• Class Number 4743
  • Term Code 3150
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic On Campus
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Carolyn Hendriks
    • Prof Carolyn Hendriks
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 28/06/2021
  • Class End Date 20/09/2021
  • Census Date 30/07/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 12/07/2021
SELT Survey Results

One of the central challenges in public policy is understanding and responding to the needs and interests of diverse publics. This course explores how governments and citizens tackle this challenge. Taught in an interactive mode, students in this course consider questions, such as: How do policy makers engage citizens in the policy process? How do citizens themselves seek to voice their concerns and exert influence on the policy process? What happens when their interests are mis-represented, misunderstood or ignored? What does meaningful citizen participation look like in an era of 24/7 news cycles and social media? In focusing on 'public' aspects of public policy, this course engages students in various democratic issues that surface in the public policy process. Through applied examples and case studies, students reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy may be realised in contemporary governance. Practical attempts at participatory policy making will be examined and critiqued, including deliberative forums, community meetings, petitions, online engagement and social media. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms, concepts and ideas on citizen engagement and public talk in public policy
  2. critically engage with relevant practical and theoretical literature on the design and politics of citizen engagement and public talk in public policy
  3. engage and facilitate informed discussions on the practice, politics and challenges of engaging citizens in public policy
  4. critically analyse participatory forms of policy making drawing connections between theory and practice
  5. demonstrate the ability to think independently, develop informed perspectives and persuasively communicate in the field of public policy

Required Resources

Each day is accompanied by a set of compulsory readings which are available on Wattle. (listed above in weekly outline)

It is an expectation that you read these before each day. 

Remember the more you read and engage in the literature on public engagement, the more you will learn and get out of the course. 

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments to individuals on Assessment items 1,3 and 4.
  • Written comments to groups on Assessment item 2 (Participatory Design Pitch)
  • Verbal feedback to the whole class on Assessment item 1 (Comparative Paper)

