Putting people at the heart of a true civic university: The case of UEA


In February 2019 The Civic University Commission asked what it means to be a civic university in the 21st century, one that puts its economic, social, environmental and cultural role in the community at the centre of its strategy. It found great examples of civic activity, but rarely was the approach strategic and based on the real needs of their local communities.

Universities have responded to this call and are taking their role as civic institutions increasingly seriously, but too often they fall short in how they engage communities; they seek out conversations that they have already deemed to be worth listening to, rather than creating open listening channels.

The University of East Anglia set out to do this differently. Demos worked with UEA to use the digital dialogue tool, Polis, which has introduced nuance and subtlety to democratic processes in Taiwan, Kentucky and Singapore, to understand what local people really want from a truly civic university.

Read the full report here.