A Big Thank You!

And that’s it… another annual Institute of Community Reporters (ICR) conference has come and gone, and what a blast we had. A BIG thank you to everyone who made it possible – those working behind the scenes running the tech, people who led workshops, folk who braved the livestream and to everyone who got involved in the workshops and online discussions. Without YOU it simply would not have happened.

As part of the day, there were some livestreams. The morning livestream got things off to a great start with from Maff from Camerados, who brought us the sunshine from his lovely garden as well as meaningful insights from his own stories of lived experience. As well as Maff other guest speakers discussed the impact and power that lived experience storytelling has had on them. The morning discussion set the tone for the rest of the day. If you missed it, you can watch it here: 

The team at People’s Voice Media then led a workshop called people were able to have conversations about what good lived experience storytelling practice looks like. People came up with some practical and insightful ideas that we aim to put together as a manifesto, (of sorts), that we can bring into practice here at People’s Voice Media and influence others to adopt as well. So, watch this space as this is developed further!

There were also 6 satellite workshops running through the day that other people involved in storytelling delivered. They were all online except one which was facilitated in a wonderful outside space. These workshops explored different areas of lived experience storytelling. From, ‘Stories of the Storytellers’ that looked at the theme of ownership of storytelling, to, ‘An Invitation to a Brave Space’ which focused on how to make spaces safe for authentic storytelling to take place, these were just some of the themes.

People’s Voice Media were also back on the workshop front with a second event that was about exploring what a Day of Action might look like around lived experience… and was it a good idea in the first place. Various ideas about what this might look like were discussed. Some people explored doing ‘story jams’ which hopefully could be happen around a real campfire, or if not a virtual one. Short films with stories were mentioned and stories in different languages.

Other ideas that emerged around a Day of Action were:

  • A campaign about the value of stories as a legitimate form of data and a valuable tool for learning and development
  • A day in which we speak truth to power! Love this!
  • Positive stories of change – when people power works well 
  • A campaign that flips the idea of ‘hard to reach’ on its head and tries to engage professionals who are ‘hard to reach’ or not currently involved in discussions around lived experience and co-production 

All of these are seeds of ideas that could be developed, and we will be getting in touch with workshop attendees to see if people want to take this forward, or any of this discussion forward in anyway. 

The afternoon livestream brought all the workshop leaders – the People’s Voice Media crew and the satellite workshop leaders – together, to reflect on their sessions. You can watch it here:

I think it’s fair to say that the conference generated healthy discussions, ideas and reflections that will steer us in the right direction for future practice. Bringing people together and listening to insightful reflections of practice and who wholly support the way forward was inspiring and re-energising. There was a sense of hope that the Future of Lived Experience is in safe hands. Thanks a million for joining us, and keep in touch!

Kath Peters, PVM.


CoSIE Horizon 2020

From probation services in the UK, unemployment provision in Spain, rural development initiatives in Estonia and many more, over the past three years the People’s Voice Media team have been busy working on the CoSIE H2020 project, using insight storytelling strategies combined with curation and story mobilisation processes to the voices of citizens to decision-making processes and enhance public services for the people who access them.

This piece of applied research has been exploring how public services across Europe and across different sectors can be co-created and has taken place across projects in Poland, Estonia, Spain, Hungary, The Netherlands, Italy, the UK, Sweden, Greece and Finland.

Our Role

As part of this work, we’ve been using Community Reporting and lived experience more generally to support the design, implementation and on-going evaluation of the pilots and now at the mobilisation stage of this work, we’ve packaged some of these gathered insight stories together into two playlists for you to watch, one, a playlist of thematic edits where you can see how each pilot country focused on different services and co-creation topics and a second playlist of extracts from individual stories.

These videos are from lived experience stories of citizens, professionals and wider stakeholders involved in the project’s activities.

You can find out more about the project itself here: https://cosie.turkuamk.fi/cosie/




Community Conversations

Recently People’s Voice Media have been working with a team on the ‘Community Conversations’ project which was commissioned by For Housing and delivered by a consortium of independent organisations led by Ideas Alliance across Salford, Stockbridge Village and Fitton Hill. 

As part of the project, the consortium has been busy working with staff, tenants, and the wider community to better understand people’s needs around wellbeing.

A key part of this has been gathering and telling stories of lived experience within these communities to find out more about life in the area and what matters to residents.

A wide variety of topics came up through the Community Conversations project including what life is like for communities living in each area, the impact of Covid-19 and the theme of technology and communication which ran through many of the wellbeing stories that were gathered by Community Reporters.

Like communities all over the country, the residents of Fitton Hill, Salford and Stockbridge Village have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. Lockdown has been a negative and difficult experience for many people and the isolation and lack of social contact has impacted upon their wellbeing.

Through their stories, people described how digital tools were enabling them to stay connected with loved ones, make new connections with neighbours and switch to new ways of working, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, they also told us that constantly using these tools – for work and socialising – can be draining and raised concerns over barriers to accessing technology.

The stories also reveal how people have adapted their ways of working and socialising, and continued to support one another throughout the crisis. Many of the stories tell us that they believe the pandemic has actually brought them closer to their neighbours and we’re looking forward to hearing more from the full reports soon!

In the meantime, it is possible to view some short extracts from a selection of the gathered stories through the For Housing video playlist which can be found HERE


Last week I had the pleasure of spending time exploring different methodologies and practices around critical thinking and the construction and de-construction of narratives, with partners and practitioners from different European countries. This is part of an exciting European project that PVM are collaborating on, called Concrit. 

Concrits aim is to create new educational tools to train, teach and empower communities. Specifically, concentrating on critical thinking and the construction and de-construction of narratives through digital storytelling. The aim being to strengthen the self-confidence of the learners, empowering them to grow in self-confidence, find their own collective voice and to strengthen a sense for local action.

Last week’s Peer Review training was meant to take part in Berlin but for obvious reasons it was online instead. And of course, online training and co-production can’t ever take the place of being together in person, but it has to be said it was still a fruitful experience.

We used the online platform Jitsi and the virtual whiteboard application Miro Board. Jitsi was quite unpredictable, getting frozen and kicked out if the internet wavered, however, I found that once again the Miroboard was an excellent tool to collaborate on and to share information and ideas.

And share ideas, we did. We tried out a variety of practices and then applied them to real life settings and then reflected on their effectiveness. The next step is to develop them further, re-designing and adapting them to suit different settings and groups. The most effective will be chosen to add to the learning paths that we are developing.

I’m looking forward to seeing the partner again in the new year for more sharing and creating together.

Kath Peters