Award-winning research proves Democracy Matters

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Three academics from the University of Southampton have won awards for their work shaping the relationship between the British public and politics.

Will Jennings, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Gerry Stoker, Professor of Governance, and Dr Paolo Spada are part of the Democracy Matters Citizen’s Assembly Project, which won the Democratic Innovation Award at the Political Studies Association (PSA) Annual Awards at Westminster. The team is also made up of researchers from four other universities and members of the Electoral Reform Society.

The project addresses the gap between the public and politicians, political processes and political institutions by using high-impact, responsive research. The team brought together politicians, regional leaders and the public to debate a range of options for Britain’s constitutional future. Will said:

This marks an important contribution to the conversation about politics and democracy in this country. We have shown there is a real potential for a new way of doing things.

Democracy Matters assessed how new regional powers can be established in a form that is supported by local residents using pilot assemblies in Sheffield and Southampton in 2015. These pilot assemblies gave insights into the benefit of using such an approach. The project was praised by the PSA judging panel for its potential to ‘shape future democratic reforms and the devolution of power at local and regional levels.’

For more information, watch the Democracy Matters video below:


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