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DemCon 2018


The Democracy Convention – or DemCon  – took place in Dublin Ireland in 2018.

Organised by the Solonian Democracy Institute, DemCon was conceived as a gathering of academics, NGOs, activists, journalists and technologists who understand that we are on the cusp of major changes in how democracy is exercised around the world.


The theme of DemCon 2018 was "Democracy in 2030" and speakers from all around the world spoke on topics including Digital Democracy, Universal Basic Income, Citizens' Assemblies and Participatory Budgeting. 

Below you will find a list of speakers at the convention along with further links and information.

Click on image to download programme​



Dr. Roslyn Fuller

Director, Solonian Democracy Institute

Dr. Roslyn Fuller is a leading expert on applying the original principles of Athenian Democracy to 21st century states and organisations. Her ground-breaking book, "Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose", has re-defined the modern theory of democracy. 

Having lectured in International Law in Ireland, Roslyn is now a regular commentator in leading international publications including Salon, The Nation, the LA Review of Books, Alternet and many more.

As director of the Solonian Democracy Institute, Roslyn studies how understanding Athenian democratic principles can transform decision-making processes and how this will affect our future society. Her research is regularly presented at leading international conferences.



Dr. Richard Barbrook

Digital Democracy and Games Strategist, UK Labour Party

Richard Barbrook is a senior lecturer in the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Westminster.
His study of the political and ideological role of the prophecies of artificial intelligence and the information society: "Imaginary Futures: from thinking machines to the global village was awarded the Marshall McLuhan prize for outstanding book in the field of media ecology.

He is a trustee of Cybersalon – a London-based new media think-tank – and is now closely involved in its campaign for the Internet Bill of Rights.

Since November 2017, he is the Digital Democracy and Games Strategist for the UK Labour Party.



Lionel "Ploum" Dricot

Engineer, Blogger & Blockchain Consultant

Lionel Dricot, mostly known under the nickname Ploum, is an engineer, writer, blogger and blockchain consultant. Passionate about freedom and decentralisation, he contributed to multiple free software and open source projects, wrote one of the first book ever published about Ubuntu before joining the Bitcoin community in 2010, foreseeing Bitcoin as a tool to build a more decentralised future. In 2012, he was 14 votes short to become the first Pirate Party member elected in Belgium.

Lionel is an invited lecturer at École Polytechnique, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). In 2017, after more than a decade in the industry, he started a PhD on Democracy & Blockchain.



Eleonora Evi

MEP, Movimento 5 Stelle (5-Star Movement), Italy

Eleonora Evi (b. in Milan, 1983) is a MEP (Member of ENVI, EMIS and PETI) for the Five Stars Movement, EFDD Group (an anti-systemic and environmentalist Italian Movement aiming at direct democracy).

She has studied Product, Service and Strategic Design at the Politecnico di Milano, where she has developed a strong interest in good design, as the design that offers new solutions to people needs based on environmental sustainability and social-added values. She has also worked as International Relations Officer at

Her parliamentary work aims at protecting the environment, as the home for humans, animals and nature, too often put at risk by heavily profit-oriented political decisions.
Eleonora believes that transparency in decision-making processes and enhanced people’s involvement in politics are key for re-prioritizing what is needed for ensuring a better life in today's society and for future generations.



David Graeber

Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics

David Graeber is a Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics.
His book "Debt: The First 5000 Years" has attracted critical acclaim and won the Bateson Book Prize awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology.

His activism includes protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001, and the 2002 World Economic Forum in New York City. Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and is sometimes credited with having coined the slogan, "We are the 99 percent".



Elisa Lironi

Digital Democracy Manager, European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)

Elisa Lironi develops and leads ECAS’ Digital Democracy agenda by implementing EU projects and research studies in this focus area. She managed the project Digital Ecosystem for E-Participation Linking Youth (Erasmus+ programme) and coordinates ECAS’ part in the EUCROWD(Europe for Citizens programme).


Her most recent publications includes the “Potential and Challenges of E-Participation in the EU” (2016) for the European Parliament and “EU Public Consultations in the Digital Age: Enhancing the Role of the EESC and Civil Society Organisations” (2017) for the EESC. She is currently working on research projects on crowdsourcing at the EU level and supports the European Commission’s development of the European Citizens’ Initiative Online Collaborative Platform.



