Publication Type: Art work
Countries: Ethiopia
Authors: Woldeson Kebede
Funders: AHRC GCRF

This project examined precisely how inclusive parliamentary public engagement can strengthen representative democracy in the Ethiopian context, and the mechanisms through which trust can be repaired and built anew, including improved engagement with marginalised ethnic and gender groups. The researchers decided that an artistic dimension could really add value and impact to their project, and so collaborated with the Ethiopian artist Wondesan (Chair of the Ethiopian Visual Artists Association). “It was important for me to be able to participate in the research team’s focus group discussions with stakeholders, so I could get a deeper sense of what people are thinking and feeling. And I felt strongly that I wanted to design a set of posters that deepens people’s understanding of democracy – art must be relatable to society, to people”, explained Wondeson. The artwork became a key component of the team’s communication and dissemination activities, helping capture some of their most significant research findings, such as the limited status of political-public engagement; and people’s aspirations for deeper dialogue, representation, and trust in their politicians.