As part of the Northern Ireland Civic Activism programme, we are supporting The Building Change Trust’s Democracy Day – a day long programme of events at the Belfast Imagine Festival on democracy in Northern Ireland.

When: 24th March 2017

Where: The MAC, 10 Exchange Street, Belfast, BT1 2LS

Register: via Eventbrite



Democracy Day

We are living in turbulent times for electoral democracy. But it didn’t start with the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump. Over the period 2006 – 2016 the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index recorded a decline in democratic health for more than half the 167 countries it monitors.

In many parts of the world citizens are losing faith in the electoral system that had been considered the consensus vehicle of human progress over much of the last century. Northern Ireland is no exception to this trend.

Whilst populist demagogues would have us believe ‘strong’ leadership and a return to authoritarianism is the answer, proponents of deliberative democracy believe quite the reverse – that a key part of the solution to this malaise is a deeper involvement of citizens in decision-making.

The Building Change Trust’s Democracy Day seeks to explore the health of democracy in Northern Ireland and beyond through a deliberative lens – showcasing some groundbreaking experiments both locally and internationally and initiating a dialogue about what some of the solutions may be.

Democracy Day will start with a breakfast and drama performance at 8am, with events starting at 9am and running all day. The day will culminate by putting ‘Democracy on Trial’ in a mock court setting and a keynote talk on the ‘Post Truth era’ by Professor Bill Adair, the acclaimed US journalist, academic and co-founder of the Pullitzer Prize winning website Politifact.

All of the daytime events for Democracy Day are covered by a single registration – simply register once on any of the Democracy Day daytime event pages to attend as many events as you wish. All events are free – here’s the lineup for the day:

democracy day welcome breakfast

Getting Democracy Day started with a hearty breakfast!

how healthy is democracy in NI?

Electoral democracy is creaking at the seams around the world and Northern Ireland is no different.

if you’re not at the table, you could be on the menu

Forum theatre performance and discussion with the Waste No Time team.

welfare reform NI: looking back – moving forward

See how Advice NI has been capturing the impact that Welfare Reform has had on citizens across Northern Ireland.

participatory card game: pathways to achieve and succeed

Try out Community Places’ participatory card game.

debate, deliberate, decide: consulting communities

An opportunity to take part in a deliberative poll.

open policy making: a new era for citizen engagement in NI?

Exploring what open-policy making is and what it could look like in Northern Ireland.

campervan of dreams

The popular ‘Campervan of Dreams’ returns to the Belfast’s streets!

civic activism in motion

A snapshot of the Cedar Foundation’s Insight Project.

not in my back yard

Exploring local attitudes to the siting of Renewable Energy Technology Infrastructure in rural communities.

citizen jury: have your vote

Participate in the Holywell Trust’s Citizen Jury mock-up.

fake news: what you can do about it

A quiz-style training session on fact-checking techniques from the team at FactCheckNI.

citizen assemblies: an answer to politicians’ inability to make tough decisions?

Exploring the use of Citizen’s Assemblies as a tool for deliberative democracy.

digital tools for democracy: experiences from iceland, estonia and scotland

Showcasing some of the most exciting international projects using digital tools to engage citizens in democracy.

democracy on trial: an NI Open Government Network event

A court case that puts democracy on trial.

are we living in a post-truth democracy?

A talk by Bill Adair, Pulitzer Prize winning creator of PolitiFact, at the Conor Lecture Theatre, Ulster University Belfast.