Skip to content
Society, Politics & Law

Links and resources

Updated Wednesday 30th October 2013

Want to find out more about participatory public engagement? Here’s a collection of links to websites, events and resources that may be useful.

Participation Now project team and partners

The Participation Now project is led by Nick Mahony and Hilde C. Stephansen, who are both based in The Open University’s Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG). They are involved in a number of initiatives that are concerned with contemporary public participation and engagement, including:

  • CCIG’s Publics research programme, which focuses on understanding the registers and mediums through which publics are mobilised, summoned, and performed.

  • The Creating Publics  project, which aims to reconceptualise public engagement in an age of emergent publics.

  • The Catalyst project, an RCUK-funded project that is investigating and working to support public engagement with research across all areas of The Open University.

  • The Publics then, now and beyond  network, an international and interdisciplinary network of researchers who are interested in the topic of the public.

Current and upcoming events

  • Participatory Video: Better Practice for Social Change – a global series of blended face-to-face and online workshops about Participatory Video for researchers, activists and development workers. Co-ordinated by the Open University (UK), InsightShare, Web Gathering and Open Cinema. May 2014 – January 2015.

  • World Forum for Democracy 2014  – Strasbourg, 3-5 November 2014. Initiated by the Council of Europe, this is “an annual gathering of leaders, opinion-makers, civil society activists, representatives of business, academia, media and professional groups to debate key challenges for democracies worldwide”.

Past events

  • Borders to Cross Conference 2013  – Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 29-31 October 2013. An “international, mainly European conference for up to 250 government professionals, active citizens, social entrepreneurs and academics in the field of social and democratic innovation”

  • Rethink Participatory Cultural Citizenship  – Aarhus University, Denmark, 14-16 November 2013. A conference for “scientists, artists and cultural activists to explore and debate processes in and perspectives on participatory cultural citizenship”.

  • The Participatory Condition  – McGill University, Canada, 15-16 November 2013. An International Colloquium which aims “to assess the role of media in the development of a principle whose expansion has become so large as to become the condition of our contemporaneity”.


  • Actipedia - an open-access, user-generated database of creative activism.

  • Beautiful Trouble  – a “book and web toolbox that puts the accumulated wisdom of decades of creative protest into the hands of the next generation of change-makers”.

  • InsightShare – an organisation that specialises in the “use of Participatory Video as a tool for individuals and groups to grow in self-confidence and trust, and to build skills to act for change”.

  • National Co-ordinating Centre for Public EngagementExternal link  – a centre funded by Research Councils UK, HEFCE and the Wellcome Trust which “helps inspire and support universities to engage with the public”.

  • ParticipateDB  – a “collaborative catalogue for online tools for participation”.

  • Participedia  – an “an open global knowledge community for researchers and practitioners in the field of democratic innovation and public engagement”.

  • Participation Compass  – "helps people in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors who need to involve a wider group of people in their work".

  • Participatory Open Online Course (POOC) – a course that “addresses the history, problems and possibilities of participatory media in contemporary society”. Offered as a complement to to Media@McGill’s international colloquium on The Participatory Condition (Montreal on the 15th and 16th November 2013).

  • SHIEN (Scottish Homelessness Involvement and Empowerment Network) - a national network launched in December 2008 “with the aim of using the expertise and experience of a range of organisations to collectively advance our understanding of and approach to expert service user involvement”.

If you have any suggestions for links or resources that you think we should include in this section, please email us.


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Call for contributions Creative commons image Icon The Open University/openDemocracy under Creative-Commons license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Call for contributions

A call for contributions from people and projects involved with public participation and engagement.

Participatory public engagement: reshaping what it means to be public? Creative commons image Icon Scotticus_ under CC-BY-NC licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Participatory public engagement: reshaping what it means to be public?

Participation Now: exploring how participatory public engagement may be reshaping what it means to be public.

Public engagement, a social priority? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Joanne Zh | article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Public engagement, a social priority?

Living in a perpetual state of fear, people prefer to isolate themselves from what they perceive as the “ineffective” mechanisms of public participation; creating and perpetuating a negative vicious circle.

Participation Now: Patterns, possibilities, politics Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Participation Now: Patterns, possibilities, politics

Reviewing key milestones in the development and progress of Participation Now.

Children's participation Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Children's participation

Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child introduced the right of children to have a say in issues affecting them. Although historic accounts demonstrate some children's willingness and ability to express an opinion pre-dating the UNCRC, a more visible emphasis on children's involvement and participation, particularly in the design and delivery of children's services, has been identified in its wake. In this free course, Children's participation, theory, practice guidelines and practitioner accounts are used to help the learner reflect on values and develop knowledge and skills for effective engagement and communication with groups of children in different contexts.

Free course
12 hrs
Science promotion Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 3 icon

Health, Sports & Psychology 

Science promotion

This free course will look at how public engagement in science and technology might be achieved through science promotion. Science promotion and public involvement in policy making can require both formal and informal objectives: some are explicit and some are implicit, some are articulated at the planning stage and some are unexpected. These objectives can entail participation, engagement, knowledge exchange and learning all of which require a degree of motivation by all parties.

Free course
12 hrs
Democratizing Inequalities Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Radist777 | article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Democratizing Inequalities

Participation has become a necessary basis for institutional authority in an era of declining social mobility and government retrenchment.

Participation Now: Meet the practitioners Creative commons image Icon stethoscope under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Participation Now: Meet the practitioners

We have conducted a series of interviews with people involved in organising public participation initiatives.

Building the middle ground Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Amornme | article icon

Society, Politics & Law 

Building the middle ground

For my colleagues, nothing short of complete people-driven management would do. On the other hand, the government colleagues I befriended and worked with perceived participation as a necessary evil.