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Day 1: Monday 12 July 2021 Introduction and course overview We begin the course by exploring the question: who is 'the public' in public policy? We then consider whether public engagement in public policy is about conforming to state agendas and structures, or opposing them, or both. With this discussion in mind we map the various ways different publics might participate in public policy for example: engaging in formal consultations, going online, protesting on the street. Insisted spaces: protests, advocacy and digital participation In the interactive sessions on Day 1 we look in detail at the form and function of 'insisted spaces' in public policy, that is arenas created by citizens, groups and social movements to mobilize, organize and shape public policy outcomes. We consider a range of advocacy activities such as lobbying and campaigning, as well as more disruptive activities such as protesting and consumer action. We also discuss how Information and Communications Technologies ICTs are changing the way citizens connect and relate to each other, and the opportunities (and risks) ICTs present to social movements, advocacy groups and associations. Required Readings Day 1 (available via e-brick) Cornwall, A. (2008). Unpacking 'participation': models, meanings and practices. Community development journal. 43(3) 269-283. This is paper explore the growth of participation in governance as a phenomenon in the global South and North. It also introduces the concepts of “invited spaces” of participation. Head, B. (2007). “Community Engagement - Participation on whose Terms?” Australian Journal of Political Science 42(3): 441-454. In this piece Head provide a use overview of the reasons why citizen engagement in governance is on the rise, and some of its potential pitfalls. Wells-Dang, A. (2010). “Political space in Vietnam: a view from the ‘rice-roots”. The Pacific Review, 23(1), 93-112. This piece explores the form and effect of citizen action and mobilisation in the more authoritarian political context of Vietnam. Skocpol, T. (1999). "Associations without members." The American Prospect 45(July-August): 66-73. Some argue that there is a participatory bias in the kinds of people that participate in organised advocacy groups. This piece looks specifically at the phenomenon that many associations lack a support base, and are disconnected from the broader public. Fung, A. and Shkabatur, J. (2015) “Viral Engagement: Fast, Cheap, and Broad, but Good for Democracy?” in Allen, D. and Light, J.S. (eds.) From Voice to Influence, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, pp.155-78. This chapter discusses the implications of viral social media campaigns for public policy and democracy more broadly.
2 Day 2: Friday 16 July 2021 Invited spaces: structured forms of public participation On Day 2, we look at spaces that are created (typically by governments, but occasionally civil society groups) to invite the public into the policy process. In these spaces citizens are formally invited to engage in public policy via structured participatory processes, most often to advise decision makers. We consider the normative and instrumental reasons for inviting the public into the policy process, and start to explore some of the participatory methods for doing so (we expand on this topic further on Days 3 and 4 in the Design Workshops). We also examine the various ways in which governments are using Information and Communications Technologies ICTs to engage and connect with the public. Required Reading Day 2 (available via e-brick) Nabatchi T. and M. Leighninger(2015) Public Participation for 21st century democracy. John Wiley. (Chapter 2: “Good or Bad? Charming or Tedious? Understanding Public Participation.” pp. 13-44.) There are many typologies of invited forms of public engagement. This chapter provides a particularly useful typology by distinguishing between thin and thick varieties of (invited) forms of public participation. Stewart, J. (2009). The Dilemmas of Engagement: The role of consultation in governance. ANU E Press. (Chapter 5: “Improving consultation Practice”). This chapter discusses why public engagement is often problematic. Drawing on several Australian case studies, Stewart explores the seven ‘bureaucratic sins’ of consultation. Fung, A. (2015). "Putting the public back into governance: The challenges of citizen participation and its future." Public Administration Review, 75(4), 513-522. This piece is by one of the leading scholars in the field of public participation reflecting on the progress and future challenges of citizen engagement in public policy. Russon Gilman H. and Peixoto Carneiro. T. (2019) 'Digital Participation' in The Handbook of Democratic Innovation and governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. pp. 105-118. This is a good overview chapter on the opportunities and downsides of digital technologies for citizen engagement, or 'civic tech'. For an overview of e-government and social media in government see the following chapters from Perry, J. L., & Christensen, R. K. (eds) (2015) Handbook of Public Administration. Both the ebook from the ANU library. · Chap 24 by Moon A. J. and Welch Eric W. “Managing E-Government” · Chap 25 by Mergel I. “Designing Social Media Strategies and Policies”
