COVID-19 UPDATE FROM PEOPLE’S VOICE MEDIA

Well, it’s certainly been an eventful few weeks. As is the case for most organisations, COVID-19 has had a big impact for us so we wanted to update you on the steps we are taking to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our partners, our Community Reporters and everyone else we would normally come into contact with.

  • We have been practicing social distancing measures since early on in this outbreak. The PVM team works flexibly and largely works from home anyway, but in line with Government advice our office is currently closed, so if you need to reach any of us, email is the best way.
  • All face-to-face work on projects has ceased. Where possible, training is being delivered (and meetings are being attended) remotely. Where this isn’t possible, work has been postponed temporarily. If you are unsure how this affects something you were due to take part in, please get in touch with us.
  • We are keeping a close eye on our schedule and reviewing upcoming events to decide whether they need to be postponed, cancelled or held remotely.
  • As you can imagine, some of our team have been affected by school and nursery closures, as well as other household members now working from home so we’re taking flexible working to the extreme. This may mean you get emails from us early in the morning or late at night. Please remember that we respect your own work schedule and don’t expect a response until you are working yourself. Let’s not pile more stress on ourselves at such a difficult time.

Please bear with us during this time as we get to grips with this new reality along with everyone else.

In the meantime, we’re sending our thanks to the amazing health and social care workers, retail workers, delivery drivers and all of the other essential workers who are getting us through this. You have our gratitude.

We’re also sending our best wishes to you and your loved ones, that you all get through this safely and healthily. And, of course, that we can all see each other very soon.

THE MEN’S ROOM – WHAT STOPS US FROM BEING WELL?

This month, after a jam-packed end to 2019 and start to 2020, we’ve been reflecting on our partnership with The Men’s Room in Manchester having worked with them over the last few months to complete Phase 1 of their ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ project.

People’s Voice Media delivered a series of training days between October and January including a 2-day Community Reporting for Insight programme held at the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, a set of follow-up story gathering support sessions on site at The Men’s Room itself, a celebratory event just before Christmas and a day of story review and curation training in January. 

The celebratory Christmas event in December, was held at the lovely co-working Zeiferblat venue in Manchester, and was a wonderful chance to bring current and potential participants, staff and partners together. People’s Voice Media gave a short presentation and screened an edited video which they had created from the stories that had been gathered.

The learning from the stories which were gathered as part of the Community Reporting training during Phase 1 are now forming the basis of ideas informing and feeding into Phases 2 and 3 of the ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ project.

Phase 2 will culminate in an exhibition of artworks produced by participants with an accompanying soundscape of the gathered stories to be produced by People’s Voice Media. 

The learning and ideas from the exhibition and the growing archive of gathered stories will continue on into Phase 3, informing the script and performance of a piece of legislative theatre later in 2020. People’s Voice Media will also be delivering some additional training later this year, so stay tuned for updates as the project continues!

You can watch and listen to the stories from the project by searching for ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ on the www.communityreporter.net website.

RAISING THE STUDENT VOICE

Last month People’s Voice Media hot-footed it down to the Midlands to work alongside some of the brightest young talents from schools in the area and the Aimhigher team, delivering an introduction to video production techniques to a group of 30+ high school students as part of the Student Voice project.

The workshop which took place at Aston University, covered pre-production research, filming tips and techniques, editing using open source software and finished with an introduction to blog writing and lots of lovely pizza! 

In just 3 hours, the group of teenagers were able to form production teams, capture footage, refine their interview techniques, pull together a series of final edits using mobile technology, critique blog writing styles and start to write their own.

The main aim of the workshop was to help the students expand their media production techniques, so that they would have the skills and confidence to cover the wide range of events and activities as part of the Aimhigher / Student Voice programme in 2020 and beyond. 

We can’t wait to see how they use their skills in the future!

TO CO-CREATE, OR NOT TO CO-CREATE – THAT IS THE QUESTION.

Earlier this month, the People’s Voice Media team were in Utrecht for the annual CoSIE partner meeting and a seminar all about co-creation. Read on to find out more about what they go up to…

The meeting kicked-off with jam-packed seminar that combined academic research, real-world case studies and practical sessions revolving around ways of involving people in the creating and running of public services. Our team worked with some of the CoSIE partners to deliver a workshop that asked people to question the value of ‘co-creation’ to different scenarios and whether or not we should always co-create. The session provoked attendees to think about their own personal value-system when it came to co-creation.

Specifically, an activity in which attendees had to place different engagement techniques on a spectrum between ‘consultation’ and ‘co-creation’ got the room buzzing. For some, focus groups were more a consultation tool but for others, who had rejigged their format, focus groups provided a key mechanism for them to co-create through… all interesting stuff. The activity moved people away from thinking there was a ‘five star’ version of co-creation ready packaged and instead think about the context of the co-creation more deeply. What the learning from the CoSIE project suggests is that co-creation DOES add real value (on different levels) to the design, creation and running of public services BUT finding the places to apply it and thinking about how you are applying it are key. Most of all, it is important to avoid co-creation tokenism! Click here for a great tongue-in-cheek blog of the things to avoid when co-producing from our partner in crime – Cat Duncan-Rees.

Spurred on by the seminar’s discussions, the CoSIE partners got their heads down into working on their own project. The first day of the meeting saw the delivery of internal trainings for the forthcoming summative knowledge exchanges. These events will support the co-evaluation of the pilots and extract the key learnings from the project. Our team was on hand to train partners in dialogue interviewing techniques to support the capturing of reflections from stakeholders. We also equipped the national teams with the skills to incorporate story dialogue techniques into these exchanges. Other training revolved around data curation and visualisation, and a first look at the new Living Labs tool!

From this, we turned our attentions to some of the key outputs of the project – the roadmap and the MOOC. Combining the ideas and learnings of a large consortium into these products isn’t an easy task, but the work packages leaders had it all in hand. The roadmap is taking the format of a metro line, with different stops along the way that people can get on and off at. This tries to address one of the problems people have been outlining about co-creation processes – they are not necessarily linear. Therefore, the multi-directionality of a metro map may just provide the answer – we are looking forward to seeing what is produced and we will update you on it later in the year!

What we took away from this year’s meeting was that at its core co-creation is a power – or to be more specific, the redistribution of power and the interplay of power dynamics. This got us thinking about all kinds of things such as what language you use, questioning of your own perspective, hidden hierarchies and things like that. This food for thought is what we will take away with us and begin to unpick within our own practice and work.