Laura discusses her experience of the 2021 ICR Conference.

make sure so. Ok, thank you for, um, letting us take this time with you. So, um, you attended the conference? Did you attend all of it, or just certain parts of it? Do you? Was it the live streams and the workshops or Yeah, it was mainly the live streams. I think I attended one of the workshops, um, as well, but I I couldn't save the whole whole bit

So mainly the live streams actually was great. So got a bit of context. So really, um, all sort of asking you really is, um what did you sort of thinking back to the parts of the country? Tended? What did you take from it? What did you find useful? What did you maybe find not so useful if there was anything, um, other things you've taken back, um, into your own work, anything really, That you feel you wanna share about it? Um, I think for me, it was it was everything was useful because I was literally right at the very beginning of exploring, Um, the whole concept and the whole environment of of, you know, of of everything around this

So, um, to have everyone in a room and kind of give me these amazing bits of, um, their knowledge and experience and, um, kind of top 10 dos and don't in a way, you know, it was a stop to with lovely people, um, just kind of sharing their story, and their their knowledge was, um, absolutely amazing for me as a a starting point. And I think, um, hearing it all like that summed up, I think I It it was, um, obviously easy for me. I I'm more of a visual learner

So actually, having that kind of, um, people talking and, um, doing things really grounded it. And and I think for me as well I didn't realise quite maybe how naive I was about, um coming into it. So I've done a lot of events, but I think hearing, um from people who have shared their lived experiences and the negative sides of that as well was really, really important

So important for me to and to now, I've taken that, um, with me when I'm planning future events and thinking way ahead of time and what I want from them and how I can make the spaces comfortable. And how I can, um, ensure there is trust and, um, a balance of power around the final, um, products as well. Um, so a lot to learn

And I still think it's that, um you just gotta start and then learn if you you do see wrong, apologise and and listen to people. And I think that came across really strongly as well that actually just talk to people like get, um and make sure they they're with you as as you. You go on a journey with them kind of thing

Um, so those were my main big takeaways, I think from it. I mean, that's that's really great, because I think one of the things we kept coming up in the conference and I think came up in some of the satellite workshops and things was the idea of that relationship with the storyteller and it being on an equitable footing. And it, um, you know, not taking them or their story for granted and not treating them like a commodity to get to the the end, your project or your work is aiming for

And so I've I've been glad to hear from you and some of the people who shared their stories that that has been something that came out of it, that that value, that sense of values around. Yeah, I think it's, um maybe a lot of people if they're not, if it's not already ingrained. It feels like it's just a nice add on and it's like it's it's that's not what it is

It's It's like, Oh, yeah, we'll just invite someone. They'll have some free time. We don't have to pay them we don't have and it's like it's It's almost like they're treating it like an embellishment rather than something that needs to be core to everything that they're doing and how they're kind of like maybe developing a service or doing the the research and the impact

And it's, um so they're they're completely missing the point. I think, um, and again that that's I think, what I took away as well as like now it, it's it's got to run all the way through everything you do within that project. Um, it can't just be that little, nice little embellishment on the end that you can kind of crop out all the other bits and just take that one bit that you want and put it out of context

You have to kind of keep it in a a whole. That was important. That's it

Because I think some people see storytelling as a quote grabbing exercise, don't they? And it's, you know, you'll you'll pick out that one. Good thing you ignore everything else that's been said and I mean, that's what we we very much try to. You know, the story is treated as a whole

We don't chop them up or anything, and the whole story is what gets looked at when trying to get insights out of it. So, yeah, it's, um yeah, I mean And you do you do encounter? I think people on projects who do very much see it as, oh, we'll just, you know, get some stories and we'll get some good quotes to embellish the report, and it's actually it should be the basis of the report, not the like this feeling of panic because like Oh, God, like we need these additional bits as well now. And we we didn't have time or we didn't plan them in earlier, and now we just got to quickly

It's that quickly thing. It's like right. Survey monkey

Quickly ask some people, get some sound sound bites, add it in, um, and which you can judge people for. But I think it it It can be very understandable if if, um say no one else has been pressuring you to do it in a different way, and you haven't had any training or you haven't really thought about it, I think it's It's a default for a lot of people, isn't it to kind of, um, quickly have to do it at the very, very end? So, um, yeah, As I said, coming along on the conference really helped, um, open my eyes to how to do it better. So I've been sharing that with colleagues

That's good to hear, and it sounds like it's from what you're saying. And it sounds like it's giving you some tools to go and try out and see what works for you and the people you're working with. And that is really good

Um, so it's just from my own curiosity, really. Um, just wondering what, um how did you find the format of the conference with the live streams and things like that was it. Did it work OK for you? And it did

Yeah, Absolutely. I mean, I'm quite comfortable in the digital space anyway, Um, but I thought it ran. It had a lovely, um uh, I wanna say vibe, but I don't I feel like I'm too old to be saying vibe, but, um, it had a lovely atmosphere and feel to it

Like all the speakers, Everyone was, um, just really open. And it flowed really nicely and like the different, like, little segments of sound bites and stuff. And then it kind of was broken up with the workshops

And so there was enough time to to have a break. Um, there was enough opportunity to kind of network a little bit together. You had the the chat function open so people could kind of, um, chime in and, um, share things

So that was that was really lovely. So, um, and I know it can be really difficult to have, like, that feeling of participation or, um, or fashion networking, where you get to kind of wander around a room and and meet lots of people. So I know it can be really difficult at the moment with the APP, but no, it, um it it felt open enough and and, um, helpful enough to me

Oh, good. That's good to hear. Um, I suppose just before we finish there anything else you'd like to add? It's fine to say no if there isn't it

Oh, yeah, just that. Thank you for putting it on. Um, honestly, it it's someone who was just learning about it

And I've said that a few times, but it honestly, just there's a serendipitous kind of, um, timing that I came across it and, um, yeah, I could just fast track my learning, so Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, great

Thank you very much. I'll just stop recording.

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