When does volunteering promote democratic engagement and when does it leave political norms unchallenged and reproduce the status quo? Can volunteering opportunities be structured to facilitate democratic engagement, and if so how? Should the National Citizenship Service for 16-year olds be compulsory or voluntary? Has research on volunteering adequately engaged with ‘non-mainstream’ or oppositional activist groups like Climate Camp? These are some of the questions explored yesterday in a lively seminar called Volunteering and Democratic Engagement, jointly organised by the Institute for Volunteering Research and Birkbeck, University of London. The seminar marked the official launch of a research partnership between the two organisers. It featured presentations by Professor Rachel Brooks (Brunel University), Paul Oginsky (government advisor on the National Citizenship Service) and Sophie Livingstone (Chief Executive of City Year).
The seminar presentations and the supporting publication can be downloaded here.
The next seminar, on international volunteering for young people, will be held in early December. Keep an eye on IVR’s events page for more information when it’s announced.