This article has been written with the support of UK Parliament.
Brush up on your history and empower yourself to get involved with democracy with UK Parliament's free online events
- Emma Simmonds
- 12 March 2021
Take a virtual tour of the Palace of Westminster or check out their diverse range of talks and videos
While lockdown has had its fair share of challenges, for many it's been a time to explore new interests, or brush up on existing knowledge. With the doors remaining closed on many beloved historic and cultural institutions, including the Palace of Westminster, those who have found themselves wanting to know more about how UK Parliament works should take a look at their exciting free programme of online talks and tours.
Whether you're new to politics or a real buff, are interested in long-held traditions or challenging the norm, there's something for everyone, right across the UK, and several different ways in which you can choose to engage. From empowering discussions on trailblazing women and the inner workings of democracy, to delving into important conservation projects or taking a virtual snoop round the Palace of Westminster, it's all here.
'Decided on by Men': Oral Histories from Women MPs
What's it like to be a woman in 'a place decided on by men, for men'? That's the starting point for a potentially provocative talk, which draws on interviews with 32 female MPs across the political spectrum and from all walks of life, who discuss UK Parliament's traditionally masculine culture and how it has impacted on their careers. Following an introduction from Diane Abbott MP, Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto from the History of Parliament Trust are your guides for the 8th annual International Women's Day Lecture from the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art.
Decided on by Men, Wed 17 Mar, 6pm
A Trio of Trailblazers
In celebration of Women's History Month, this discussion places even more remarkable women in the spotlight. Award-winning guides will bring vividly to life the stories of social reformer and author Caroline Norton, the Ford Dagenham plant's sewing machinists, whose 1968 strike became a catalyst for change, and daring suffragette Margaret Travers-Symons, who was determined to have her own say. If you're looking for inspiration on how to get your voice heard with decision-makers, this could be the one for you.
A Trio of Trailblazers, Thu 25 Mar, 6pm
Guided Online Tour of the Palace of Westminster
While they can't offer you a total change of scenery, why not be transported during this 360˚ virtual trip round the Palace of Westminster? Lasting 45-minutes and with the presenter happy to answer your questions at the end, the tour will give you a detailed look inside such rooms as the Commons Chamber, Lords Chamber, Central Lobby and Westminster Hall. If you'd prefer to peruse the surroundings at your leisure, a non-guided version of the tour is available to access immediately on the UK Parliament website.
Guided Online Tour of the Palace of Westminster, various time slots and dates
Elizabeth Tower: From Construction to Conservation
If you've been wondering what's going on with Big Ben and the tower that houses the Great Bell (which has been shrouded in scaffolding since 2017) then this fascinating, twice-monthly talk has the answers. It aims to illuminate a complex, much speculated about conservation project, as well as providing historical background on the tower's beginnings, and leaving some time for those all-important questions.
Elizabeth Tower: From Construction to Conservation, various time slots and dates
How UK Parliament Works
Here's a talk that's perfect for the freshly politically engaged, or for those who are simply curious about what UK Parliament is exactly, and what it does for you, wherever in the UK you might be based. This interactive workshop will discuss ways to get your voice heard, and will cover the difference between parliament and government, and the role of MPs and Peers.
How UK Parliament Works, Tue 23 Mar, 6pm
UK Parliament on YouTube
Alternatively, why not browse the huge range of videos which are available to view via UK Parliament's YouTube channel. You can access Prime Minister's Questions live or recorded, keep up to date with Covid-19 news and restrictions, find out the latest on Brexit, access information on the Big Ben restoration project, or browse the extensive archive, which includes past Queen's Speeches. And their Teach Parliament introductory videos are a great learning resource for students, or anyone new to the subject.