Three broad themes and related questions are aimed at stimulating innovation with an emphasis on promoting historical, gender and cultural research

  1. Culture of representation:

How do cultural ideas about effective representation, gender equality and public engagement emerge for elected politicians and citizens within specific cultures and histories? What are citizens’ (or non-citizens) and CSOs’ attitudes to Parliaments (national and regional) and politicians, what difference does gender and sexuality make, and how are attitudes changing? What conversations take place between them and how are they gendered through language, performance and ritual? How and why does trust increase or decrease between politicians and people? What is the potential for combining representative and participatory democracy, what incentives can be created and what change is realistic?

  1. History of exclusion and instability:

In what circumstances has representation historically contributed to gender equality, the promotion of the rights of excluded groups, as well as stronger trust, peace and stability? Do women and men imagine the future differently and how is this shaped by their histories? What role does gender (including masculinity) have in political performance, violence and interaction? How do inequalities, rituals, language, self-confidence and claims of authority include or exclude people?


  1. Imagining deeper democracy through media and the arts:

How can national and regional Parliaments respond to people, improve outreach and enhance the relationships between politicians and the public? How can decentralization and the power dynamics between national and regional legislatures work more effectively? How can arts disciplines or creative industries (art, photography, media, social media, theatre) evoke emotions to transform relationships and influence politics in democracies? How can we measure these changes? What is unique to particular locations and what generalisation can be found across them?