explore the role of independent media in a healthy democracy.

Workshop b – Engaging The Missing Millions
Join Ellen Berry of JRRT, Mete Coban of My Life My Say, Lara Parizotto of Migrant Demos, James Kaguima of Skate Kabal and Gáibhin McGranaghan of United Response, as they share how they are ‘Engaging the Missing Millions’ with ideas, provocations and shared learning on how we engage more voters in elections.

Workshop c – Amplifying our voice online
Join Adam Mendum, The Democracy Network’s Communications Lead, to network with others and discuss how we can work together to amplify our voices online.

Day 1 – Democracy’s Got Talent!

6:00 pm – Democracy Got’s Talent
Extended networking session with buffet, drinks, and activities.


Day 2 – Wednesday 10th Jan 2024

8:45 am – Arrivals and Registration
Registration and settling in with tea and coffee.

Day 2 – Morning Plenary Sessions (Round 1)

9:15 am – Introduction & welcome
Lara Parizotto, Democracy Network Co-Chair, delivers opening remarks.

9:25 am – Keynote: Power outside of Westminster
Keynote speech by Cllr Andreas Kirsch, leader of Kingston upon Thames Council

9:45 am – Keynote: Where now for democracy?
Shadow Minister for Democracy, Florence Eshalomi MP, addresses the current landscape of democracy and shares insights into the challenges and directions for the future of democracy

Day 2 Morning Workshops

10:15 am – Concurrent workshops

Workshop a – Building a movement for PR
The momentum behind Proportional Representation is building. A majority of the public now support it and many believe its introduction could be the single largest transformational change the UK has seen in decades. But there is still stiff resistance and this won’t be overcome without a vocal, well organised national grassroots movement. This workshop with Tom Brake from Unlock Democracy, Frances Foley (Compass), Alex Gunter (Conservative Action for Electoral Reform), and representatives from Electoral Reform Society, Friends of the Earth, Labour for a New Democracy, and Make Votes Matter, will set out why PR would make a positive impact on people’s lives, how the campaign is developing and how you could be involved.

Workshop b – Harnessing the power of communities
Join Nick Gardham of Community Organisers in this workshop focusing on collaborative and capacity-building
strategies. Discover community engagement strategies and ways to harness the collective power of communities.

Workshop c – Fundraising for democracy – how do we do it?
Led by James Robertson, Jessie Joe Jacobs and Mohamed Alfridi, this workshop addresses the challenge of under-resourcing in the democracy sector. Join the conversation on raising new income for the sector and ensuring diverse funding sources.

Workshop d – Collaborating for democratic change
Engage in collaborative discussions with Graham Smith (Westminster University), Sonia Bussu (Birmingham University), George Bolton (Southampton University), Matt Ryan (Southampton University), and Louise Crow (My Society) to explore ways academia can contribute to democratic change, fostering engagement and collaboration in shaping alternative democratic realities for the 21st century.

Day 2 Morning Plenary Sessions

11:10 am – Keynote: Where now for devolution
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, will consider what sort of devolution should a future government be implementing, and how could Westminster properly devolve power down and out?

11:30 am – Panel discussion: Where now for devolution
Panel discussion with Jessie Joe Jacobs, Miriam Levin, Henri Murison, and Claire Ainsley, exploring the current status and future prospects of devolution in the UK, featuring insights from key figures in the field.

12:30 pm – Lunch

Day 2 Afternoon Plenary Sessions

1:30 pm – Democracy and The Nations
Panel discussion with Willie Sullivan, Jess Blair, Aoife Clements, and Frances Crook, examining the role of democracy across the Nations of the UK.

2:25 pm – Coffee Break

2:40 pm – Keynote: Lessons from Wales
Mick Antoniw MS from the Welsh Government delivers a keynote speech sharing lessons learned and insights from Wales’ democratic journey.

Day 2 – Afternoon Workshops (Round 1)

3:00 pm – Concurrent workshops

Workshop a – AI and democracy – meet the network
Join the conversation around the opportunities and threats of AI in creating a stronger democracy with Hannah O’Rourke of Campaign Lab, Edward Saperia of Nesta Civic AI Observatory, Isabella Roberts of ANTIPARTY and Flynn Devine of Collective Intelligence Project.

Workshop b – Deliberative movement: converting the Delibwave into a movement
Join Irenie Ekkeshis of New Citizenship Project, Rich Wilson of Iswe, and Sarah Castell of Involve for a round table discussion on growing the movement for deliberation, exploring the role of deliberation in democracy and strategies for expanding its influence.

Workshop c – Campaign development
Join Helen Wishart for an ideas generation and sharing session on how we campaign for a stronger democracy together. This workshop is designed to foster collaboration, active participation, and the exchange of campaign development strategies.

Day 2 – Afternoon workshops (Round 2)

4:00 pm –  Concurrent workshops

Workshop a – Offers and Needs Market
What do you need, what can you offer? How can we work together to address the needs in the sector. Session facilitated by James Moulding.

Workshops b, c and dOpen Space
The sessions where you decide what you want to discuss! Vote on and add suggestions throughout the conference.

Day 2 – Closing Thoughts

5:00 pm – Closing Thoughts
Closing thoughts from open space, workshop leads, and other contributors.

Conference Ends