Ph.D. Student, Portland State University
Amanda is Ph.D. student in Urban Studies, specializing in Community Development and Popular Education at Portland State University. Her research focuses on how participatory democracy processes can provide opportunities for individual transformation and if it can affect people’s feelings of civic and political agency. She is currently proposing dissertation research on a Participatory Budgeting project led by an art-based community based organization in Denver, CO. She has a passion for student organizing and support, which she applies in her roles as the Community Coordinator for the Student Fellows at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, and as the president of Students Addressing Urban & Community Issues. In her spare time, Amanda can be found reading fantasy literature, hanging out with her family, recruiting people to play board games, or exhorting the virtues and vices of the Portland community.
Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?
While we live in a politically volatile time, the majority of Americans are not nearly as polarized as the national political theater would lead us to believe. For the majority of its existence, our government has provided few opportunities for us to shape policy and impact our communities. I truly believe that if we offer people meaningful and empowered venues of participation that we will have a more engaged and powerful citizenry. Most importantly, these venues need to be innovative to capture peoples’ passion and curiosity. It is imperative that we develop spaces that people can engage in self governance while bringing the diversity of their experience and their whole self.
What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?
I hope to meet the people who are engaged in this work, and learn about the research and scholarship that supports it. I want to deepen my ties to this community, as well as learn how to craft my work in a way that will support and expand innovations in democracy.