This presentation will discuss the potential contribution of participatory design to democracy in local government and criminal justice, presenting Professor Gamman and Professor Thorpe's, work with the Public Collaboration Lab and the Makeright Design Academy at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, as case studies. The presentation will explain why they feel there is a need for designers to use their daily work as a site of praxis that can impact on political arenas. Participatory and collaborative design approaches have potential to both democratise innovation but also to innovate democracy - finding new ways to involve diverse people in decision making processes. The paper responds to the call by Ezio Manzini and Victor Margolin (2017) to argue that there is a need for designers to use their skills of future thinking, visualisation and materialisation to open up the political space by making room for new visions and political contestations. Drawing on the work of Chantal Mouffe who has argued that democracy is a space where agonism is welcomed and can be seen and heard, Professor Gamman and Professor Thorpe suggest that design can help engage with those currently poorly represented in political debate and so help assemble new publics and foster new futures.