Participation Now

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= course from the Open University + directory of initiatives: "Explore and engage with the field of public participation and find out how new forms of action are working to reshape contemporary life".



"Participation Now is a regularly updated and searchable archive of contemporary public participation initiatives to keep you informed of what’s new and what’s changed.

In time, we’re hoping to add multimedia resources that support reflection and debate about the possibilities and difficulties of initiatives like these.

Looking even further ahead, we’d love to build an infrastructure to help people make connections; share experiences, knowledge and research; and develop practice within this fast-changing field." (


Nick Mahony:

"At the heart of Participation Now is a dynamic archive of public participation initiatives. You can use this archive to explore differences and similarities between different forms of contemporary practice. We have developed a typology and a set of tools that allow you to filter and compare initiatives that have one or more characteristics in common.

This typology is organised around four axes:

* What

Public participation initiatives form around a wide range of issues. These categories describe the different issues that initiatives are mobilising people around, allowing you to compare initiatives that have similar aims.

* Who

These categories describe who is behind these initiatives, whether these are people, organisations or groups.

* How

Contemporary experiments in public participation take many different forms. This set of categories describes different ways in which people mobilise.

* Scale

Public participation initiatives operate at different scales. This set of categories allows you to explore those ranging from the very local to the global." (


Sampled July 2013:

  1. World Forum on Science and Democracy, "An initiative to promote political dialogue between scientific institutions and social actors on Science and Society issues at a global level".
  2. Avaaz Community Petitions, "The world's largest and most effective online campaigning community for change".
  3. /The Rules''' Movement‎, "A global movement to bring power back to people, and change the rules that create inequality and poverty around the world".
  4. 38 Degrees, A campaigning community that brings people together to take action on the issues that matter and bring about real change in the UK.
  5. People's Voice Media‎, A community development organisation specialising in using social media to support people to have a voice, challenge perceptions and describe their own reality.
  6. Icelandic Constitutional Council‎, A body of 25 appointed Icelandic citizens, which was charged with creating a constitutional draft
  7. Wisdom Council
  8. E-Democracy Org‎, Inspiring inclusive community engagement online.
  9. Thinking Together Citizen's Assembly Scotland, A collaborative forecasting game designed to bring together networks and voices from all over the world to create insights for change.
  10. People's Assembly Against Austerity, Bringing together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice.
  11. Open FSM‎

More Information

  • the researchers involved in this project, Dr. Hilde Stephansen and Dr. Nick Mahony. You can also follow the project on Twitter: @nowparticipateExternal link .