McMaster University: McMaster hosts global conference exploring democracy in times of crisis

The tensions, challenges and threats confronting global democracy will be on the agenda for an international group of activists, artists, scholars, practitioners, students and others gathering on campus and online next week.

Hosted by McMaster on June 9 and 10, the Participedia Partners Conference brings together an international research community that will explore the future of democracy, including strategies to defend, expand and deepen civic inclusion and democratic governance.

Participedia is a global network of 63 researchers from 22 universities and 21 organizations across 12 countries that shares knowledge and tactics around public participation, civic inclusion and democratic innovations. Researchers work within six related clusters:

Participatory and deliberative governance
Human and political rights
Democratic accountability
Democratic representation
Democracy across borders
Digital democracy, the world’s largest crowdsourced database aimed at sharing knowledge and generating research related to democratic innovations, contains entries for more than 4,000 cases, methods and organizations.

Participedia is based at McMaster within the Faculty of Humanities’ Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice.

The conference has two hybrid events that are open to the public and available in person and online:

On June 9, Syrus Marcus Ware, an assistant professor in McMaster’s School of the Arts, will present “Abolitionist Innovations” Participatory Art and Activism,” which explores the artistic intent and impact of performance and video pieces created by Ware, followed by an interactive discussion.
On June 10, leaders in political science from universities in Australia, Canada and South Africa will discuss the challenges facing contemporary democracy and how Participedia research responds. The panel discussion, called “Democracy in Times of Crises,” will be moderated by Participedia’s director, McMaster professor Bonny Ibhawoh.
“This Participedia conference is timely because it addresses complex global crises that we confront today, from wars and exclusionary populism to the pandemic and climate crisis,” says Ibhawoh, who is the Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights and a member of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development.

“A diverse and multidisciplinary group of scholars, policymakers and practitioners will deliberate on these challenges and explore ways of strengthening democracy and public participation in governance even amidst political polarizations, economic uncertainties and social distrust.”