Scott Santens

Moderator, r/BasicIncome Reddit Community

Scott Santens is a founding member of the Economic Security Project, an adviser to the Universal Income Project, a founding committee member of Basic Income Action, committee member of the US Basic Income Guarantee Network, and founder of the BIG Patreon Creator.


He is the moderator of the r/BasicIncome community on Reddit with over 30,000 subscribers.



Una Murphy

Co-Founder of VIEW Magazine

Una Murphy coordinates digital and broadcast media workshops for VIEW/digital. She has produced and directed current affairs/factual/documentary programmes for UTV, TG4, RTE and BBC, reported for The Daily Mirror and The Irish Times, and worked on media campaigns for Save the Children Northern Ireland and CARDI, The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland.


She has taught journalism courses at various universities and colleges.



Guss O'Connell

Former Mayor, South Dublin County Council

Former Mayor of South Dublin County Council Guss O'Connell has worked as a Motor Mechanic, Secondary School Teacher, Community Development Worker, Youth Worker, Counsellor & Life and Social Skills Trainer. In 2017 he helped launch the "300k - Have your Say" Participatory Budgeting project in the Lucan/Palmerstown electoral area of South Dublin.


The initiative, which allowed residents to chose how public money is spent on critical local infrastructure and projects was so succesful that in 2018 the project was extended to the Clondalkin electoral area.



Ailbhe Smyth

Co-Director, Together for Yes

Ailbhe Smyth is a long-time campaigner on feminist, LGBT and other social issues, and is the former head of Women’s Studies (WERRC) at UCD (University College Dublin). She was a member of the Strategic Executive of the marriage equality referendum campaign in 2015, and was Co-Director of the Together for Yes national campaign.


She co-founded the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment of which she is Convenor.



Costa Vayenas

Director, Procivis Think Tank

Costa Vayenas is the author of “Democracy in the Digital Age: How we’ll vote and what we’ll vote about”. He is the Director of the Procivis Think Tank, a Swiss organisation focused on e-government as a service. He is a Senior Investment Consultant at Wellershoff & Partners in Zurich. He has previously worked as an analyst for financial institutions in London, New York and Zurich.


His recent roles included Head of Research and Head of Credit for the emerging markets at UBS. He has lectured at the University of Zurich as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). 


Mairin Murray

Co-Founder, Tech for Good Dublin

Mairin is the co-founder of Tech For Good Dublin, a community committed to inclusion and diversity, with over 1000 techies, designers and activists, who aim to harness the power of technology to improve our communities and planet. Máirín has a particular interest in the ethical dimensions of technical innovations.

She has an MSC in Multimedia Systems from Trinity College Dublin and had lead the development of digital products across not-for-profit, media, health and education sectors.



Txema Guijarro García

Podemos, Member of the Spanish Congress of Deputies

Txema Guijarro García has a degree in Economics from the Autonomous University of Madrid. Specialist in consumer sociology and market research at the Complutense University of Madrid. He has been an advisor to the market research department of Telefónica.

He has also worked for the government of Rafael Correa of ​​Ecuador as advisor and undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the regions of Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Integrated into the Valencian candidacy (Compromís-Podemos-EUPV), he was elected deputy in the general elections of 26J.



Cătălin Sorin Ivan

Member of the European Parliament

Cătălin Sorin Ivan has been a member of the European Parliament since 2009 and is now the Vice-chair of the Budgetary Control Committee. He has been involved in topics related with economic affairs, European budget and budgetary control, protection of European financial interests, fair taxation, fighting against money laundering and corruption.


Cătălin is a blockchain enthusiast and believes in the potential that this technology has to bring more transparency, traceability, fairness, inclusion and trust in our society.



Paul Braithwaite

Development & Implementation Officer, Building Change Trust

Paul Braithwaite is the Development & Implementation Officer for the Building Change Trust. Immediately prior to joining the Trust, Paul worked in North Belfast managing a multidimensional community relations programme for the 174 Trust. Previously, he worked for Trócaire for seven and a half years in a number of roles, including four years based overseas in Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


During this time Paul developed and managed a series of partnership-based programmes on issues including human rights, civic participation, gender equality and disaster recovery.



