Earlier in June we ran an online knowledge exchange that shared our learning from the CoSIE project with fellow practitioners from across the UK and beyond. The workshop focused on the ways in which we had worked with public services across 9 different European countries to embed storytelling into co-creation processes. We explore some of the successes, and also the challenges and issues, we had encountered when working with stories and the knowledge of experience in this way. We’re hopeful that some of the people in the workshop were able to take away ideas and techniques from this workshop to apply in their own contexts!

As part of the knowledge exchange, people discussed how they had used lived experience and storytelling in their own work and fields, what opportunities there were for them to adopt such an approach and what are the potential barriers to this way of working. Some points raised by people in the workshop were:

  • Whilst people are likely to listen to lived experience stories and make some changes, it is more difficult to get people to really ‘handover’ power.
  • Stories help people to connect properly at a human level – they get underneath ‘professionalism’ and connect people emotionally
  • Stories are useful for reflective practice – we can also learn a lot from positive experiences, not just negative ones

People’s Voice Media and the CoSIE project are also interested in how we can better share our learning about storytelling and co-creation with a wider audience. As part of this workshop, we asked our fellow practitioners to think about how we can do this… and create a toolkit of sorts! Some ideas were:

  • Including in the ‘toolkit’ elements of what doesn’t work and why
  • Covering topics such as ‘growing a network’ so you have people alongside you who have “got your back”
  • Exploring how you can create inclusive and accessible environments in which people feel comfortable to share their stories
  • Making the format more interactive than a document – helping people to connect with the material in a more direct way

We will be working on this with our colleagues in the CoSIE project throughout this year and hopefully by the end of 2020 we will be able to share with you what we have made!

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