Civic Engagement & Digital Technology

Civic engagement: How can digital technology encourage greater engagement in Civic Society

The final consultation of four in the Corsham Institute 2017 Thought Leadership Programme in partnership with Rand Europe.

The need for a stronger, more effective understanding of a good citizenship within a connected society was a key theme to emerge from our 2016 Thought Leadership programme. This final event in the 2017 series will therefor build on this theme, and consider how digital technology might be used to strengthen local communities and engage citizens of all ages more generally in our democracy.

With rising disenchantment with main stream political parties, lower voter participation, the rise in support for populist (challenger) political parties, and a general shift in attitudes away from traditional institutions of authority, there is a need to revisit how we can better engage citizens of all ages and backgrounds in civic society, and to support greater participation in our democratic processes at a national as well as local level.

#DigitalSociety

@StGeorgesHouse @Corsham_Inst @RANDEurope

Astrobiology

Nature and Human Nature: The Digital Media Conversation on Science and Society

The search for biological life in the cosmos has long been a preoccupation of humankind and is now an established multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation under the name of astrobiology. In September 2015, with funding from the NASA Astrobiology Program, the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton (CTI) embarked on a series of cross-disciplinary conversations between the sciences and humanities on the cultural impact of this search on society.

CTI is an independent institution for advanced research on global concerns. It convenes scholars in the humanities and theologians in projects that consider the implications of science, not only for religion but also for society. Astrobiology is at the heart of the discourse.

We live at a time when the existence of life elsewhere seems increasingly likely. Science fiction moves ever closer to becoming science fact. In the United States, NASA continues to be at the forefront of this research and will play a central role in our June conversation.

Inevitably, much of the media response to this area of research is rich in sensationalism but poor in reasoned, cross-disciplinary analysis. Yet all the while scientists and scholars in the humanities and social sciences have been holding a different conversation on science and society, a much more nuanced, thoughtful and creative conversation. It is this conversation that we wish to develop in June and to consider what might be the role of digital media in making this discourse more widely accessible. This will include consideration of the impact of digital media on human nature.

a cross in a box on a voting card

Learning for Democracy

In partnership with Democracy Matters

These are momentous times in global politics. The UK has begun its formal withdrawal from the European Union; in the USA, the advent of President Trump has polarised the American electorate in ways that have not been seen for decades. Elections loom across Europe.

Inevitably, democracy itself is under scrutiny.

 As the background paper suggests, just 21% of Britons trust politicians to tell the truth (Ipsos-Mori 2016). Only a third are satisfied with how Parliament works and think the system by which Britain is governed works well, with those furthest from Westminster most likely to be dissatisfied (Hansard Society 2016 Audit of Political Engagement). Only 13% of people feel they have any influence. On average, 40% of 18-24 year olds voted in the last four general elections, compared to over 60% in 1992. The UK’s youth turnout rate is the lowest in Western Europe, and half that of Sweden, for example.

How do we address such apathy? How might we educate our young people to become active participants in the democratic process? How might we use formal and informal education to help create a democracy that works for as many people as possible?

@StGeorgesHouse @DemocracyM

Multicolored people holding hands

Senior Faith Leadership Programme

While training for faith leaders is wide-ranging and varied, nowhere in the UK are mid- to senior religious decision makers trained in leadership skills side by side.

The Senior Faith Leadership Programme is intended  to deepen encounters between those who are serving the Abrahamic communities in Britain, whether in a lay or clerical capacity. Its focus is on developing leadership – which by its nature is an inter-disciplinary phenomenon. Leadership of communities affects people from all walks of life and concerns the diversity of human experience.

The 2017 SFLP will span three 3-day residencies, starting in January.

Applications for the 2017 Leadership Programme are now open. To apply, please visit here

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