Legislative changes in the last decade have increased the power of central government over local authorities. Democratic controls (transparency, participation, accountability and so on) have been continuously eroded. Under a culture of cuts and lack of care, cities have become an important site for residents and communities to provide for one another and drive forward the changes they want to see. But the deep democratic deficits we are facing, and the continuing capture of the local state by private interests, have a direct and damaging impact on people’s ability to exercise individual and collective power in their local areas.

Over the last six months, we have undertaken a pilot action research project in Glasgow and Sheffield. Together with project partners from Solidarity Against Neoliberal Extremism (SANE) and It’s Our City! in the respective cities, we examined the relationships between local governance and local activism. Through engaging with the landscapes of grassroots and community campaigns in each city, participants from both cities have been identifying common experiences, themes, and demands for a more democratic local governance, as well as the prospects for more collectivised action.

We spoke to grassroots community and campaign groups in Glasgow and Sheffield between November 2022 and January 2023. Since these co-learning conversations, we have been busy collating these insights and identifying themes that arose. We have worked together with artist Reece Thompson to produce a series of posters representing some of these findings. 

See the posters here: 

No Cuts




The project was a collaboration between Research for Action as well as Ruth Hubbard, co-founder of It’s Our City! and Solidarity Against Neoliberal Extremism (Glasgow). We will continue this work and publish more findings in due course.

Thank you also to all the community groups & campaigners in Sheffield and Glasgow who shared their experiences with us, Lankelly Chase for funding and Reece Thompson for the artwork. 

Please contact info(at)researchforaction.uk if you would like copies of these posters.