Workshop 03: Planning Partnerships

This week we hosted the third and final knowledge exchange workshop in the Designing Distributed Community Participation series. For this final session, the DDCP team designed a more hands-on workshop to explore ways of future-proofing our collective learnings. Based on insights consolidated from across the previous 2 workshops, Workshop 03 centred on a team-based design sprint activity, framed around the following themes and questions:

·  The future of ethics (how does hybrid future engagement shape our ethical considerations?)

·  The future of resources, roles and values (how do we use future budgets to value hybrid participation in a different way?)

·  The future of (hybrid) engagement methods (how do we design future hybrid engagement methods to benefit participation?)

·  The future of communication (how does hybrid future engagement shape our communication for participation?)

For this, we began with some theme-based warm-up discussions, which were captured by the facilitators on Miro. Following this, the attendees were spilt into three working groups and given the design sprint brief to respond to as hypothetical creative research teams, which the aim of implemented insights gleaned from the entire knowledge exchange workshop series:

The teams spent time quickly prototyping a proposed project plan, approaches and the timeframe using a simple template created on Miro, and were encouraged to reflect on what the key ethical dimensions would be, create a project budget; and to consider a recruitment and communication strategy. Before the teams pitched their proposal to the wider group, evaluation criteria typically used by funders was shared as a baseline for the group to consider who to vote for:

The first proposal, called ‘It’s about me, not you…’ focused on exploring the topic of the brief specifically with young people in the 15-17age bracket who are differently abled, recruited to the project as co-researchers. So to remove barriers to participation, an application process would be developed to support participants to identify their own participation requirements. The project fieldwork would involve the young people becoming ‘community reporters’ to explore community centres in their local urban/ rural contexts – identifying who is and isn’t using community centres, identifying the tensions and drivers with the aim of producing creative outputs (e.g. vlogs/films/ creative artefacts). A key ethical consideration problematized by this team were ways in which participants could be remunerated for their time – both financially as well as the opportunity of providing some form of an award or accreditation that formally acknowledges their project contributions.

The second team proposed to develop a collaborative working team to co-define the project challenge, priorities, approach and methods together with the young people; as well as what shaping what the outcomes will be with the aim of developing a framework with and for the young people focused on what they would like to get out of the process (e.g. new skills/ capacity building/ employment/ certification). The team proposed to use the project budget to employ a group of young people as peer-researchers and, using a co-design methodology and hybrid approaches, support knowledge exchange across the rural and urban contexts in the creation of both textual and visual data. A key ethical dimension was creating a non-hierarchical research culture and building structures that would enable the young people to lead, as well as safeguarding in developing trust between and across the groups of young people.  

The third proposal, called ‘Youth Pen-Pal Policy’, again explored ways of supporting young people to be recruited as co-researchers in a project prototyping ways to support youth-led policy reform. Through gathering ethnographic insight from the young people on what the key challenges are (e.g.what’s working well/ what’s not); they would be invited to pitch their own ideas to receive an amount of the project budget to fund their projects. Instead of funds being allocated to travel, satellite workshops would be facilitated across the urban and rural contexts and take place over platforms such as Miro and Whatsapp. During these workshops, the young people will be matched with a mentor (e.g. local business owners, community champions, grass root organisations) to support in the development of their own proposals. The project would also look to develop youth-led panels who would evaluate these pitches and vote on which ideas to allocate the funding to.

The workshop wrapped up the DDCP team sharing the next steps in terms of disseminating the outputs from the 3 workshops in the form of a digital repository, with the potential to also create a material version of this. The attendees were also encouraged to share their feedback and details so to explore opportunities to grow and develop this network in the future as we gradually move into a post-Covid world.

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