What is Demos?
Demos Journal is a progressive journal that aims to put the demos or “people” back into democracy. We are a youth-led, Canberra based publication that is dedicated to creating a critical and creative space for politics, poetry and ideas around the theme of democracy in a changing climate.
We publish online on this platform, but also aim to produce intermittent print editions as well as organise events around Canberra. We publish in a variety of forms: poetry, long-form articles, essays, short stories, mixed media creative writing, interviews, features, book reviews, memoirs and as well as non-conventional forms.
As the Demos editor and co-founder, Odette Shenfield put it in an interview:
One thing that unifies many progressive campaigns is that we’re up against an undemocratic, broken political system, where things like corporate influence, short-term election cycles and hegemonic free market ideology make it incredibly difficult for activists to affect change. I guess that’s part of the reason we decided to call the project ‘Demos’ – to create a space where people can begin to imagine a different kind of politics, a politics, to paraphrase Schumacher, as if people mattered.
With regard to creative pieces, we are non-prescriptive and champion experimentation, subversion, playfulness and creative approaches that resist easy categorisation. We do not, by contrast, promote art that is didactically political in its form or content.
Some of the driving concerns for Demos Journal are the climate crisis, the evolution of higher education, Indigenous politics, refugee rights, ecology and the desire to create space for the creative arts in shaping social discourse.
We also co-organise the June Shenfield Poetry Prize with the ACT Writers’ Centre.