3 Days 3 & 4 : Monday 2 August & 6 August 2021 Participatory Design Workshops I & II On Days 3 and 4 we will workshop the principles and practical craft of how to design 'invited spaces'. Throughout both days we will explore and critically analyse various norms, concepts and practical processes for participatory design. Through applied examples and case studies, we will reflect on how democratic ideals, such as inclusion, participation, representation and legitimacy are operationalised in contemporary participatory design. Day 3 we focus on frameworks and resources for designing effective participatory processes. We also consider some of the common questions and challenges facing participatory designers such as: • Who is the target group and how they be engaged? • How will you avoid participatory fatigue and over-consultation? • Who is likely to be excluded by the process? • How will you ensure that public engagement is meaningful i.e. that decision makers listen? On Day 3 students will be allocated a Design Group for their Participatory Design assessment task. Students will be given time on Days 3 and 4 to work in their group on their Design Pitch. Resources for Days 3 and 4 (available via e-brick) Nabatchi T. and M. Leighninger 2015 Public Participation for 21st century democracy. John Wiley. (Chapter 2: “Participation Scenarios and Tactics in Understanding Public Participation” pp. 421-285). This chapter provides good starting by asking a series of questions about the purpose of the engagement, who is going to participate and how. For a useful design guidance on working out ‘who should participate’ and how, see: · VAGO(2015) Public Participation in Government Decision: Making Best Practice Guide. Victoria Auditor General’s Office. · Twyford, V. Waters, S. Hardy, M. Dengate, J. (2006) “Who is the community?” in Beyond Public Meetings: Connecting community Engagement with Decision Making, Twyford Consulting Communication. · Colvin, R. M., Witt, G. B., & Lacey,J. (2016). “Approaches to identifying stakeholders in environmental management: insights from practitioners to go beyond the ‘usual suspects’ ”. Land Use Policy, 52, 266-276. For ideas on how to recruit participants, see Nabatchi, T., J. Gastil, G. M. Weiksner, and M. Leighninger. 2012. Democracy in Motion: Evaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement. New York: Oxford University Press. (Chap 3: The participation and recruitment challenge.) The internet is also providing opportunities for governments to change the way they inform, consult and engage the public. For an overview of different approaches used by local governments around the world, see Nabathchi, T., Ines M.,2010. “Participation 2.0 : Using Internet and Social Media Technologies to Promote Distributed Democracy and Create Digital Neighborhoods”. In: SVARA, James H., ed., Janet DENHARDT, ed.. Connected Communities : Local Governments as a Partner in Citizen Engagement and Community Building ; A white paper prepared for the Alliance for Innovation. Phoenix, Arizona: Alliance for Innovation, pp. 80-87.
5 Day 5: Friday 13 August 2021 Design Pitches On Day 5 groups will ‘pitch’ their participatory design to the class. Collectively we will discuss each design and explore strategies to strengthen each design. Following the pitches the class will reflect on their own personal experiences of participating and deliberating in small groups. Introduction to citizen-led governance spaces In the workshop session on Day 5 we will discuss 'citizen-led governance spaces', which are bottom-up or grassroots efforts to solve collective problems. These community initiatives typically emerge when citizens are frustrated with the policy status quo, and they see pathways for addressing a public problem. In contrast to invited spaces, citizens in 'citizen-led governance spaces' can exercise considerable agency in public policy by determining by themselves, how they want to work with state and market actors. Required Reading Day 5 (available via e-brick) Hendriks, Carolyn M., and Albert W. Dzur. "Citizens’ Governance Spaces: Democratic Action Through Disruptive Collective Problem-Solving." Political Studies. Early View. 1-21. In this article the authors characterise the features of participatory spaces where citizens 'do' practical problem-solving. The democratic opportunities and challenges of such spaces are considered. da Silva, D. S., Horlings, L. G., & Figueiredo, E. (2018). "Citizen Initiatives in the Post-Welfare State." Social Sciences, 7(12), 1-21. The piece offers further empirical insights into the driver behind recent community-driven initiatives in Europe where traditional structures for the provision of social welfare are in flux.
6 Day 6: Friday 20 August 2021 Citizen-led Governance Spaces On Day 6 we look further at 'citizen-led governance spaces', and consider the opportunities and challenges they create for citizens, civil society, governments, public policy and democracy more broadly. Students will spend time in class discussing and selecting a ‘'citizen-led governance spaces’ (or grassroots initiative) for their final assessment task (the Case Study). Future Trends and Themes in Public Engagement In the workshop session of Day 6 we summarise key themes across the course and discuss future trends in public participation. Required Reading Day 6 (available via e-brick) Mitlin, D. (2008). “With and beyond the state—co-production as a route to political influence, power and transformation for grassroots organizations.” Environment and Urbanization, 20(2), 339-360. This article discusses grassroots forms of co-production as practiced in the global south, where citizens often initiate co-production in a context of limited state capacity. Smith, A. and A. Stirling (2018). “Innovation, Sustainability and Democracy: An Analysis of Grassroots Contributions,” Journal of Self-Governance and Management Economics 6(1): 64–97. This piece consider how citizen-led governance spaces - here labelled 'grassroots innovations' can push forward novel solutions to complex sustainability issues. Wagenaar et al 2015. “The transformative potential of civic enterprise.” Planning Theory & Practice, 16(4): 557-585. This article explores a range of citizen-led governance spaces – labelled here civic enterprises – that have emerged over the past decade, particularly in Europe. These are grassroots organisations that do far more than participate or advise governments, they actively do policy work by providing public services, for example, energy, food or care.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Comparative Paper (30% individual mark) 30 % 26/07/2021 09/08/2021 1,2,4,5
Participatory Design Pitch (20% group mark) 20 % 13/08/2021 23/08/2021 1,2,3,5
Design Reflection (20% individual mark) 20 % 30/08/2021 17/10/2021 1,2,3,4,5
Case Study (30% individual mark) 30 % 13/09/2021 * 1,2,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 26/07/2021
Return of Assessment: 09/08/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Comparative Paper (30% individual mark)

