Democracy and participation, Social inclusion, This series aims to help start an epochal conversation about the fundamental transformation of our political structures and the way we do politics.

All Hands On


Who is behind this?

Patrick Chalmers

Government By Us Productions


Who is joining forces?

Common Weal

United Kingdom

Work is underway to find more funders and media partners. The short film series, shot in different states, offers diverse partnership opportunities. Talks are underway with EU and global partners.

Idea Sketch


Idea pitch

It was Europe that gave the world “democracy” - via Ancient Athens - a hopeful flag for all who live under its rule. Yet modern democracy’s loose definition, and poor practice, make its realities hard to love. The result is deep dismay with politicians and a chance for hatemongers. Our antidote is to analyse the problems of politics and seek solutions. This short-documentary series will explore real-life European examples of democracy’s original approach, ones using citizen juries chosen by lot.

Where will your idea take place?

Cities in the Netherlands, France, Greece and assorted other EU locations.

Why does Europe need your idea?

What if we took the stage? We already have, in citizens’ juries in Ireland, on abortion, in Dutch cities via the G1000, and in Paris, via Conseils Citoyens. Madrid, Cambridge in England and Northern Ireland are doing, or soon to do, the same. Democratic transformation is here, we just need to look.

What is your impact?

People will have broken free of the mental cage that has us think democracy means no more than some basic freedoms and occasional votes. They’ll have learned the original definition truly meant “government by the people”, not via elections but random selection and deliberation among citizens.

How do you get there?

This short film series will help diagnose what ails our democracies – by exploring and exposing the structural faults of elections – then showcasing real-life solutions. A proof-of-concept film, shot in Ireland and already released, shows how public juries can step through the political deadlocks typifying electoral politics. A series of films, shot in EU countries and further afield, will show the scale of political progress already underway. This is that rare thing – good news about politics.

What is your story?

I've worked as a freelance and salaried reporter over 25 years, including five years in Brussels. I left a mainstream job at Reuters in 2005 with big questions about the poor state of our democracies and our media. This solutions-focused short film series is the fruit of that thinking.

Who are you doing it for?

All beings on the planet, not just the humans alive today. Direct beneficiaries will be those in the showcased centres but also those elsewhere who aspire to help change their political structures.

What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

The core work featured in this application is to research and complete pre-production work for three of the short documentaries in the series, one in Athens, one in the Netherlands/France and one EU wide. Each episode will explore the real-life public juries at work.


Patrick Chalmers

Phil Adams

Iain Walker

Idea created on Jan. 19, 2018
Last edit on Jan. 19, 2018

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