Emma discusses her experience at the 2021 ICR Conference.

So, um, now that we're recording, So the main thing I really wanted to ask was obviously you attended the whole conference. Um, sort of. How did you find it in general? Was the Was it useful? Were there any bits? Not so useful. Um, anything you've taken back into your own work that you do with It's the equality trust, isn't it? Yeah, that's right

Yeah. Yeah. And anything

Really? Yeah. Um, yeah. I mean, I I found it

Um, I really like the format. I thought the format was really good. Um, so there was bits, um, of, you know, where everybody got a opportunity to talk

And then there was, um uh from what I can remember that there was, um uh, you then got films and, um and then, um workshops. So I I I Because it was quite a long day, but I thought the breaking down and the breaks worked really well, because I've been to quite a few things, and they can be quite exhausting, but, um, so I thought that was really good. Um and I really, um uh yeah, I really liked the just the tone of it

Really. The feel of it. I like the speakers

Um, the speakers were very, um, energising, and it felt very comfortable and quite, you know, although kind of the topic can be quite intense. It felt quite fun as well. So, um, and it it felt quite inclusive

Um, So and there was a real, um, diverse group of people as well, which I really liked. Um, and, um, yeah, and and and really kind of being sensitive to, um yeah, uh uh. Being accessible for people, but also being mindful around people giving their stories

Um, one of the things I think that I remembered, um, because, um, I've I've worked a lot around, um I've worked for mine and worked a lot around people giving their lived experience, and, um and I've done it myself. Um, and I really liked, um, one of the feedback from from 11 woman around kind of what makes a good space. And what makes her, um, and she talked about just being comfortable and and kind of

So I've taken away the word comfortable. Um, because we talk about I mean, there's all the kind of the jargon around safe spaces and stuff like that. But I just thought that really kind of encapsulates kind of, You know, it's quite you know, everyone knows what comfortable means

Um, and I thought so. That was really, um I found her feedback. Really? You know, memorable

And she was saying, Oh, you know, it's just like you just wanna, you know, uh, yeah. Feel like you know, you you can talk to people and stuff. So, um, so that was, um Yeah, that that was memorable

And And just hearing people's, um yeah, just just kind of being in a room with, um with other people who felt very comfortable sharing their stories. And, um, it's quite validating, really. And just kind of, uh, appreciate the, um, how important storytelling is in terms of making an impact and also how empowering it can be for for all of us

So, um, so yeah, so? So that that was kind of the main sense. And I just thought it was very well organised as well. So it's very clear what was happening

Um, it was, um yeah, and and And there was a There was enough facilitators around. If people you know, because there was I can't remember how many were present, but it just felt quite safe as well. So if people you know, there was a lot of people who were around to be able to answer questions or or or deal with any tech stuff

So, um so, yeah. Oh, that's interesting here because I think one of the things we tried to do with having to do it online was basically do as much as you have done if it was in person, and then have those people on hand where I think the temptation someone online is to go. You don't need as many people because you're there, but I'm I'm quite pleased to hear that

That was something that got no noticed that there were people around. We had the full team in it. Um, so one thing is that if so, hopefully next year's conference next June will be some kind of in person events, assuming that's allowable and possible within whatever is happening then and you don't like to assume now that it'll just be all over assuming that periodically every few months for the past year and a half now, Um, but we've sort of talked about the idea of because we found that doing things online has increased that inclusivity there

People who've been able to attend our events that just wouldn't normally have been able to get involved if it wasn't for online. So we're we're looking at ways we can make it kind of a hybrid event where it will be in person. But there will be the option to join in online

And, you know, not just watch it online, but actually be part of the conference. So, um, and with that is also the day of action, which I think you attended one of the workshops you attend for sort of ideas for a day of action. Yes, that's right

Yes. Yes, I suppose. Would that be something you'd potentially be interested in being involved in whether as an attendee or as some part of the events we organise next year? So what I'm asking, really is was your experience of the conference something that you would like to repeat? Was it a Yeah? No, Absolutely

Yeah. Yeah. Um, yes

And and and? And that was of interest. Definitely. Um uh, yeah

Um, so I mean, I suppose the only thing just you know that it would be around kind of expenses and travelling and stuff like that, depending where it was. So that would be the only, um, but apart from that, and that's why I think, you know, like you say, it is so accessible for people. Um, but, um, online

Um, but, you know, I would I would definitely like to, um uh um uh, sorry. Pop ups keep coming on on the so, um, a bit distracting, but, um, yeah, no, I I I would like to I mean, you you kind of see that people are are are coming from the same, uh, you know, values. And, you know, and and I'm always for if, if you know, it's it's like kind of when you meet with your tribe kind of thing

