Democratic Innovations

Democratic Innovations

Societies evolve, and so should democracy. The future of democracy involves blending different democratic methods: representative, participatory and deliberative practices.

Welcome to the website of the Democratic Innovations research group at Adam Mickiewicz University, led by Prof. Paulina Pospieszna. We are a group of researchers exploring new and creative ways to do democracy, using different theories and methods. We share our knowledge about democratic innovations by working closely with other scholars both domestically and internationally, experts, practitioners—especially those from NGOs and local government. We offer help and advice to people who are working on making democracy better.

Democracy is always changing, with different people, ways of doing things, and organizations. Right now, representative democracy is facing some challenges and more and more people want new ways to be involved in politics. Our goal is to understand, compare, and figure out how to make democracy better during these changes.

Geographically, we focus on Central and Eastern Europe. However, we also focus on other post-communist countries, especially those where democracy is still not fully established as we also aim to understand whether, in promoting democracy, it is feasible to also promote deliberative and participatory practices when constituting representative democracy.

Funded projects implemented by the research team:


Associate Professor of Political SciencePaulina Pospieszna

Paulina Pospieszna

She obtained her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Alabama in 2010 and later served as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Konstanz and the University of Mannheim in Germany. Her research spans democracy promotion, democratic innovations, deliberative democracy instruments, democratization, democracy backsliding, civil society, advocacy groups, NGOs, and civic participation, with a specific focus on youth activism. Additionally, she explores foreign policy tools such as aid and sanctions. Geographically centered on Central and Eastern Europe, her research employs a blend of quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

Her publication record includes articles mainly in international journals and two authored books. She actively participates in research projects and has led four funded by the National Science Center (NCN). Being in academia, she draws enthusiasm from conducting research, fostering interactions with practitioners (esp.NGOs), and engaging students. For more information, see

M.A.Weronika Kędzia

Weronika Kędzia

PhD student in AMU Doctoral School of Social Sciences, in the discipline of Political Science and Public Administration. Graduate of Adam Mickiewicz University in International Relations. Erasmus+ Exchange Student at Ghent University (2019/2020). Member of the Democratic Innovations research group at AMU.

Participant of international projects and exchanges: Master Class of Advanced Dictatorship Research (Ostrava, 2022), Master Class of EU Foreign Policy and Democracy Support (Ljubljana, 2023). Organizer and facilitator of various Erasmus+ projects and trainings: Prague (2021), Vilnius (2021), Denizli (2021), Salihli (2021), Gdynia (2022), Tropea (2023).

Her research interests include: promotion and support of democracy, democratic backsliding, citizen participation and authoritarian studies, especially in the region of North Africa.

MA (they/them)Magni Szymaniak-Arnesen

Magni Szymaniak-Arnesen

PhD student at Adam Mickiewicz University in the discipline of political science and administration. They defended their master's thesis in political science on the first climate panel in the United States at the University of Vienna. In 2019, Magni stayed in Berlin for the International Parliamentary Scholarship of the German Bundestag. They have so far observed the Washington Climate Assembly, the Polish nationwide citizens' assembly panel on energy costs, and four citizens' assemblies held in Polish cities. In their dissertation, Magni focuses on the processes of agenda- and scope-setting for deliberative minipublics and their consequences for public policy-making. Before deciding to continue their academic education in doctoral school, Magni was a civil servant, and later an activist.