Denise Magill

Director of Support Services, Triangle Housing Association

Denise Magill joined Triangle as Director of Support Services in 2010 having previous experience working in both the statutory and private sectors. She has over 30 years’ experience in health and social care employed as a Service manager, Regional Quality & Standards manager, Development manager and finally Operations manager.


Triangle Housing Association provides accommodation and a range of support, care and employment services throughout Northern Ireland, employing over 400 staff. Triangle has been engaged in the Participatory Budgeting process for the past two years.



Dr. Paul Stokes

Lecturer, School of Sociology, University College Dublin

Paul Stokes is a Lecturer in the School of Sociology since 1996 and is a member of the College of Human Sciences in UCD. Dr Stokes has a special interest in Corporate Social Responsibility - CSR and has worked as a consultant in this area.


He is a Fellow of the Cybernetics Society of Great Britain and a member of the Metaphorm on the Cybernetics of Governance based at the University of Sunderland. For some time now, Stokes has been interested in the suitability of Associative Democracy to the Irish situation.



Patrick Chalmers

Film maker, former Reuters reporter

Patrick Chalmers is a Scottish journalist, author and university lecturer and a passionate campaigner for deeper democracy.


A former Reuters reporter, he is the author of "Fraudcast News - How Bad Journalism Supports Our Bogus Democracies".



Klina Jordan

Co-Founder, Make Votes Matter

Klina co-founded and facilitates Make Votes Matter, the UK movement for Proportional Representation. A lifelong activist, Klina's focus on environmental and social meliorism has led her to focus on systemic change to enable progress; working to get the basic building blocks of democracy into place.


She has diverse expertise from a 20 year career including events, marketing, business development, management and sustainable enterprise, and now uses that experience to lead a positive and practical movement for real democracy, including a growing Alliance of parties, organisations and public figures, dozens of local campaign groups and tens of thousands of activists.



Dr. Senan Cooke

Secretary, Dunhill Rural Enterprises & Lecturer, Dublin City University

Dr. Senan Cooke is the Secretary of Dunhill Rural Enterprises, the organisation behind Dunhill Ecopark, an enterprise park established as a social enterprise by members of the Dunhill community in 2000.

Senan is a member of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) expert advisory implementation group, the Social Enterprise Task Force (SETF), Waterford LCDC- Local Community Development Company and a founding member of the Waterford Social Enterprise Network (WSEN).

He has been a full-time lecturer at DCU until 2010 and remained with them in a part-time capacity following his retirement.



Kerstin Franzl

Head of Nets&Grids, Nexus

Kerstin Franzl (MA) studied Social Anthropology, Philosophy and Computer Linguistics in Heidelberg, Berlin, Yangzhou and Wuhan.


She is heading the unit Nets&Grids at nexus institute where she is managing projects in the field of public participation with special focus on youth participation and the combination of online and face-to-face participation methods. Research topics are political engagement, demographic change, rural development and infrastructure provision.



Nathan Spataro

CEO of SecureVote and Co-Founder of Flux

Nathan Spataro is the CEO of Sydney based company SecureVote and Co-Founder of Flux, a political movement committed to advancing digital and participatory democracies in Australia and abroad.


He has a background in, and passion for, technologies, politics, and democracy. Nathan is an optimist and humanist who believes in a bright future powered by human creativity and problem-solving



Dr. George Naskaris

Promoter of democracy and fair business practices

George N. Naskaris, Ph.D., is a former asst. professor of economics and entrepreneur and for the last several years has been promoting fair business practices and democracy through Accountability International, Inc. George is currently working on his second book, Democracy beyond Political Parties, and has offered seminars on the Future of Democracy at Kings College London and the University of Hamburg gratis. He was born into peasantry in Greece and went to New York City after high school in 1966 on a student visa. George developed an interest in the idea of democracy as a teenager in Athens, while trying to understand why those who built the Acropolis could create such masterpieces and his brethren cannot even pave a road properly. His most challenging experience in life was during his last high school year, when he managed to overcome his fear of authority and in a religion class tried to question the need for the Immaculate Conception, which cost him dearly, including being expelled for two months. That taught him that fear must be overcome regardless of the price.

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