Hi, I’m Lyn Carson. Here’s some background information about me:
I’m currently a professor in the School of Business at the University of Sydney, Australia. That means that I’m working in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
My doctoral thesis was completed during the period that I served as a local government councillor with Lismore City Council (1991-1995) and some of my current research has taken place in that location as well (check out a survey I conducted there: “Consultation in the Lismore Local Government Area”).
Lismore is a small, regional city with a local government that, in the past, bravely supported a number of interesting experiments in democratic processes--mediation, street corner meetings, listening posts, rural forums and so on. Nearby in Ballina Shire I trialed one of Australia’s first experiments with citizens’ juries--Our Ballina. Click here to read the case study.
I left Southern Cross University in 1998 to work at the University of Sydney (Department of Government and International Relations, then the United States Studies Centre). Since then I’ve written a book, with Brian Martin, on random selection in politics (visit publisher’s site) and have written a number of papers. I’ve participated in some fascinating experiments in active democracy--for example Australia’s first consensus conference; Australia’s first two deliberative polls; a number of citizens’ juries; a combined citizens’ panel and televote; Australia’s first youth jury Parra Youth Matters; and Australia’s first Citizens’ Parliament.
In 2010 I accepted a professorial position at the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy at the University of Western Sydney. I returned to the University of Sydney in 2013.
I’ve been working with some progressive NGOs, for example OXFAM and Brotherhood of St Laurence, on engagement strategies. For example, here’s some work-in-progress strategies for improving members’ engagement with OCAA's Board in Australia (PDF, 60k). I’ve maintained an inventory of deliberative, inclusionary processes (DIPs) that have been conducted in Australia. I’m keen to hear about DIPs that I might have missed. You can get in touch here.