Alex Prior (University of East Anglia) & Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Leeds) discuss the potential for parliamentary story-telling to reach new audiences and to promote wider public engagement.
Recent decades have witnessed an increase of public distrust in politics, particularly towards core political institutions such as parliaments (Dalton 2017; Norris 2011; Hay 2007; Stoker 2006; Dalton 2004). In this context, parliaments have invested in the expansion of public engagement activities (Leston-Bandeira 2013). This is particularly evident within the UK Parliament since 2005 (Leston-Bandeira 2016), a time period that constitutes the focus of this article. Initiatives have been developed in numerous areas, from the creation of the Centre for Education in 2015 to the introduction of digital debates (also in 2015). There has been considerable experimentation with new initiatives and the way they relate to parliamentary business, or the extent to which they are developed in parallel with business. Storytelling is one of these new approaches, constituting a new means for engagement which aims to represent Parliament as relatable and relevant to citizens.
By Marc Geddes
I have been Communications Officer for the PSA Specialist Group on Parliaments for almost two years, and I have loved it. It has allowed me to engage with a range of academics, researchers, students and practitioners to help disseminate their research whilst also promoting the study of parliaments and legislatures across the UK. The main way that I have sought to do this is through our website, and especially through our blogs, which cover topical issues or overviews of legislatures. But why does this even matter? Why should parliamentary and legislative scholars be blogging? There are at least three reasons, and each relates to the audience that we are trying to engage: the public, practitioners, and academics.
By Tom Caygill
Last year I was one of the lucky two applicants to be offered one of the PSA/House of Commons Committee Office placements. The placement was a great opportunity: to utilise the skills I use in my PhD in a different context, while developing new ones; to better understand the ethos of select committees; and to discuss my doctoral research with parliamentary staff, which has gone on to help shape my final research design.
We are pleased to announce our planned panels for the Annual PSA Conference, to be held on 21-23 March 2016, in Brighton. At #psa16, we will have six panels, covering a range of parliamentary and legislative issues, as well as a lunch time event, covering research impact and its relationship to Parliament. Titles and authors are listed here, but may be subject to change. We will try to add further details as and when they become available. Continue reading