STORYTELLING AND FUTURE-THINKING WITH EUARENAS

For many years, storytelling has been applied as a tool for learning and change-making. In recent years, lived experience storytelling in particular, has thrived as a tool for social justice, via the creation of spaces for discussion and exchange. Over the last 6 months, we have been experimenting with combining our own lived experience storytelling method – Community Reporting – with future-thinking activities as part of EUARENAS.

Foresight – or future thinking – provides scope for people to think about the future and use this to model and respond to potential prospective circumstances. In an ever-changing world, it asks us to think about our future, what challenges are on the horizon and how we can address them to achieve shared outcomes. To explore the future of democracy in Europe, partners in Italy, Estonia and Poland have worked with citizens to share experience of democracy in the present day and use them to discuss what the future may hold. In these workshops, citizens used the three horizon framework to map various pathways for the future of democracy in their context.

In the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, they worked with 13 people who were active in their communities and involved in civil society activities. One of the ‘preferred’ visions for the future that this group stated, was that they wanted to increase the diversity of voices involved in democracy: “I only hope that these councils will not always be attended by the same people”. In Voru, Estonia they worked with young people to explore their ideas about democracy and hopes for the future. Similar to the citizens in Reggio Emilia, they wanted to enhance diversity as they felt that currently “the voice of a minority is often not heard”. Finally, in Gdansk, Poland they worked with a heterogeneous group of citizens. Reflecting on the workshop, the Polish team felt that the workshop’s methods supported citizens to speak up – “It is important to sincerely listen to people’s stories, and even sometimes when we lose the topic of discussion, let them talk – because for some people it is the first time that they have a voice.”

In July we will be launching a ‘Lived Experience Storytelling and Future-Thinking’ toolkit and later in the year, we will be sharing with you the learning from these activities as part of an Insight Briefing.

LET’S TALK ABOUT POWER: AGENDA LAUNCHED FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY REPORTER CONFERENCE

10:30am – 5:00pm, Thursday 7th July 2022, The Lowry, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ

BOOK HERE

Stories are powerful vehicles that build bridges between people and support common understanding. In recent years digital storytelling has helped to connect communities and has thrived as a tool for social transformation and justice.

Community Reporting falls into this arena. We see it as a tool to address inequalities in society and help to shift power from ‘systems’ to people. However, we all know changes in power dynamics don’t come easily. For the fourth annual Community Reporter Conference, we want to open-up a conversation about power and lived experience. PLACES ARE LIMITED, SO BOOK NOW!

The agenda for the day is:

10:30am / Registration and refreshments

Get signed-in, grab a cuppa and a snack, chat!

11:00am / Welcome and Stories from the Community Reporter network

A warm welcome from People’s Voice Media including some extracts from recent Community Reporter stories and an overview of the conference.

11:15am / On Your Soapbox – What’s your perspective on the topic of lived experience and power?

Invited speakers will get ‘on their soapbox’ and have 3 minutes to share their thoughts about this year’s conference topic – lived experience and power. You’ll then have some space to chat in small groups about any issues connected to this topic. We hope it will be a great way for people to share their perspectives, get some stuff off their chest and have their perceptions challenged. 

12:00pm / Closed Cultures – How do we prevent and tackle them?

Working with Ideas Alliance and commissioned by the CQC, Community Reporters spoke to people about their experiences of closed cultures in health and social care environments. The people involved in this piece of work will share the key findings with you and ask you to think about how you can be a part of tackling closed cultures.

12:45pm / Lunch 

1:30pm / Democracy – are we talking the same language?

Researchers from the EUARENAS project Matilda and LangWork projects and UEF, will create a space for a conversation about the future of democracy. The session will focus on language barriers and communication challenges in people’s involvement with democracy.  

2:30pm / Break and refreshments

2:45pm / Co-production – How do we create the ‘right’ conditions for co-production? 

We’ve been working with Co-production Collective and Curators of Change to gather stories about people’s experiences of co-production in services, research and policy. Based on the insights in these stories, we will host a workshop about what ‘conditions’ need to be in place for co-production to flourish and how we go about establishing them. 

4:00pm / Our 15(ish) minutes of fame 

Members of the Community Reporter network will be sharing some highlights of the work they’ve been doing over the last 12 months. We will also launch our social impact report (2021 – 2022) and ask you for your input into our future plans. 

4:30pm / Drinks, chinwags and goodbyes 

We’ll be providing some post-conference drinks and a social space for people to chat, swap contact details and unwind!

Parts of this agenda will be hybrid and we will be launching the booking link for online attendance in May.

CALL FOR STORIES – WHAT IS THE VALUE OF CO-PRODUCTION?

Co-Production Collective has teamed up with People’s Voice Media and the Community Reporter network to explore the question – What is the value of co-production? 

Over the next few months, we will be gathering people’s experiences of co-production and then working with the storytellers to identify what key changes co-production processes bring to services, research and policy. 

Sounds interesting. Tell me a bit more…

We are looking for people from across the UK who have been involved in co-producing services, research and/or policy to share their stories with our team of Community Reporters. We hope to gather a mixture for stories – both positive experiences and negative ones – from different types of co-production projects and activities. 

You may be a person with living or lived experience of a topic or service, a researcher, a policymaker, a service manager, someone working in service delivery, a co-production practitioner, a resident, a tenant, a strategic leader… or any other role within co-production that you can imagine. 

We are looking for people who are happy to attend a 30 minute online, 1-2-1 storytelling session with one of our Community Reporters and have their story captured as a 10 – 15 minute video or audio recordingduring this session. The whole stories will be shared publicly on the Community Reporter website (https://communityreporter.net/co-production-stories) and an extract from your story will be added to this playlist (unless otherwise requested by the interviewee).

