Questions around how to engage the public are not just for academics, but critical for our politicians, policy makers and proponents of democracy seeking to ensure our political system is representative.
At BU, researchers from the Politics and Media Research Group including Dr Richard Scullion, Professor Barry Richards, Dr Dan Jackson, Dr Shelley Thompson, Dr Darren Lilleker, Dr Kris Erickson and Dr Ana Adi are exploring how politics can engage, excite, interest and involve the public in a time of seemingly widespread disinterest, disengagement and distrust in our political system.
As a group, their research focuses on political communication and in particular understanding the political consumer, how to engage and mobilise members of the public using the latest technologies and how to understand the impacts of communication.
The purpose of the event was to create a two-way dialogue between political communicators, members of the public and our researchers with attendees including local politicians, local campaigners, MPs and members of the public recruited via social media.
The day was divided around brief, interactive presentations before lively and animated discussion took place. In particular, debate was focused around why the public show disinterest in our political system and how we might consider re-engaging the public, encouraging people to get involved in politics.
The event was a great example of the importance of sharing research findings with a targeted audience, who in turn through the lively discussion have been able to contribute to the co-creation of knowledge around this key political issue of our time.