Podcast Episode: Co-production Week 2018
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MD - Michelle Drumm
SJ - Sam Jordan
K - Kieran
A - Abbie
Co-production Week (#CoProWeekScot) was held from the 19-25 November 2018 and provided an opportunity to learn, discuss and celebrate how co-production puts people and communities at the heart of the support and services they’re part of. Michelle from Iriss.fm spoke to Sam Jordan from the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) about what Co-production Week is and some of the activities that took place over the week. Kieran and Abbie from Young Movers or Yo Mo talk about the work they do to involve children and young people in co-production and the event they led for co-production week.
SJ I work for SCDC which is the Scottish Community Development Centre and we, as you say, kind of manage the network and SCDC is the kind of lead body for community development in Scotland and so that’s really the kind of starting point of our interest in co-production is how we can use it, how it’s a tool in terms of changing the relationship that communities have with services and trying to advance that in a way that gives communities more voice and shifts the balance of power so, that’s kind of our core interest I suppose in the network. Co-production week is a campaign or a week to come together over a series of events, blogs, and social media activity to talk about co-production and that’s the kind of the role of the network but we found that the weeks are good place to have it and it a kind of centralised place because it means that everyone can come together round issues, talk about their experiences, talk about ideas, and also talk about their enthusiasm and share their enthusiasm about co-production and we’ve found it’s a really helpful thing to have is a kind of central time and place for people to come together to talk about their stuff just because you know it can be difficult sometimes and people need and want that time to explore what co-production is and what it means for them so, that’s the kind of the role of the week.
MD Co-production, it’s been a bit of a buzz word I think over the years and do you think there’s some demystification around what co-production is now and that people can see it in practice?
SJ Yeah, I think so. It is a buzzword and the language is always tricky but I think that co-production is … it certainly has been some progress, if not the definition which I always find it very difficult to define what co-production is but the values and the practice are quite clear, I think, for a lot of people now so, I think as we’ve started off, the Scottish Co-production Network, we were kind of defining it and trying to explain it and now it’s more a case of well how does this practice fit into my work and how do you recognise it and how do you valuate it so, we seem to have made some progress on that front I think.
MD Brilliant, can you tell me about then some of the events that were held over co-production week?
SJ Sure, yes. So, the theme of this year was stories and the reason that we’ve kind of focused on that was because again trying to kind of tell the story of co-production can be quite difficult sometimes so, it’s about trying to capture those individual stories that we see which can be quite small and can be based on individual relationships but also the larger service design which is also what co-production is about. So, the events we held this year, the first one was on legislative theatre which is a technique to explore issues in a group setting and a kind of theatre setting and then try and resolve those and figure out what the solutions should be and it crucially includes people who are kind of designing services and people who are involved in using them. It’s a nice demonstration of what co-production can look like and that was our first event where we went through that process, really interesting to see that in action and the second event we held was a co-production and young people and asking questions, how much do we know about how we co-produce with young people? And for that event we had Youth Scotland along who were telling us about their work in terms of involving people in service design and also Abbie and Kieran from YO MO who were there to share their experiences and I think that was really great to hear what they’re doing and to hear from their practice about how you can take co-production and use it in a way that’s really interesting and innovative which I think they absolutely demonstrated that so, it was really good to see.
MD Uh huh and given its Year of Young People as well, this year, I suppose there was slightly more of a focus on that area?
SJ Yeah, absolutely I think, yeah, I mean like you say it is the Year of the Young People and I think we need to make sure that we’re not just taking co-production happens for granted, you know? It requires a lot of work, a lot of effort and that obviously looks different in different areas so, with young people there are particular things that you need to think about and that’s what we heard at the event, it was how actually, it’s about the tools and techniques that are used and I think it was really interesting to see how some of them, you know, in terms of trying to make service design or whatever engaging that we could actually apply to adults as well in terms of trying to make this stuff more interesting and not so dry and I think that’s what I took away from, certainly Abbie and Kieran’s input is how this stuff should be the way we do it in a lot of senses but there are particular techniques used to engage young people in this type of work.
MD And how many organisations, other organisations did it engage with?
SJ Yeah, so the week itself covered, it covers quite a broad area and obviously because co-production is an umbrella term that covers lots of different sectors, we probably maybe twenty or thirty different organisations who engage with us in various ways. Lots of blogs produced which are on the Co-production Network website and that was great because people really did tell their stories and it wasn’t just here’s something great which is, you know, brilliant to see but it was also people talking about the difficulty they had. Some of the sticky bits and the barriers that they came up against which I think is a real useful thing to see because co-production isn’t easy, it’s a difficult thing to do and I think we need to make sure that we’re recognising that and learning from that practice which is a kind of core part of what the network does and what we’re really interested in seeing is how people can take that and use it and learn from it for their own practice.
MD Uh huh have you got any vision for co-production week going forward?
SJ At the moment yeah, we see it as a yearly thing, we’re kind of funded on a yearly basis so, it’s obviously depending on securing funding but we see co-production week as something that is, for us, it’s helpful because it’s a chance to see what’s out there and get people focused on co-production and obviously we do work throughout the year in terms of our learning events and social media and on the website and stuff like that but it’s a nice focus for us and I think as we see it develop we’re always keen to have folks who are involved in the network get involved and steer us on ideas that they have and that’s a core part of what we do, is asking the network and trying to reflect what they think we should focus on in terms of different issues and go from there in terms of our planning for the next stages but yeah, it’s something that we’re going to carry on doing throughout the years, yeah.
