Renewing Democracy

Michele Acuto, Claudia Chwalisz, Darren Hughes, Michael Kenny and Ece Temelkuran

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It’s argued widely that democracy is in trouble: broken politics, the rise of the autocrats, declining trust in politicians and experts, low turnouts in elections, electoral interference. Is there a role for cities and city leaders in overcoming this and making democracy work for all? How do we get the city leaders we need? Do we need new electoral systems? How can we get citizens engaged in their city?

Speakers include: Michele Acuto (University of Melbourne, co-author most recently of Leading Cities: A Global Review of City Leadership), Claudia Chwalisz (OECD, currently leading work on innovative citizen participation), Darren Hughes (Chief Executive, Electoral Reform Society and formerly government minister, deputy leader and then shadow leader of the House in New Zealand) and Ece Temelkuran (novelist and commentator, author most recently of How to Lose a Country: The Seven Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship). Chaired by Michael Kenny, director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge.

In association with


Booking opens Monday 2 September 2019.

Book online or in person at Watershed Box Office or on Tel: 0117 927 5100 Mon – Fri from 09:00 and Sat & Sun from 10:00.

Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit latecomers. As this is a free event – and in the interest of fairness – only one ticket can be reserved per transaction. If you would like additional tickets please book for the event again. To combat the high number of ‘no shows’ at our free events, we overbook by 20%. We ask that ticket holders are in their seats 10 minutes before start to guarantee their place. We will also admit anyone waiting without a ticket into empty seats 5 minutes before the start time.

We endeavour to hold events in venues that are accessible to all. Watershed’s cinemas and event spaces are all located on the first floor which is accessible via the lift located in the main entrance foyer at Box Office. Once on the first floor there is level access to all areas. The venue has a hearing loop system. If you have specific access concerns it is advisable to contact the venue direct.

We sometimes film and photograph events. Please let us know if you do not wish to be filmed or photographed.

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