Anya Anya Richards
Research student, School of Journalism, Media and Culture
- Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS
My research explores how digital platforms can be used to re-engage citizens in better dialogue about decisions that affect their lives and communities. It examines how UK local councils use digital platforms to engage residents on issues such as waste/recycling, schools and social care, thereby creating the conditions for collaborative local democracy. The research evaluates a range of platforms and digital tools, as well as considering limitations to enhancing democracy such as digital inequality issues around access and skills.
JOMEC Teaching Assistant for:
- Understanding Digital Media
- War, Politics and Propaganda
- Digital Culture
- Debates and Concepts in Media and Communication
Council 2.0: Re-imagining digital engagement for collaborative local democracy
We are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution, driven by accessible digital technology. This technological revolution is propelling citizens to change how they interact with traditional democratic institutions such as local councils.
Councils have struggled to adapt to the digital environment, and relationships between councils and local citizens have become strained as expectations have changed.
In addition, for over a decade, austerity measures imposed on local authorities have led to deep cuts and reductions in council services. This has further contributed to a deterioration in the relationship between local residents and councils around the UK.
Effective citizen/council relationships are fundamental to good local decision-making. This research explores how digital platforms can be used to re-engage citizens in better dialogue about crucial decisions that affect their lives and communities. It examines a range of digital platforms, analysing how to establish effective spaces for two-way dialogue on issues such as waste/recycling, schools and social care, thereby creating the conditions for collaborative local democracy.
Using a case study approach of two very different local councils – one urban and one in rural Wales – the research evaluates a selection of platforms and digital tools, as well as considering the limitations of digital technology to enhance democracy, including infrastructure problems like poor broadband access, and the digital skills gap.
The epistemological foundations of this research are grounded in a qualitative, interpretative approach using the following mixed methods:
- Semi-structured interviews
- Critical technocultural discourse analysis – of social media and platform content
- Elements of Netnography
- Document analysis