Kieran and Abbie from Young Movers or YO MO, talk about the work they do to involve children and young people in co-production and the event they led for co-production week
MD So, thanks Kieran and Abbie for speaking to Iriss.fm today about the work that you’ve been doing. Can you just tell me first of all what does Young Movers do, or YO MO do?
K Young movers, we’re a youth empowerment charity based in the East End of Glasgow, we operate over the North West and the North East. One of our biggest things that we’re known for is, we run a thing called Youth Bank so, that’s a grant making initiative for young people. It’s enabling and empowering young people through working with other people in the community. So, currently we run the biggest youth bank in Scotland where young people are in charge of a grant pot of up to £30,000 and are able to dish it out in their community where they feel there is youth led activities going on. We also run our peer education service so, young people are trained up on important topics like anti-bullying, first aid, money for life, so financial inclusion and they go out into youth groups, schools, other kind of youth services and deliver that back into other young people.
MD Brilliant, okay and you’re also involved in I suppose young people’s voices, being heard.
MD And I know you were involved in an event last week over co-production week around co-producing with younger people, children and young people, and it was called, In it Together: What Do We Know About Co-production with Children and Young People? So, can you tell me what this event was all about?
A So, the event was basically just informing people of what co-production is cos it’s actually surprising how much people don’t know what it is and we basically had slide shows, showing them what we do in Easterhouse with Young Movers and then also what SCDC do and it was basically more like giving them a taste of what co-production is and having workshops where they would try and do something with co-production and decide whether something was co-production or whether it wasn’t co-production and Kieran was even good enough to bring along voting pads for that and it was just really interesting to see everybody else’s opinions about it and stuff.
MD Do you think there’s a bit of an issue around the work co-production for people, do you think that’s a bit of a barrier?
K Yeah, it’s quite jargon. I think if you try and explain the word co-production to young people, they may not understand it whereas the word co-design which is kind of relatively the same, is so much easier to understand I think as well.
A I think it might be a little bit intimidating for some young people cos they don’t know what it means so …
MD Uh huh and how did that fair out on the day then, did you find that most people understood it quite well?
A I think everybody understood what it was but when we did Health Way 22 with GCPH we had young people at the planning meetings as well as at the event and when you’re working with young people, you can’t use jargon too much cos I think a lot of the time as well, a young people hears co-production and they think boring meetings in a room, writing things down and not doing anything at all but it’s just basically more about informing them like co-production’s actually about getting your opinion and what you as a young person wants and I think it would be good if a lot of young people started learning that more cos then they can get involved more and they’ll actually start having fun.
MD And how are younger people then responding to being involved in this type of thing?
K Well in YO MO anyway, our young people kind of came to us in the sense that they wanted to take more responsibility and so we have in our thing, it’s called a Young Leader’s Programme. So, young people are kind of trained up to be like a figure to other volunteers in the organisation where if a young person has an issue but doesn’t want to go to a staff member, they can go to a young leader who will identify throughout the organisation and they can take that issue further. So, our young leaders were created around young people actually wanting to take on more a role of responsibility, wanting to be involved in the board, wanting to be involved in planning events and new training packs and stuff like that so, I think it’s for us the way YO MO work as it is because we’re empowering young people so, they get to that point where they are determined to get further so they are in organisation.
MD And do you think some things need to change in order for co-production to truly happen for young people?
A I think some adults like to take charge a bit, especially when they are with young people and when you’re involving young people in something like co-production or co-design it’s important to not only let them come to you in their own time but to also try and entice them to do more and actually listening to them because that might make their day, just being listened to and having their voice heard and I think a lot more companies and adults need to do that when it comes to that kind of stuff.
K I guess as well when somebody says the word co-production, they always thing of something big like a big event or something like that where it could be something as little as, especially for third sector for like youth work, it can be like young people planning to go on a trip, that’s co-production and we’re not running a massive budget, it’s not going to take months to plan, it could take two weeks to plan so, I think it’s as well, it’s like more narrowing it down to the fact that it doesn’t have to be something massive, it can be small but still be really effective in empower other young people.
MD And you might be aware that Iriss has produced a co-production project planner, a sort of tool kit. I don’t know whether you’ve seen it or whether you think it’s of any value?
K We used it, as I mentioned before for when we were planning the Health Way 22 forums so, the Glasgow Centre of Population Health, we got asked to help plan an event that was kind of tailored to young people back in October and as Abbie said, we were working with adults who were kind of pushy and basically wouldn’t be quiet. When we were at a planning session so, we managed to use that pack and get ourselves and other young people using some of the cards, yeah like “I want to speak” and “Stop, I don’t understand” and stuff like that.
MD So, the tools made it a bit easier to sort of work with, have some ideas around how to work with people?
MD Great, it’s really good work that you’re involved in, both of you. Sounds really excellent and really empowering young people and getting their voices heard which is fantastic. The in it together event that you ran last week: What do we Know About Co-production and Children and Young People, do you want to just run through what happened on the day?
K Well for myself and Abbie, both co-ran a workshop together where we kind of … we told workers or people kind of hierarchy in organisations how to get young people actually involved and ran a workshop, it was Bid for Fiver, where we actually showed people … so whenever you’re running something to do with co-production, they always think as I said before, it’s like a big massive budget but we got them to manage to use co-production within the budget of £5.
K Yeah so, they managed to … we split them up into groups for ten minutes and got them to have to plan something in building their community when working with young people that you couldn’t spend any more than a fiver and at first everyone was like, “Oh, this is impossible, I’m not going to be able to do this.” But at the end of it, they were all taking ideas away back to their organisations so, they were and saying they were really surprised in how far £5 can actually go and it doesn’t actually, you don’t need as much money to empower.
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