Reflecting on our Ageing Well and Modern Slavery communities of practice work with University of Sussex
What is the project?
Working in partnership with the University of Sussex we co-designed a project focused on developing stakeholder communities that would help build connections between researchers and practitioners. Incorporating a variety of ways to connect and engage, we devised a series of webinars, podcasts and online talks exploring the subjects of Ageing Well and Modern Slavery to allow university researchers to share their work and ideas with others.
What are the overall aims?
To share knowledge and engage communities with research from design and development, through to outcome and implementation. The project aimed to extend the reach of research creating opportunity for partnership working and collaboration. Success criteria included the opening of dialogue amongst shared interest groups, the raising of awareness of upcoming research and its impact on practice and the prospect of collaborative funding bids.
What will happen as a result of it?
The accessibility of the programme enabled researchers and specially invited guests to connect with over 250 people via live events, with hundreds more accessing and downloading the recorded events and associated podcasts.
The project maintained momentum through regular newsletters and social media posts with support for community development provided by two safe and shared spaces for exploration within always possible’s online forum, The Possibility Club. Each topic strand had a dedicated circle allowing members to engage with content, share ideas and learn more about others working in similar areas. The success of the events and quality of the content produced has resulted in connections and discussions with Age UK and Impact Initiatives – this resulted in the university supporting the Ageing Well Festival with specifically designed content from researchers and practitioners.
A further stage is in development with the university, extending the reach of The Possibility Club circles to deepen connection and conversation. In the case of the Modern Slavery strand, a partnership between the university and the Sussex Anti-Slavery Network is emerging that will look to provide information and advice for communities and businesses on spotting and reporting modern slavery.
What are we learning about the subject in hand?
This project has allowed us to really explore the notion of co-design. Over a period of 6 months, we worked closely with the university to consider the intended outcomes, the structure of delivery and the most appropriate ways for people to engage with subject areas that are broad, complex and emotive.
We have listened, advised, consulted and learned throughout this project and as a result have built a working relationship that continues to explore opportunities for connecting people and bridging gaps. We have greatly valued the chance to connect with stakeholders and partners through this work and have learned how to better use our platforms to engage and inform for different audiences.
Further reading and viewing