COMMUNITY NARRATIONS AND CRITICAL THINKING

Earlier this month the People’s Voice Media team attended the kick-off meeting in Berlin for our new Erasmus+ funded project – CONCRIT. The project aims to work towards a socially cohesive Europe, which requires self-confident, fully informed and educated citizens. To support this, ourselves and partners will be investigating the topics of community narration and digital literacies, exploring their role in civic education. Through this research, we will produce learner driven tools, ways to build a community and techniques to de-construct discriminatory stereotypes.

Partners involved in the project are from Poland, Germany, Italy and the UK and contribute different expertise and perspectives. People involved in the project work in participatory arts, support services for people experiencing issues such as mental ill health, civic participation fields and sports development arenas. This multidisciplinary team are seeking to pool our collective intelligence and learn from one another and wider stakeholders, in order to create training programmes and training activities pertinent to digital literacies.

We are currently in the research phase of the project, with the start of next year being focused on developing training materials and resources. The project will then move onto testing out these outputs and refining them. There’ll be opportunities for People’s Voice Media’s partners and stakeholders to get involved – so if you’re interested, let us know!

The meeting coincided with the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is a timely reminder of the constant need to keep knocking down the barriers between people – whether they are physical or ideological – in order to build inclusive and welcoming communities. We’ll keep you updated on how the project progresses in its aim and contributes to this vision next year.

ROADMAPPING CO-CREATION

As we all know, co-creation processes aren’t best delivered by a fixed plan and are not linear in nature. The fluidity and flexibility of co-creation are core strengths of this practice. However, a key challenge ahead for the CoSIE project – a pan-European applied research project looking at how public services can be co-created – is to produce a roadmap for how co-creation can be done.

Exploring what this blueprint might look like was a key focus of a recent CoSIE project meeting in Athens. Ideas brought forward by the consortium was that it could take the form of a metro map with various routes depending on which position you were entering co-creation from, another suggestion was that it could be a Prezi with links and video content embedded and there was also the tongue-in-cheek proposition that it could be like a dating app – the Tinder of co-creation!

What was clear from these discussions was that the usualy lengthy PDF documents and toolkits that are produced on this matter are not what this consortium want to re-make. Instead, the project dares to be different. We dare to innovate and challenge pre-conceptions of what ‘roadmaps’ are. Fundemental to this, is that the blueprint must be accessible to everyone wanting to co-create in public services. For People’s Voice Media, a core part of this will be making it ‘human’ and about people. That means cutting out all the buzzwords and terminology that has lost its meaning, and instead using everyday language that people can really connect with.

Anyway, that’s our two pence worth on the matter… let’s see what is co-created on this journey!

CO-ENGAGE PROJECT MEETING IN LIVERPOOL

Co-Engage Project Meeting Liverpool TNP Erasmus Plus

Back in September People’s Voice Media came together with representatives from the European partners collaborating on Co-Engage to discuss project progress and share ideas on co creation. The meeting took place in The Quaker Meeting House in Liverpool and proved to be a productive couple of days in terms of developing the project.

Stakeholders from Stockport council and Manchester Access Project also came and presented the framework for the projects they have been working on.

You can read more on the meeting over on the Co-Engage project website.

EUROSPECTIVES PROJECT MEETING IN LIVERPOOL

Eurospectives Erasmus Plus TNP Meeting Liverpool September 2019

At the end of September, the People’s Voice Media team had the pleasure of hosting a meeting with the transnational partners currently collaborating on the Eurospectives project. The meeting took place with representatives from different community organisations and social enterprises from across Europe including Agora Köln, Comparative Research Network, Crossing Borders, Ellinogermaniki Agogi, COSV and CFR Vigo. The meeting took place at The Quaker Meeting House in Liverpool and proved to be an exciting and informative couple of days.

You can read more on the Eurospectives website.

SOME #SOFTANDFLUFFY FINDINGS

#softandfluffy project

Back in September, People’s Voice Media came together with representatives from Creative Minds and Huddersfield University to discuss all things #softandfluffy. So far the project has collaborated with a range of wellbeing initiatives in different locations and communities from across Kirlees, Wakefield and Stockport. The main aim of #softandfluffy has been to utilise Community Reporting, an alternative approach to evaluation, to gather stories of people’s lived experience with mental health services in order to bring about positive change to the current system. 

A team of Community Reporters have worked with wellbeing initiatives, such as Creative Minds, The Artworks, The Good Mood League, The Live Arts Cafe, Photovoice, Q Lab, Nice Guidance, to build up a body of research consisting of digital stories exploring the experiences of people engaged in creative activities delivered by each of the organisations.

The findings of the project have helped identify issues and communicate solutions to current approaches to mental health services, based on the knowledge of the people who experience it first hand. Key themes include, the flaws of the medical approach to mental health services, the concept of health encompassing mental and emotional wellbeing as well as physical health and the benefits of adapting ‘traditional’ approaches to mental health services offered by the NHS to reflect this more holistic approach. Utilising Community Reporting has helped to highlight these factors and communicate the complexities of different experiences without over-complication. The experience of Community Reporting also provides those engaged with the opportunity to open up and feel heard on an individual level, provide support to peers and in terms of the stories exploring creativity, change people’s preconceived ideas and misconceptions – It’s not just about collecting stories.

With regards to follow up events and future coordination, the team are currently working on producing a film and project report collating the findings, both of which will reflect the need for commissioners to engage and hear people’s stories. A ‘Conversations for Change’ event has taken place, which invited practitioners, team leaders and commissioners from within mental health services to listen to the research and the voices of the people they provide care and support for, in the hopes to influence a change in policy and structure. The event set out to be a conversation starter, to drive change and desire for improvement, challenging perceptions that what is thought of as #softandfluffy, is not quite so ‘soft and fluffy’ and is creating real positive changes in those that need it most.