Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

Dr Nick VlahosPostdoctoral Fellow


Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA)

Research Interests

Deliberative democracy, decentralization, community engagement/development, political economy, scalar politics, comparative politics, qualitive methods and historical analysis


Nick Vlahos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance. He is author of the forthcoming book The Political Economy of Devolution in Britain from the Postwar Era to the Present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

He holds a PhD in political science from York University, Canada, with specialization on the interconnection between political economy, decentralization and democratization. Nick has conducted participatory research, written academic and public facing material as well as public sector reports, given presentations to various audiences, has several years of being a tutorial instructor for undergraduate students, held public sector project management roles, and has facilitated multiple conversations with a variety of public, political and private stakeholders.

Prior to the role at the University of Canberra, Nick worked in the public sector in Canada for several years, notably in the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the Civic Innovation Office in Toronto.

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD, Political Science, York University, 2019 (Nominated Dissertation)       
  • MA, Political Theory, University of Manitoba, 2010
  • BA, Political Science, University of Manitoba, 2007 (Honours)                                                     

Teaching Experience

Tutorial Assistant, York University, 2011-2016

Public Sector Roles

Facilitator, Metrolinx: Standing Reference Panel, MASS LBP, Toronto, June 2019 

Research and Project Associate, Civic Innovation Office, Toronto, 2018-2019

  • A lead researcher and project coordinator for the only innovation team funded by Bloomberg philanthropies in Canada, working to support inclusive civic engagement practices with under-represented residents living in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas. Facilitated idea generation workshops with residents and youth discussing how to address social barriers to civic engagement. Worked closely with the City of Toronto Community Development Unit to enhance resident participation on local planning tables, advancing work on the Urban Heart Index. Undertook ethnographic research, observing City and community-led engagements, as well as qualitatively interviewed residents and experts. Developed a service blueprint for the Community Funding Unit to improve service delivery for the Toronto Strong Neighbourhood Strategy 2020 Neighbourhood Grants process. A member of the engagement leads working group, and trained internal City staff in design-thinking.

Community Economic Development / Engagement Facilitator, Toronto Community Housing Corporation, 2016-2018      

  • Led the resident engagement portion of the community economic development program in the Alexandra Park revitalization community, as well as the Section 37 consultations and procurement of capital investments at the 91 Augusta residence. Facilitated public visioning exercises that involved a local animator team. Worked with local community organizations, including a shelter, property cooperative, residents’ association, staff from a community centre and local tenants, to expand community development. Coordinated and facilitated stakeholder meetings with employment and agency partners.

Community and Civic Engagement

  • Provincial Election Staff / Volunteer Coordinator and Elections Planning Committee Member, Ontario New Democratic Party, Toronto, 2014.
  • Constituency Office Assistant, Federal New Democratic Party, Toronto, 2012-2013.
  • Board Director, Communications Chair, Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, Toronto, 2015.                                                                            
  • Education / Outreach Coordinator, Participatory Budgeting Ward 2, Hamilton, 2015-2016.     
  • Forum Facilitator, The People’s Platform, Hamilton, 2014.


  • The Political Economy of Devolution in Britain from the Postwar Era to Brexit (Palgrave Macmillan, Forthcoming 2020).

Book Chapters

  • “Introduction: Tensions in the Middle East”, in Actors and Identity in the Middle East, ed. Brent E. Sasley (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2010).

Journal Articles

  • “Evaluating Participatory Policy-Making in Toronto: A Systemic Approach,” (working paper).
  • “Bringing Democracy Down to Scale,” Social Political Economy Journal (Forthcoming September 2019).
  • “A Civic Senate for a New Era,” Queen’s Policy Review 7, 7 (2016).
  • “The Politics of Subnational Decentralization in France, Brazil, and Italy,” Journal of Public Deliberation 9, 2 (2013).

Public Writing

  • “Prioritizing Opportunities to Enhance Civic Engagement,” Medium, 2019.
  • “Inclusive Civic Engagement in Focus,” Medium, 2018.
  • “The Changing Rules of Civic Engagement,” Huffington Post, 2016.
  • “If Referendum Decides Electoral Reform, it Must be Done Right,” Huffington Post, 2016.
  • “Integrating the Politics of Scale with Systemic Deliberative Democratization,” IAPSS, 2016.
  • “Deliberative Democracy at the Federal Level in Canada,” IAPSS, 2015.
  • “Canada’s 2015 Federal Election: Parliamentary Reform and the People’s Platform,” IAPSS, 2015.
  • “Beyond the Ballot,” The Samara Blog, 2015.
  • “South Africa and the Politics of Sexuality: Dialogue as Ubuntu,” Journalists for Human Rights, Rights in Review 4 (Spring 2011).


  • Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association, Critical Institutionalism panel, Western University, 2020.
  • Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association, Democracy is in the Eye of the Beholder panel, Western University, 2020.
  • Elevate Conference, Toronto, Sept. 24 (2018): “The I-Team Chronicles: The Civic Innovation Office Priority Project, 2018-19.”
  • Urban Planning Seminar, University of Toronto, May 8 (2018): “Human Centered Design Innovation at the Local Level.”
  • The Politics of Change Conference, University of Waterloo, Mar. 10 (2016): “A Civic Senate for a New Era.”
  • The New Frontiers Conference, York University, Feb. 18 (2016): “Centralized Planning and the Immediate Post War Geography of Capitalism in Britain, 1945-1964.” 
  • The Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship Annual Conference, McGill University, Mar. 23 (2013): “The Politics of Subnational Decentralization in France, Brazil, and Italy.”
  • Chief Investigator (2020-2021) Connecting to Parliament (A collaborative project between Centre for Deliberative democracy and Global Governance and the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability and the Office of Andrew Leigh)

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