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.

CONCRIT TNP in Poland

Part of my role at PVM is to manage an exciting European project called Concrit. 

The aim of the pan European project 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, Concrits second Trans National Partnership meeting took place, it was hosted in the fair port city of Gydnia, in Poland. It was great to catch up with partners and although I attended online, I imagined myself enjoying the sea breeze and maybe a poroggi (delicious Polish dumpling) or two. 

Despite the meeting being blended (online and in person) it went very well using a number of platforms, such as Jitsi and Zoom. We also used the virtual whiteboard application Miro Board. This is an excellent tool to collaborate on and to share information and ideas.

During the meeting we found out what specific group each partner will be working with. There are a varied mix of groups, including; parents and families, homeless people, people with mental health issues, migrant workers, older people in a remote rural setting and an urban neighbourhood. 

An important element of this project is to conduct a thorough, useful and inclusive needs assessment for each community. Part of my role is to design this. During the meeting we collectively looked at it and made some tweaks and changes to it, using the Miro board. 

The plan now, is to work with our communities to discover what their needs are, what learning gaps there are, if any. Then we will design specific inclusive learning paths for these specific communities, developing them and then testing them out when we meet again at the training labs in December.

Watch this space.

Kath Peters – PVM Concrit Project Manager