Academics and researchers will come together in Aberdeen to help the public engage with Scotland's Citizens' Assembly and the important role it can play in deliberating the future of the nation.
The aim of the Citizens’ Assembly is ‘to provide an opportunity to democratically work through the complex issues facing Scotland in a way that fosters consensus and understanding rather than division in society’.
Set up in 2019 the Assembly brings 100 ordinary people together to tackle three key questions: what kind of country are we seeking to build; how can we best overcome the challenges we face, including those arising from Brexit; and what further work should be carried out to give people the detail they need to make informed choices about the future of the country?
The Aberdeen event will look at the progress of the Citizens’ Assembly from an independent perspective and attendees can hear updates from via the co-convenor David Martin.
It will be held in the auditorium of the King’s College Conference Centre at the University of Aberdeen on Thursday December 5 and will be chaired by the University’s Senior Governor Esther Roberton.
The experiences of Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly and the constitutional changes which followed will also be discussed by the panel which includes Michela Palese from the Electoral Reform Society and Dr Clodagh Harris, Head of the Department of Government & Politics, University College Cork.
Esther Roberton said: “At a time of increased political polarisation where people feel increasingly disconnected from politics and decision-making Citizens’ Assemblies create a space for ordinary people to engage in the issue that affect them. They are a truly deliberative space where people can work through differences and find consensus.
“With the Citizens’ Assembly for Scotland currently deliberating the future of our nation there has never been a more important time to discuss these methods and explore how more of our politics can be conducted in a more participatory way.”
Willie Sullivan, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Scotland, said: “For this Assembly to work it has to address communities across Scotland. We’re creating an independent national conversation around it and it’s essential that all us of join in. Citizens must shape Scotland’s future, so it’s time to open up this Citizens’ Assembly to a vibrant debate.
“As in Ireland, this Assembly has the potential to take politics beyond the dusty corridors of power and into our communities. We want people and communities across Scotland to recognise that this Assembly is by and for them, to set out a path for the next stage in history.
“This general election, it’s crucial to recognise politics goes beyond voting once every five years. Let’s get this process right, engage with it and build a deeper democracy together.”
- Title: “What is Scotland’s Citizens’ Assembly?”
- Venue: 3BB Kings Auditorium, KCCC, 69 University Road, Aberdeen. AB24 3DR
- Times: 5 December 2019, 6-8pm
Author: Joanne Milne