And it it's like the the power of people together Who who who are coming from the same, um, you know, wavelength as you are. And and And, uh so, yes, So it it it's definitely something I would. It's definitely something very close to my heart and something

Um, but I think there needs to be more collaboration, um, in and more kind of examples. of good practise. Um, because I think, um, it's very easy for people in the whole kind of sphere around lived experience for people to feel undervalued and exploited

Um, and for it to be actually a disempowering, um, experience. So I think the more, um, opportunities we can have, um, that are facilitated in a space where people feel empowered and feel energised and feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves as well. Um, I think, um, the better

Really. So, yeah, and that I mean, you said then about, um, sort of some people feeling disempowered and some people being exploited, I think one of the satellite workshops that one of our, um, partners was hosting, um, dealt with that. And I think there was some feedback on it in the final live stream

That sort of think of it. It's very easy when you work with lived, lived experience for the people to give, sharing their stories to kind of become a bit of a commodity and a means to an end. And that's something we're very, you know, the con

I think hopefully we dealt with in the we're very much trying to get away from that. Actually, the people are at the centre in any impact Their story has is is not sort of, you know, they're not just a conduit to that. They are a part of that and an active part of that

And, you know, that's something that we really want to get away from because we, you know, we've We've had those experiences on projects where some people do seem to just view it as well. We just get stories like It's the thing in the world. And yes, it's interesting to hear you raise that from the from the attendee as well

Yeah, I mean, I think it's really important for it to be, you know, like you say how you know, how do you get away from that commodity thing? Because sometimes it's not easy just because the way kind of organisations are set up and everything, But I think it's about how you know the power kind of, um, balance around kind of how, how, how people's stories are part of a whole process, they're not just an an a an a an add on or, um or kind of or a tick box. You know, it's about how does that kind of link into the organisation? What? How do they then? Kind of link in etcetera. And it very much felt that the way the conference is structured that that you know, that the focus on the, um lived experience was about OK, so how do we make sure, um, that, you know, we kind of work towards, um a more a A better way of working around lived experience

So yeah, I suppose the only other thing I'd like, I suppose, ask And I mean, it's it's perfectly fine if the answer is no or you haven't or whatever I suppose is, Have you Is this anything from the conference that you've maybe taken back, as I say to your own work or your own projects, or that you think you will? Or is it um was it more stuff you were? Was it already stuff you were already doing? Perhaps that I think it just reinforced stuff for me. So, um, so one of the things, um, yeah, I mean, it just reinforced. And what was nice was because, you know, coming from time to change and mind, you know, we we worked a lot around lived experience, and we had, you know, I felt it

We we we kind of had good, good practise. And those of us have lived experience ourselves, which I think is always, um, really important. So, um, but, um, it was really good to have somebody outside to hear outside

Um, some of the things that we did to reinforce that and and so that the whole thing around kind of the debriefing, you know, giving people space to debrief outside of it. And also kind of just just just little things that are really important and really vital. Um, And, um, and just reinforcing that and knowing that other people, um, felt felt how important that was as well

So, um so yeah, so in that sense, it it it it it was good, because I think it's very especially as I think the other thing is, as somebody with lived experience working in an environment where I'm the only one who identifies as lived experience, it's very easy to let those good practises drop because you you feel kind of pressurised around around other people who haven't or who who aren't that familiar with it. Whereas when I was in time to change, we all had lived experience, and we all all kind of were able to support, you know, have that kind of peer mentor relationship. So it's like that that conference, you know, you've got your peers there, Um, and it kind of reinforces it

So I think that was, you know, a really good in terms of like, yes. No, this is really important. This is why it's really important

And And it was empowering, because then it made you feel stronger in your workplace to be able to, um, you know, validate Not, um uh, you know, your own kind of practise. Really? If that makes sense, it does. And thank you for sharing that

Really, really good to hear. Um, I suppose I don't want to keep you all day on this, So I suppose, um, just before we go, anything else you'd like to add or again? Perfectly fine. If not, um, no, just just, um Yeah, just just Just I thought it was really, uh yeah, I just really enjoyed it

I thought I think it was one of the best online, um, events I've attended since since lockdown. I just thought it was really, really well thought through it had a really good balance of, you know, being light, but also kind of tackling some kind of quite challenging themes. But, um and really? Yeah

No, I I really, um Yeah, I just really valued it. And And you could tell that that the facilitators and people were really passionate about what they were doing and that that came across. So, um so, yeah, so thanks

Thank you so much. That's lovely to hear. I'll just stop recording


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