The System Doesn’t Work

In many communities in Greater Manchester, traditional ways of getting involved in politics including voting engage only the minority. The recent election of Greater Manchester’s first Mayor, for example attracted a turnout of only 27%. Low and declining levels of formal political participation have caused much concern. This Jam and Justice project engages with this debate from the starting point that focusing on apathy limits our understanding of why people may not engage in politics; and, that looking only at formal political participation may miss out important forms of everyday politics in Greater Manchester.

Wider research identifies ‘everyday makers’ as an important new form of everyday politics. By ‘everyday maker’, we mean people who get involved in local and concrete projects with a DIY-ethos, which make a real difference to people’s lives and the benefit the local community. Everyday makers are well-known, well-networked and trusted in their communities, working either as part of a community-led action group or by themselves, but they are not connected with formal politics.

Starting from an understanding that politics is not limited to formal processes, The System Doesn’t Work is a research project that puts everyday makers at the heart of politics in our city-region. In order to better understand, value and make visible everyday politics in Greater Manchester, over the next six months, we will:

  • Identify and work with a diverse group of everyday makers from Greater Manchester
  • Conduct an action research project using an innovative visual method, photovoice, including individual interviews and a collective analysis workshop
  • Curate a community exhibition to share our findings
  • Offer opportunities for community conversations


To find out more about this Jam and Justice project, email our ARC members: Catherine Durose or Amanda Bickerton.

News, events and blog

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 17:30 to 19:00

Everyday Politics is a photovoice exhibition put together by community researchers working together as part of The System Doesn't Work.

This event is a private viewing for those involved in the exhibition. It will then tour community venues in and around Greater Manchester.

Monday, June 11, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Manchester Central Library

Devolution promised to open up new opportunities for community engagement and empowerment, shifting power from Whitehall to the Townhall. One year on since the election of Andy Burnham as Mayor of Greater Manchester, Jam and Justice's Action Research Collective are hosting a debate in Manchester Central Library to discuss the changing horizons of collective decision-making in Greater Manchester.