Young creators gathered in the Senedd to share their stories.

‘We need to know more about how democracy works,’ young people tell Senedd event

Performers say sharing content is a good way to spread the word

YOUNG people have told a Senedd event they want a change in the way democracy is explained to people in Wales.

When people don’t understand how the system works they can end up losing interest, said performers and artists working with the non-profit organisation, The Democracy Box. 

A total of 77% of 199 respondents to a survey by The Democracy Box said they did not know who their councillor was, or the role they played.

The Senedd Building. Credit: Murthaza Ali-Hassan

“Can we honestly say we’re a democracy if a majority of people don’t understand what it is all about?” said organiser Yvonne Murphy.

“Democracy is 365 days a year, not just at the ballot box.”

The Democracy Box told the Senedd event about its work and made recommendations based on the findings of three years of research.

These include:

  • Including democratic education on the school curriculum for pupils aged seven to 16.
  • Urging the Electoral Commission and the BBC to help share educational content.
  • Encouraging the UK and Welsh governments to promote trustworthy and non-partisan sources of information.
  • Encouraging news organisations to address political issues by theme rather than concentrating on elections.

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission at the event said it was “actively considering how we will take some of the recommendations forward”.

Democracy Box pays 67 young artists and performers or “co-creators” to make songs, podcasts, videos, and illustrations that can be shared.

Mrs Murphy believes this creative storytelling is the best way to teach people about UK democracy. 

Co-creators Taya, Thandi Corklin, and Hannah Ringane (from left). Credit: Murthaza Ali-Hassan

One of those co-creators is Hannah Ringane, a law graduate from Birmingham. She said she had become more interested in politics since joining The Democracy Box.

“I want people to know who their representatives are,” she said.

Thandi Corklin, a 22-year-old from Cardiff, performed a song about democracy in the UK during this, her first visit to the Senedd. 

“I feel really excited to have this platform where we can speak,” she said. 

Co-creator Josh White. Image Credit: Murthaza Ali-Hassan

Josh White, otherwise known as the artist Blank Face, said: “I really appreciate that I’m a part of a team that is making actual change.”

A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission at the event said that “actively considering how we will take some of the recommendations forward”.

“Amongst all wellbeing factors, democratic health is one of them,” said Mick Antoniw MS. 

Keynote speaker Mick Antoniw, MS for Pontypridd, praised the work of The Democracy Box and said it was a modern version of the programmes on political education that used to be screened in cinemas.

He pledged to read The Democracy Box’s report.

The Democracy Box is a non-partisan organisation dedicated to politics “beyond the ballot box”’. It has collaborated with 30 organisations, including the Electoral Commission, the BBC, and the Institute of Welsh Affairs. 

Its funding runs out next month, so Mrs Murphy is looking for organisations to help continue its work.