• Looking for alternative methods to tackle ‘wicked’ or multifaceted problems?
  • Looking for tools to support decision-making and commissioning in complex environments? 
  • Looking to turn insights into tangible outcomes?

Then this workshop is for you…

People’s lived experiences are becoming increasingly important in decision-making processes. They are instrumental to creating new ideas, ways of doing things and ultimately bringing about social change. Within this context, concepts such as ‘co-initiation’‘co-design’, ‘co-production’ and ‘co-evaluation’are becoming more mainstream within a range of public and third sector support services, and are firmly on the agenda of local and national Governments and commissioners. It is therefore important that those working in these fields understand the value of lived experience as a knowledge base and how it can be practically used to inform practiceinfluence policy and initiate change in meaningful ways.

People’s Voice Media and Ideas Alliance have teamed-up to deliver 1-Day Continued Professional Development workshops that will help you develop your knowledge, skills and expertise in how to addresses the challenges of working with the knowledge of lived experience, tying it in to co-creative processes and bottom-up change structures. Through a mixture of practical tasks, case studies and presentations, discussions and one-to-one facilitator time, you will get to grips with such concepts and approaches can be better utilised in your role and organisation. In the workshop, techniques such as appreciative inquiry and storytelling will be used to rethink the relationship between citizens and professionals in order to better align your purpose to your community’s purposes. 

As part of this workshop you will:

  • Explore how lived experience can be used at to create impact at individual, organisational and systemic levels
  • Assess the challenges and opportunities to working with the knowledge of lived experience and examine how barriers to implementation can be overcome 
  • Create a bespoke plan for working with the knowledge of lived experience in your role and organisation, and develop your ideas using peer support and critical-thinking approaches 

This workshop is perfect for team, middle and strategic management professionals working in sectors such as health and social care, education, community development and infrastructure support and public services who want to understand how to better use lived experience as a tool for quality, service or organisation development. 


Birmingham: Wednesday 4thMarch 2020 / 10am – 4pm (Lunch and refreshments provided) @ BVSC, 138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR. BOOK HERE.

Liverpool: Thursday 12thMarch 2020 / 10 am – 4pm (Lunch and refreshments provided) @ The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James St, Liverpool L1 0AB. BOOK HERE.

Places are limited, so BOOK NOW!


Earlier this month, some of our team headed to slightly warmer climates in Spain to work with Co-Crea-Te – the Spanish pilot in the CoSIE project. Co-Crea-Te is a business development and entrepreneur support service embedded in a purposefully established co-working space in Valencia.

The purpose of our visit was to work with the team behind the pilot to co-curate a set of reflective stories they’ve been capturing about people’s experiences of using the service since its inception earlier this year. Working with the stories we unearthed people’s motivations for become entrepreneurs – such as out of necessity and to do social good, as well as some of the wider contextual challenges to setting up your own business. Furthermore, the stories highlighted the value of the Co-Crea-Te space to the people who access it. At the forefront of this was the ability to co-create and collaborate with other people. People felt this led to better ideas being produced and also helped them feel a sense of belonging.

With these findings we then moved on to exploring how our Conversation of Change facilitation techniques can be used as part of a Summative Knowledge Exchange with stakeholders that is planned to be delivered next year. With the team, we honed in on the purpose of the event – they want to share the learning from their pilots in order to influence other employment related services to adopt co-creation methods within their work. With the pilot team we discuss the practicalities and ideas for this event, which we will be supporting them to develop in the new year. So watch this space for how the conversation unfolds!


Late last month part of our team was in Brussels for the final meeting of the EuroCohort Development Project (ECDP). ECDP is a Design Study which will create the specification and business case for a European Research Infrastructure that will provide, over the next 25 years, comparative longitudinal survey data on child and young adult well-being. The infrastructure developed by ECDP will subsequently coordinate the first Europe wide cohort survey, named EuroCohort.

Integrated into this project, was a stream of work focusing on engaging children and young people in research projects. This part of the project ensures that the voice of children, young people and the parents/guardians of very young children are captured in ECDP so that there is a co-production in the development of the scientific tools and processes. It focused on working with groups of children and young people in the UK and Croatia.

Activities related to this included the establishment of Young People’s Advisory Groups (CYPAG) and the training of young people as Community Reporters and in different storytelling techniques. The Community Reporter’s captured youth voice on the topic of wellbeing. The CYPAG’s also embedded storytelling in their activities to support young people to contribute to the research project’s design. You see all of their stories here. The stories and Community Reporting processes adopted in ECDP were used to create a written analysis on what wellbeing means to young people and also produce a toolkit on how to engage young people in research project. More so, a short document on some of the key learnings from the CYPAG group in Croatia can be downloaded here.

