Parliament Week Initiative 2014

Hardcopy or #Hashtag? Young People’s Vision for a Digital Parliament

17 November 2014, 2:30pm-4:00pm, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House

The “Hardcopy or #Hashtag?” event takes place during Parliament Week, the theme of which is youth engagement. This event has been organised jointly by the Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group and the Political Studies Association. This is the culmination of a series of workshops which have been held around the country in which sixth form students have worked with 11 participating universities and politics undergraduate students to come up with innovative ideas to increase youth engagement with Parliament through digital means.

Fifteen workshops were held between 8th September and 20th October. The following schools, colleges and universities participated:

 Schools and Colleges

Blundell’s School, Devon; Colyton Grammar School, Devon; County Upper School; Bury St Edmunds; Crest Academy, London; Godalming College; John Cleveland College; Kings School, Canterbury; Oakwood Grammar, Maidstone; Pocklington School, East Yorkshire; Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington; Rawlins Academy, Loughborough; Regent College, Leicester; South Leicestershire College; St Dominic’s Grammar School, Belfast; St Edmund’s School, Canterbury; St Francis Xavier College, London; St John’s College, Cardiff; Wiggeston Queen Elizabeth College, Leicester.

Other participants

Kirklees Youth Council; Scottish Youth Parliament.


Birkbeck, Canterbury Christ Church, Cardiff, De Montfort, East Anglia, Exeter, Huddersfield, Hull, Strathclyde, Surrey, Ulster

The workshops generated some excellent debate on Twitter. See our storify summary here.

One idea was selected from each workshop and will presented at the Hardcopy or #Hashtag event, through a poster display and a series of one minute pitches to an audience of young people and academics. The session will be run by filmmaker and Commissioner of the Digital Democracy Commission, Femi Oyeniran, in conjunction with an invited panel of digital democracy experts:

  • Aileen Walker (Director of Public Engagement, UK Parliament)
  • Drew Thomson (Founder of Starcount)
  • Emma Mulqueeny (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Young Rewired State)

Around 120 sixth form students from across the UK will be attending the event. Their input will be crucial in discussing the merits of the ideas presented by the winning students. The event will conclude with an interactive vote for the best overall idea.  The ideas discussed at the event will be fed back to the Digital Democracy Commission which was set up by the Speaker of the House of Commons earlier this year.

Further details about the event, including an overview of all of the winning ideas is available in the booklet accompanying the event. Registration for the event is now full, but you can follow the discussion on the day using the #PSAPW and #DoDemocracy hashtags.



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