Technology at the heart of discussion at Digital Democracy event led by Swansea University

Recently, key stakeholders from across the digital sector joined forces at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff to discuss working towards a digital democracy.

The event was led by Swansea University in response to the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy being established to investigate and understand how technology can have a greater role in the relationship between Parliament, Government and the public.

Digital Democracy Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University (left), who welcomed Edward Wood from the Speaker’s Commission, said: This is an exciting and challenging initiative by the Speaker. It is particularly appropriate that the Commission should engage with Swansea University given our strong research profile in the area of human-computer interaction and the successful track record of our computer scientists in engaging with other disciplines”.

The day provided a platform for debate, discussion, and networking through a series of talks about how to better connect with citizens, audiences and customers presented by speakers from the BBC, ABMU NHS Trust, DVLA and UCL. There was also an opportunity for participants to use hands-on demonstrations including the intriguing VoxBox from UCL.

Core to the day was an exploration of how to keep the human factor at the centre of any future digital innovations. Professor Matt Jones, Head of Computer Science at Swansea University, said: “We thought about how to go beyond ‘clinical’ digital interactions, moving toward more visceral, truly alive ones. After all, democracy is all about people together, having a voice, being seen and heard; rather than, heads-down starting at screens, tapping and prodding. The day truly provided some great ideas that will now be shared with the Speaker’s Commission to help shape the future of Digital Democracy".

Edward Wood, Digital Democracy Commission at the House of Commons, added: “We're grateful to Swansea University for organising this excellent event. Swansea’s approach reinforces the Commission's view that digital democracy needs to work as politics rather than just presenting the world another neat app or website”.