In many societies and governments, demands for participation have created new opportunities for involvement and consultation, usually through ‘invitation’ from various authorities, be they government, supra-national agencies or non-governmental organizations. Invited spaces may be regularized, that is they are institutionalized and ongoing, such as we find in various legally constituted participatory fora, or more transient, through one-off consultations. Increasingly with the growth of new forms of ‘participatory governance’, these spaces are seen at every level, from local, to national policy and even to global forums, and often within organizations and workplaces as well.
Strategies to strengthen participation in invited spaces include gaining knowledge and expertise on key issues and regulations, and learning the arts of public speaking, negotiating and compromise. For many previously excluded groups, who have been used to demanding that closed spaces be opened up, or participation in their own claimed spaces, this may require new skills.