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Re-imagining Politics: Votes-at-16 and Democratic Education

From 13:00 to 16:00 on 5th April 2020

Edinburgh International Conference Centre 150 Morrison Street #The Exchange Edinburgh EH3 8EE

Cost: 0

This event both opens the Political Studies Association Annual Conference (6-8th April) and contributes to a series of youth-focused engagement workshops and conferences organised by the Leverhulme Trust-funded ‘Lowering the Voting Age in the UK’ project (

The event is organised in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and Education Scotland. It will bring together young people from a wide-range of youth democracy organisations including the Scottish Youth Parliament and Youth Scotland, academics, citizenship and Modern Studies educators, and policy-makers. The event aims to help inform evidence-based policy-making, and will engage with the Scottish Parliament’s current Modern Studies inquiry, and the UK House of Commons All Political Party Group on Votes at 16 and the All Political Party Group on Democratic Participation. Representatives will attend from the Electoral Reform Society, the Electoral Commission, the Modern Studies Association, the Association for Citizenship Teachers, and the Political Studies Association Young People’s Politics specialist group.

This will be a high-impact event which seeks to capture the views and ideas of participants on a range of issues linked to the lowering of the voting age and current discussions about citizenship, Modern Studies, and democratic education in Scotland. A report from the event will be submitted to policy-makers, political parties, youth organisations, academics, and – most importantly – to young people in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The event has three main aims and objectives:

1) To present current academic research from the Leverhulme Trust-funded Lowering the Voting Age team, the University of Edinburgh, and Education Scotland. This section aims to inform all participants of the current state-of-play across the UK in terms of voting age reform, democratic education, and youth political participation.

2) To host a series of youth-led workshops focusing the best ways to prepare young people to vote, and how can democracy be reformed to become more youth-led and youth-focused. The workshops will provide opportunities for young people to help policy-makers to develop comprehensive, youth-led approaches to reforming the voting age and youth democratic engagement.

3) To facilitate a networking session for youth and democratic reform organisations, policy-makers, and academics to develop next steps initiatives with regards to youth democratic education and youth political engagement.

The event will also host the UK launch for the volume Lowering the Voting Age to 16: Learning from Real Experiences Worldwide which is co-edited by Dr Jan Eichhorn and Dr Johannes Bergh.

Local Authority Area
University of Huddersfield