1600 words (not including refs)

This assessment task requires you to write a short essay-style paper comparing two particular forms of public engagement, namely insisted spaces (Day 1) and invited spaces (Day 2).

In your paper compare these two ‘spaces’ in terms of:

•  how the space enables the public to participate in public policy

•  the benefits and risks each presents to the public 

In your discussion make reference to at least two practical examples drawn from relevant course literature (see required readings plus resources on Wattle).

Assessment Criteria

•  Comprehension and focus on set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•  Understanding of key concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•  Comparative analysis of different approaches to public engagement in policy (Learning Outcome 4)

•  Critical engagement in course literature (Learning Outcome 2)

•  Competent use of case studies connecting theory and practice (Learning Outcome 4)

•  Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 13/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 23/08/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Participatory Design Pitch (20% group mark)

Students will be allocated into a small group and will work together to develop a participatory design proposal for an unresolved public issue/policy problem. Each group will play the role of a community engagement consultancy firm that has been asked to submit a participatory design for a specified client on a specified policy problem. Groups will be allocated in Day 3, and they will each consider a different policy problem, with different clients. There will be time set aside on Days 3 and 4 for students to work in groups to develop their participatory design. 

As a this task requires you to:

  • Consider the allocated scenario (each group will have a different scenario to consider)
  • Engage in the practical and theoretical literature on participatory design in order to develop a design for your allocated scenario
  • Prepare and present a powerpoint presentation (on Day 5) in which the group ‘pitches’ its design to the class, followed by a question and answer session.

The Pitch needs to provide an overview of the design process and product and engage the class in discussion on the design. During your presentation, your group should outline the following aspects of your participatory design concept:

·      Briefly summarise the scenario and the central the policy problem

·      Make clear any assumptions that your group made about your scenario.

·      Who are the affected publics?

·      How will different affected publics be selected/recruited and how will they participate?

·      What is the timeline for the design?

·      What are the expected benefits and possible risks?

 Assessment criteria

·    Understanding and focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)

·      Demonstration of participatory design principles informed by relevant literature (Learning Outcomes 1 and 2)

·      Evidence of inclusive and effective group work (Learning outcome 3)

·      Engaging the class in a discussion on the design (Learning outcome 3)

·      Effective and persuasive communication of participatory ideas and design (Learning outcome 5)


Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 17/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Design Reflection (20% individual mark)

1400 words (not including refs)


Following the design pitches, each student will write a paper reflecting on how they personally experienced the group design process, and how they would revise the original design proposal based on class feedback and further reading. The paper should be written in first person, and consider the following questions:

·        Reflecting on the process of the Participatory Design, what aspect of the design process worked well and what could have been improved?

·        How would you personally revise your group’s Design Concept based on class discussions, ideas from other presentations and subsequent readings?

·        What has been the key learning for you from this course about effective participatory design in public policy?


 Assessment criteria

•      Focus on the set task (Learning Outcome 5)

•      Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

•      Evidence of reflection on comments and feedback from class discussion (Learning outcome 3)

•      Revision of original design concept drawing on feedback and relevant practical and scholarly literature (Learning Outcomes 2 and 4)

•      Critical reflection on the process and product of participatory design (Learning outcome 4)

•      Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 13/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Case Study (30% individual mark)

 1600 words (not including refs)

You are required to identify and discuss a case study of a contemporary ‘doing public’ – a topic we will explore on Days 5 & 6. The case study should be based on your own research, rather than one that has been written up in a scholarly article.

This assessment task is designed to increase your skills in researching, analysing and discussing how citizens engage in public policy. Students are asked to use the internet to research and find a case where citizens have taken a collective, grass-roots approach to governing a particular public problem, for example energy reform, crime, social issues, planning issues, pollution, care, immigration etc. the initiative has been instigated, and is run, by citizens.

To find a suitable 'doing public' for their case study, students should look for citizens' initiatives/community organisations with the following characteristics:

it was founded and is run by citizens

citizens participate in the 'doing public' by taking pragmatic steps to resolve a specific policy problem (ie. they are not just protesting against something, or providing recommendations to policy makers, but actually doing the governing).

the citizens leading the 'doing public' adopt a participatory approach to governing (for example, they use participatory procedures to engage other citizens)

Once you have found a suitable case study, students need to write a case study that addresses the following questions:

  What ‘public problem’ are the citizens trying to solve?

 How did the citizens self-organise into a collective doing public?

How are the citizens self-governing themselves internally?

What participatory methods (if any) are they using to engage other citizens (or the broader public)?

 In your assessment, how inclusive is the doing public of other citizens?

How does the Doing public interact with the state (cooperatively, selectively, at arms-length, or in another manner)?

How does this case inform ideas in the scholarly literature on ‘doing publics’?

Assessment criteria

Comprehension and focus on set task (Learning Outcome 5)

Understanding of relevant concepts and ideas (Learning Outcome 1)

Evidence of extensive (desktop) research (Learning Outcomes 2 and 5)

Connection of case to relevant scholarly literature (Learning Outcome 2)

Original analysis (not just description) of the case (Learning outcome 4)

Clarity of organisational structure and expression (Learning Outcome 5)


Academic Integrity

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Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

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Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Carolyn Hendriks

Research Interests

citizen engagement, public participation, communities, democratic aspects of public policy including forms of collective action, political representation, inclusion and legitimacy, deliberative democracy

Prof Carolyn Hendriks

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Carolyn Hendriks
02 6125 7557

Research Interests

Prof Carolyn Hendriks

By Appointment
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