Areeq Chowdhury | @AreeqChowdhury
Areeq was born and brought up in Manchester and studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Birmingham where he began researching the relationship between the internet and political participation. After graduating in 2013, he moved to London and has worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the London Assembly, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and KPMG.
At the age of 21, he founded WebRoots Democracy which has been leading calls for online voting and has been working with politicians, charities, thinktanks, and technology companies on researching the benefits and challenges of a digital democracy.
Khadija Said | @khadljasays
Khadija Said is currently studying towards a degree in Digital Culture from King’s College London.
Khadija is particularly interested in the intersection between politics and digital technologies and how this intersection can enhance democracies not only in the UK, but worldwide. Khadija has worked in broadcasting media both on screen and behind the scenes, researching ways of engaging disenfranchised youth in the UK.
As an active political and human rights campaigner, Khadija is keen to research and campaign for a digital democracy that will work towards establishing an inclusive, representative and accessible political process in the UK.
Maya Fryer is currently studying Politics at SOAS, University of London.
Maya was born and brought up in Wales and prior to getting involved with WebRoots Democracy, she was involved in the Fair Tax Town campaign aiming to get businesses to pay a fair share of corporation tax.
She believes the UK electoral system is in need of modernising and is a strong supporter of implementing an online voting system. As well as this, she thinks that politics should be a compulsory subject taught at schools.
Joe Carton | @joeycarton
Joe Carton works as an Account Executive for Newington Communications, a public affairs and corporate communications consultancy.
Joe is from London and studied History and Politics at Durham University where he took a particular interest in 20th century British and American politics. Since graduating, Joe has founded Tomorrow’s Influencers which is a networking platform that seeks to connect the future leaders of politics, media, and communications. Joe is a keen runner and competes in middle to long distance events.
A strong supporter of digital democracy, Joe is involved with WebRoots because he believes that the modernisation of our democracy is vital for voter engagement and the credibility of British politics.
Laura Deslandes | @LGDeslandes1
Originally from Manchester, Laura first became interested in the relationship between technology and politics while studying Geography at Cambridge University, and has conducted research on the role of social media in the Arab Spring and augmented reality’s potential to reshape urban experiences.
Laura is passionate about developing a more inclusive and engaging democratic process and convinced that technology, and in particular online voting, will be key to achieving this.
Fahmida Rahman | @fahmidarahman
Fahmida Rahman works as a Researcher at the Resolution Foundation. She previously worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office.
She has a Masters in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS, University of London, and studied Philosophy at the University of Birmingham.
Fahmida takes a particular interest in the rights of marginalised groups and voices in society.
Georgia Wild works for a market research agency that specialises in online research techniques, where she practices both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Georgia is from Watford and studied Politics at the University of Leicester where she took a particular interest in human rights and development.
She is involved with WebRoots Democracy because she believes that digital innovations should be utilised to enhance our democracy and drive political engagement.
Tess Woolfenden | @tess_woolfenden
Tess Woolfenden is originally from Oxford, but is now based in South London and is completing an MSc in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.
Prior to this, Tess studied Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, and has since undertaken various different roles related to development, most recently at Oxford Policy Management.
Recognising that the ability and desire to vote is not currently realised by everyone in the UK, Tess is a strong supporter of digital democracy as a way of increasing access to the democratic process.
Ben Pearson is currently studying for a Masters in Political Communications at Goldsmiths University.
Ben is from Oxford and studied Criminology and Politics at Leeds University. Since then, he has led a number of projects aimed at helping underprivileged young people to access education. He has also worked for Hacked Off, an organisation which campaigns against press abuse and the unaccountable power held by Britain’s media moguls.
Concerned by the lack of political education in schools, but encouraged by the recent levels of political engagement amongst young people, he joined WebRoots Democracy to help the organisation extend the democratic process to those previously ignored by the establishment.
Milton Brown | @MiltonABrown
Milton Brown currently works as a Parliamentary Assistant to a Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister. Prior to this, he worked in International Trade and Inheritance Tax at HMRC as well as another Labour MP.
Milton grew up in Kent before studying towards a BA Politics at the University of Nottingham. He will soon begin studying an MSc in Public Policy and Management at Birkbeck, University of London, through which he hopes to explore the policy-making process.
He is particularly interested in the importance of an engaged and informed electorate in a democracy, and how technology can and does both assist and hinder this.
Jake works as a Data Scientist at Elastacloud, a cloud computing and data science consultancy.
He holds a Masters in Computer Science from University College London, where he also studied Human Sciences as an undergraduate. He is also a member of Data for Democracy, a group that brings together volunteers with a tech background to work on socially useful projects.
Jake is interested in the ways in which technology is changing our democracy and believes that a move towards a digital democracy has the potential to widen participation and deepen citizen engagement.
Rey Sheer Hardwick | @FRSHardwick
Rey is a student of Computer Science (Information Security) at Royal Holloway, University of London.
As a researcher Rey has published several papers on the topic of transparent governance, including the use of disruptive technology in e-voting. This work has been used to inform the World Economic Forum’s project related to the eradication of corruption in public procurement services.
As a software engineer, Rey is conscious of the delicate relationship shared between her work and the tenets of modern democracy. She believes that engaging the youth, who will be the architects of that relationship in the future, with the democratic process is pivotal for fostering a sense of responsibility in how we choose to progress.
Naima Zannat | @NaimaZannat_
Naima Zannat is currently a Communications and Events Intern at the Living Wage Foundation. She previously worked at SOAS and BPP University.
She holds an undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations from SOAS. She also had previous experiences in creating a positive change in her community as she has participated in the Uprising Leadership programme and ParliaMentors where she focused on social mobility and domestic abuse awareness.
Naima is interested in increasing political participation by making it more accessible and protecting the rights of marginalised groups.
Maria Benlaiter | @mariabenlaiter
Maria studied History from Queen Mary University of London, where she took an interest in the history of colonisation and the relationship between traditional and social media and the war on terror and its effect on marginalised communities.
Maria is an aspiring journalist who believes that an informed electorate can be an engaged one. She is involved with WebRoots Democracy because she believes that technology needs to be utilised and regulated in order to allow British democracy to be an inclusive space. Technology should not only be used to drive engagement, but also to ensure that engagement occurs in all places with respect and consideration.