The ideas and insights from the stories will be used as the basis of a report and other materials that will seek to answer the question – What is the value of co-production?

How can I get involved?

To get involved, please express your interest here on this form by the 18th May 2022.

This short form helps us to understand who wants to share their story and what their story will be about. We hope to be able to offer everyone who wants to share a story, the opportunity to tell their story. You can also withdraw your participation and consent to be involved at any time pre, during or post storytelling activity – You are in control of what you share with us. 

However, if we are inundated with responses we may have to (a) hold some group sessions or (b) select the most representative and diverse expressions of interests from those that we received. 

The time commitment will be 30 minutes and we will be issuing ‘thank you’ e-gift vouchers to everyone who takes part. 

We also have a budget to cover any expenses/support costs (e.g., Internet costs, Personal Assistant support to attend the session) that you will incur through taking part. You can let us know about these on the expression of interest form. To claim the expenses, you will need to complete a short expenses form and send us receipts of the expenses – our team will send instructions about this and support you to do it. 

What happens when I’ve completed the form?

  1. Within 2 weeks, one of the team will get in touch about your expression of interest. 
  • Within 2 weeks, one of the team will get in touch with you and arrange a time for your 1-2-1 storytelling session. These will take place between April and May 2022, and our team will contact you during this timeframe.
  • In April or May 2022 – you’ll also be invited to take part in some online workshops we are organising in June and July 2022, in which we will decide together what the key findings are from your stories and how they demonstrate the value of co-production. Payment will be offered for these workshops to people who are attending in an unwaged capacity and expenses/support costs will also be covered. 
  • In July 2022 – there will also be some public events (in-person and online) that we will invite you to, at which we will share what we’ve learned from the stories with the wider public. These events will look at what can create the ‘right’ conditions for co-production to be successful in services, policy and research.
  • By the end of September 2022 – we will have produced a short report that summarises the key learning from the stories and have edited all the story extracts. We’ll send you links to them when they are ready!

If you want any more details about this work before getting involved, are experiencing difficulties with filling in the expression of interest, or if there is anything we can do to help you in completing an expression of interest please email Hayley on hayley@peoplesvoicemedia.co.uk

COMMUNITY REPORTING AND THE EUARENAS PROJECT

Over the last few months, People’s Voice Media and the EUARENAS project have been using Community Reporting to gather people’s experiences of democracy in towns and cities across Europe.

Earlier in the project, the team identified different case studies that were examples of ways in which citizens can be more involved in decision-making and their local democracies. The case studies ranged from participatory budgeting initiatives to asset-based community development role outs.

The case studies that we have been a part of are a citizens’ jury project (find out more about what a citizens’ jury is here) that took place in Galway, Ireland called PeopleTalk and The Deal from Wigan, UK – an initiative that aims to redefine the relationship between residents and the Council. With help from the facilitators behind the PeopleTalk project and our colleagues at UEF, we delivered an online session for members of the citizen jury. During this session, jurors were able to catch-up with one another, share their reflections on the project and talk about what has happened since. The jurors helped us to piece together a set of key themes and findings from their stories.

In Wigan, we delivered some in-person and an online storytelling session specifically for residents. At these sessions, residents shared their various experiences of being a resident of Wigan, what aspects of the Deal they have encountered, how the values of The Deal worked in practice and much more. The spaces created a chance for residents to connect with one another, have their voices heard and discuss the similarities and differences in their experiences.

The stories we have gathered that we can share with you publicly, will be online here soon and we’ll be writing up a feature article on the Community Reporter website with the findings from the stories in the next month – we’ll let you know when it goes live! The findings from the stories will be combined with some desk-based research we’ve done earlier in the project on these two case studies and with insights from some focus groups we are doing in the coming months. This combined research (desk-based, stories and focus groups) should give us a full picture of the case studies and enable us to identify key insights into how residents can be more involved in their local area in terms of democracy and decision-making. We’ll be sharing these fuller reports later in the project.

WE’RE RECRUITING – PROJECT WORKER NEEDED!

Here at People’s Voice Media we work across a range of projects in the UK and across Europe, from small-scale one-off local events to multi-year international programmes… and everything else in-between. We will soon be launching an exciting heritage project in the North of England called HOME?

The project will focus on the collection, curation and dissemination of lived experiences of people from migrant communities living in Northern England over the last 10 years. Specifically, it will look at contemporary socio-cultural experiences of migrant communities, focusing on how these communities have settled in (or not) to their new homes.

To help us deliver this project, we are recruiting a Project Worker. They will be responsible for the day-to-day coordination and delivery of the HOME? heritage project.

How to apply

To apply for this role, you should:

  1. Download and read through the job description
  2. Email a statement of why you are interested in working with us and how your skills and expertise match the job role (specifically the key qualities and responsibilities) and our values. This can be either a document (2 pages of A4 max), an audio recording (5 minutes max.) or a video recording (5 minutes max). This should be sent to Hayley on hayley@peoplesvoicemedia.co.uk by end of 27th March 2022.
  3. In your email, please also include where you are based. We are a remote working organisation but we deliver our activities largely in-person, we also hold team working days monthly in the North West of England. This specific role is focused on delivery in the North of England and so a willingness to commute to those locations is a must. (Travel expenses are in addition to the salary).

What happens next?

We will review the applications by 1st April 2022 and select which applications we will be inviting for an informal interview. We inform all applicants of our decisions. We are not in a position to give individual feedback at this stage.

Interviews will be held online on 11th April 2022 between 1pm and 5pm. We will inform all interviewees of our decisions by the 13th April 2022. We would hope that the successful applicant can start on the 1st May 2022, or as close to this as possible. We will provide feedback to all interviewees.

Looking forward to hearing from you!