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International Day of Democracy 2018

Saturday 15 September brings the International Day of Democracy 2018, which this year has the theme of Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World.

According to the United Nations (UN), it “is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces. This includes tackling economic and political inequalities, making democracies more inclusive by bringing the young and marginalized into the political system, and making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges such as migration and climate change”.

Here at Durham University Business School, there is ongoing research and analysis of economic and political inequalities. An example of this is the work of Professor Laurence Ferry, who specialises in looking at public accountability.

In November 2017, Professor Ferry’s research with Professor Ileana Steccolini of Newcastle University was translated into the jazz musical, The Austerity Playbook which was performed in Newcastle at Northern Stage. This was a rather interesting and unique way of presenting economic research and brought such discussions to light in a creative format.

Professor Ferry has also recently spoken about the journey to becoming a Parliamentary Fellow. This was an article in the most recent edition of Impact magazine, the Business School’s thought leadership publication. An excerpt of this can be read below.

“My research into accountability of public services has had various impacts, including workshops, involving key institutional players such as the National Audit Office, Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the Local Government Association and the Centre for Public Scrutiny among others.

I have also provided written evidence to Parliament cited by Select Committees in their reports and distributed to MPs, influencing their thoughts on key issues affecting the country. In December 2017, I was invited to give oral evidence at the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on Brexit and Local Government at Parliament. Furthermore... I have since been invited to talk around this in Paris and Washington DC.

What is most exciting is being successful as a Parliamentary Academic Fellow 2018-2019. I…work closely with a select committee on a range of issues where research can be fed into policy and practice. I am lucky to be working with the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee on public accountability, and more specifically on looking at whether accountability arrangements for local government are robust given the significant changes that the sector has had to deal with including austerity-localism, financial and service sustainability, devolution, combined authorities, Brexit and the industrial strategy.”

To read the rest of the article, please click here.