newDemocracy Foundation R&D: May 2017 Research Newsletter

Welcome to our new research newsletter.

The newDemocracy Foundation takes research seriously. We have funded independent research projects for many years (and reports from these projects can be found on our website), but have recently decided to take an even more proactive and direct approach.

Our focus will now be to commission specific research, rather than calling for proposals, when we detect a particular gap in our own knowledge. We are also critically reflecting on our work to date and documenting learnings in order to improve our practices. We want to continually learn and find improved ways to demonstrate how democracy can be done better. 

This has shifted the emphasis from being a research institute to being a research-and-development one. With this in mind, we have not only launched the publication of our R&D Notes (described below) but also this new e-newsletter to share the knowledge and insights we are documenting.

We hope you will join us on the learning journey so that we may jointly improve the way we do democracy.

Lyn Carson,
Research Director

Journal of Public Deliberation

newDemocracy is a principal funding contributor of the Journal of Public Deliberation, a peer reviewed, open access journal focused on the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in deliberative democracy. The latest issue, Volume 13. Issue 1 has recently launched and includes:

Full access to the articles is available at:

Pollinate: The Pulse Quantitative Research Study
A case for change and support for citizen juries

In March 2017, Pollinate Research conducted a quantitative study to takes the ‘pulse’ of Australians on a range of issues and concerns. Pollinate is an independently owned and run research agency based in Sydney, and have conducted similar work on a regular basis since 2007. Each round of research samples 1,000 respondents nationwide, and this latest round included a series of questions for newDemocracy, designed to give an insight into trust in Australian democratic structures and systems; how everyday Australians want those structures and systems to work better; and what role they see for themselves in achieving that.

The research was conducted on a pro-bono basis by Pollinate, and was presented at our recent Grandstand event ‘A Matter of Trust‘ where Howard Parry-Husbands, Founder of Pollinate, presented their findings before Jonathan O’Dea, Member for Davidson, and our own Kathy Jones, founding board member of newDemocracy, discussed their views on the findings.

R&D Notes

newDemocracy has continued to publish R&D Notes, exploring different aspects of deliberation and citizen juries.

Recently, Dr Oliver Escobar from the University of Edinburgh and What Works Scotland, and Dr Stephen Elstub from Newcastle University authored ‘Forms of Mini-Publics: An Introduction to Deliberative Innovations in Democratic Practice‘.

Escobar and Elstub bring an international perspective to the various forms of mini-publics occurring both domestically here in Australia, and also internationally throughout Europe and Canada. They’ve tackled constitutional and electoral reform, social issues, and complex science and technology.

This note is a must read for those interested in understanding different approaches to using deliberation or deliberative methods.

Our latest R&D Note explores ‘Integrating Citizen Deliberation into National Decisions‘ by way of using the Irish Prime Minister’s Office as an example. Research Director Lyn Carson explains what is happening in Ireland and how it highlights the strength of institutionalising deliberative practice in public office, and its capacity to open up politically fraught debate in a considered evidence based setting.

Research Papers

newDemocracy commission’s specific research to assist in learning from and improving our practice. We have recently received research from our 2016 commissions, these include:

A Global Wrap-up

newDemocracy keeps across the latest in democratic theory and deliberative democracy literature. Here is a quick selection of recently published articles we’ve found insightful to developing and refining our thoughts and practice.
Founding Partner – The Democracy R&D International Partnership.

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