The final day of the meeting was dedicated to a conference – EuroCohort: Growing Up in Europe. This conference brought together key stakeholders, national, European and international level policy-makers, funding bodies and academics as part of a launch event for the EuroCohort: Growing Up in Europe study. It shared learnings from the development project and showed how insights from Growing Up in Europe will support better policy-making and impact on the lives of children and young people.

And guess what? The Community Reporter stories took centre stage, with the voices of young people from Croatia and Zagreb bringing to life the many themes of the study – from happiness to digital life. Another Community Reporting success!


New project alert…

The People’s Voice Media team are currently working with the Ideas Alliance, Dudley Council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Black Country Foodbank to gather stories about people’s lived experiences of poverty. This will help to inform services and strategies to help address poverty in the Dudley area and it will support Black Country Foodbank to develop funding applications, so they reach more people in need. The stories will also be used as part of a report and also in an exhibition that aims to break down stigma surrounding poverty and raise awareness about the issues at a local level.

So far on the project, we have been running some orientation sessions with people living and working in Dudley to let them know what our plans are and to get their feedback on them. We’ve also run a pop-up storytelling with staff from a local Citizens Advice Bureau and captured their experiences of supporting people living in poverty.

In December and January we will be running some Community Reporter training and gathering stories from people accessing local food banks as well. By the end of the project, we hope to have a range of stories covering areas such as the ways that people try to manage their money, experiences of formal and informal support and the challenges that poverty brings to people lives and how it impacts on them and the people around them.

With the stories shared with us, we will then start working in partnership with the Council and others to look at how people’s lives can be made better and what local solutions their are to poverty in the area. We’ll give you an update next year on how this project progresses and hopefully have some solutions to share with you.


At People’s Voice Media, we have a specific vision and specific values – all of which we take seriously. However, we also appreciate that we should not stand still and that our vision and values need to evolve as we grow and change as an organisation.

That’s why, at our recent AGM, we had attendees (including board members, team members and Community Reporters) take part in an activity to look at our existing organisational values and identify ways in which we are currently embodying them and how they could be embedded our future work in more concrete ways. We used the collaborative tool Flinga to allow everyone to collaborate on this and come up with some fascinating ideas.

Our current values

So what are PVM’s current values?

  • Collaboration & Equity: these values represent our way of working
  • Authenticity & Integrity: these values represent our behaviour
  • Learning & Evolving: these values represent our approach
  • Optimism & Joy: these values represent out mindset

We asked attendees two questions about each of the values:

  1. How have you embodied this value?
  2. How can we better incorporate this value in future?

The answers, given via Flinga live during the meeting provide a fascinating insight of where PVM is now in terms of its values and where it will be heading in the future. We’ve listed some of them below.

Collaboration & Equity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “We worked to give people who are seldom heard a voice to make change and influence.”
  • “Changed perceptions of academic staff who were sceptical of how this work adds value to research.”
  • “Trying to make the organisation’s structure and working practices more horizontal.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Promote autonomy in all people involved in the organisation.”
  • “Become more outward facing esp. in UK.”
  • “Audit my stakeholder base to identify people and other orgs and their platforms.”
  • “Keep doing what you have been doing.”

Authenticity & Integrity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “By giving my time, by being able to show my vulnerability to others, by feeling able to fight against the offerings of the system/ the people that hold the power, becoming the expert.”
  • “Calling out the elephant in the room / standing up for what we believe is integrity and the right way of treating people and partners.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Keep to core principles – do not get blown off course [funding].”
  • “Model kindness and ‘being human’.”
  • “Update our policies and procedures and make them actual working documents not just box ticking.”

Learning & Evolving

How have you embodied this value?

  • “Evaluation is at the heart of the tasks I’ve completed whilst working with PVM.”
  • “Always listening and learning.”
  • “Never having set rules – learning and continuous improvement.”
  • “Developed our practice from digital skills to a method.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Creating a working culture that without a fear of failure.”
  • “Stay up to date with technology.”
  • “Extending our practice into new sectors.”
  • “Supporting to team to generate the innovations – not always leading from the front.”
  • “Be more pirate.” (Not as odd as it sounds, this one’s all about professional rule-breaking and being a rebel with a cause.)

Optimism & Joy

How have you embodied this value?

  • “It’s been a pleasure working in such a positive team at PVM.”
  • “Always positive yet realistic.”
  • “Bringing a smile and looking for the solutions.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Celebrating the small wins more – not always an end goal.”
  • “Be optimistic about the future of the organisation.”
  • Optimism and Joy are incredibly important values to have especially currently in this world of so much uncertainty and barriers. Optimism and joy will help to navigate the rocky roads of the future.”

So what’s next for our values?

As you can see, while we do currently embody our values, there is more to be done on making them a more concrete part of the work that we do. Our policies and procedures are going to be worked on so they become actual working documents, as mentioned above, and we’re looking into partnerships with other organisations that will help us in bringing our core values to life.

Watch this space as we continue to grow, develop and evolve.