Highlights from "By the People" – Democracy Conference, ASU




Where better to talk about democracy in December than under the sunny, blue skies of Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ? Researchers and practitioners from around the world converged on ASU for the “By the People” Democracy conference. The PBP staff in attendance were treated to three days of discussion about the current state and future of participatory democracy, civic engagement, and citizenship education in the United States and beyond. It was exciting to see so many researchers and practitioners sharing their work on PB – around 30 individual presentations in total!

Here are some highlights from the conference, as seen by some of the PB researchers who participated:

“The conference breaks, be they coffee breaks, lunches or dinners. I enjoyed watching participants discussing ideas from the conference sessions, providing feedback to presenters, meeting old friends, finding new kindred spirits, making new friendships, and exploring possibilities of future collaborations … and all this in several languages! Many of those informal interactions will eventually become new intellectual contributions to the field and important projects on the ground.” — Professor Daniel Schugurensky, School of Public Affairs and School of Social Transformation, ASU.

“It was inspiring to learn about all of the amazing efforts taking place around the world to transform democracy and to be able to exchange ideas, research, and promising practices!” — Thea Crum, Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois-Chicago.

“‘By the people’ with positive and passionate energy! After meeting participants and listening to them at the conference, I was assured that it is all about us, and it is all possible by us.” — Won No, PhD Candidate, School of Public Affairs, ASU.

“Conversations with Giovanni Allegretti, Ginny Browne, Jessica Taft, and Mia Salamone shifted my opinions on various models of youth involvement in PB processes. Their respective ideas … brought theory to life and left me with new questions and increased excitement for these types of collaborative innovations.” — Ashley Brennan, Undergraduate Student, Psychology and Human Rights, ASU.

“The conference was a great opportunity to meet practitioners and researchers dedicated to understand, promote and deepen participatory processes across the globe.” — Clara Bois, Research Associate, PBP

“My highlight from the conference was getting to connect in person with so many people – researchers, practitioners, students … I came away not only from their lectures but also from chats and lunches and other informal connections feeling so uplifted by the passion and intelligence and capacity of all the people there who are working in this space.” — Chloe Rinehart, Research Assistant, Public Agenda

“As a youth worker, the conference was a really helpful opportunity to contextualize my students’ experience in a larger conversation about the implications, challenges, and strengths of PB as a tool for authentic democratic decision-making.” — Mia Salamone, Mikva Challenge

Big thanks to the organizing committee for so many memorable conference experiences!

Want to learn more about who presented what at the ASU Democracy Conference? Check out the full program here.

Want more PB news?

Get free tools, updates, and the latest news on participatory budgeting.