This week we had the second knowledge exchange workshop exploring distributed community participation. The DDCP team were delighted to be joined by new members to the network, which included representation from the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, the Scottish Community Development Centre, Alliance Scotland, Dartington Service Design Lab and New Practice.

Building on insights from the previous workshop where the group collectively reflected upon and shared re-orientated approaches and methods; the focus of this second workshop was to unpack practical processes further, with a focus on problematizing the how. To prepare for this, the team spent time synthesising these key reflections into the following 3 core thematics:

Participants were asked to pick one of these areas that resonated with their own  experiences, and to reflect on an approach, process or technique (theirs or someone else’s that has been particularity inspiring) that could help deepen our understanding of participation challenges and potential responses ­– ­structuring their presentations by the following questions:

  1. What was the challenge? 
  2. How did you respond (what worked/ what didn’t?/ what did you need?)
  3. What can we learn from this? 

Adopting the ‘Conga’ method as before led to a really rich discussion where participants built upon each other’s examples and insights; exploring these thematics through multiple lenses. This included questions around acknowledging that there are different levels of crisis for different people experiencing the same thing and being conscious of this; negotiating the bureaucracy (red tape) and the institutionalisation of participation; the ways in which boundaries and barriers can, in fact, make us more innovative and creative; within participation what are the nuances between consultation, participation and collaboration; what is the future of research ethics, project budgets and participation spaces; and how can we embed hospitality into our approaches and tools so to sustain a more human touch?

Towards the end of the workshop, we were able to identify a range of additional dimensions to consider and calibrate in processes of designing distributed participation:

Reflecting on these future-focused questions and scenarios, the DDCP are now in the process of consolidating these insights into the design of the final knowledge exchange workshop, taking place on Monday 7th June. For this, the team are also considering ways to effectively disseminate key learnings from this project, beginning work on creating the digital repository of recourses through developing shareable examples and case studies, as well as exploring future opportunities for sustaining this nearly formed network.

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