Political Institutions and Democratic Reform

Traditional institutions in liberal democracies are facing a legitimacy crisis, with declining voter turnout, decreased political party membership and low levels of political trust undermining the quality of democracy.

This research strand examines the ways in which political institutions can respond to these democratic challenges.

It examines and evaluates examples of democratic innovation from around the world, considering how new techniques such as citizen assemblies, open primaries for candidate selection and online participative tools, can be used to enhance democracy.

We are particularly interested in the challenges faced by political parties, and efforts to open up public services by providing new opportunities for citizen engagement.

Key questions include: What are the challenges faced by contemporary democratic institutions? How can democracy be revitalized? What examples of successful democratic innovation can be identified from around the world? Can political parties be revitalized and, if so, how?

Liberal democracies are facing a legitimacy crisis, with declining voter turnout, decreased political party membership and low levels of political trust undermining the quality of democracy

Politics, Art and Expression

This research examines the relationship between participation in arts projects and engagement in politics - particularly amongst disadvantaged communities.