Selva discusses her experience of the 2021 ICR Conference.

Oh, here we go. So again, thank you for taking part in this. So you attended the IC. R conference back in June

Um, as you said, you didn't attend the whole thing. You did. I remember you being at the live streams because I remember your name popping up in the chat a few times

And, um, as you said, I don't think you attended all the workshops and everything, but really, I was just wondering, sort of in general, Was there any sort of one thing you took away from the day that you you felt was sort of stuck in your mind or you felt you could carry on with you? Was there any sort of one any sort of points or any more than one, if you like, um, points about the day that you felt resonated. Yeah. So, I mean, I am someone with lived experience

So of course it's, uh as soon as I saw it, I thought, No, I need to go to this, Um, because the the work that I'm actually involved in is all to do with lived experience. So we we know how important lived experience is, so that that That's the the reason I I came along and you know it it that there has to be a future for for lived experience because, um, you know, if we if we want to try to improve things like the services, um, making things more person centred rather than just statistics that, you know, and tick boxes that need to be filled and people need to start listening to what? What people actually need what people want, Um, and not sort of being told what what they're having. Um, so it's really important that people like yourselves are getting that message out there

Um and and of course, that's that's what resonated with me, because it it's nice to know that you we're not trying to do this sort of right on our own. And and and other people like yourselves have have realised how important, um, things like lived experience can be, Yeah. I mean, I think one of the things that we talked about on the day that came up quite a lot, um, was that lived experience? Storytelling has become a bit of a buzzword for some organisations

Um, I think in services that you know Oh, we must have it, and it can feel like a bit of a tag on like we're doing this project. So we'll get some lived experience storytelling around the theme or whatever. Um, and one of the things that came up about that was that with that, they're losing kind of the importance of make of actually treating the storytellers as humans

The storytellers are often getting treated like a bit of a commodity. They're there to provide their story and then off the pop. And I remember words

I know the words that struck me and that were things like he needs to be made comfortable. He needs to be made safe. Um, we need to be careful about not re traumatising people where we're where the lived experience is linked to trauma

Um, and we need to respect the storytellers because without the storyteller, there is no lived experience, storytelling. And I think, um, one of the things that we the like of came out of the conference was that was something a lot of people were very concerned about. And I was wondering, was that something that had struck you either before the conference or after the conference or yeah, def

Definitely. Um, you're quite right. It is

It is one of those buzz buzz words at the moment, and it and and it sort of feels like it can lose its importance. Um, again, it sort of feels like it's it's more of a tick box exercise. Um, just so that they they can say, Well, we've done it

Um, you know, this is this is this is what we've done. Look what we We've been inclusive, blah, blah, blah. But actually, it's what they do with it afterwards, you know? Are they actually going to use that evidence and and will anything come of it otherwise again? Yeah, it's just a tick box

Um, and and also, yeah, treating people like humans who have feelings who have gone through these awful experiences. Um, and actually, one thing we've noticed is quite often, people with lived experience will give their time for free, which is fine, you know, up to a point. But quite often, you know, if if it was a a, they were consulting somebody else, they would quite often get paid for it and and quite handsomely as well

And not that you know, as someone with lived experience, I don't really expect to get paid. Um, and if I don't really expect anything, But I think from the the people who are asking for for us to come and talk, it might be nice, certainly for maybe some other people, um, that they get maybe something even if it's a voucher or just just something to say thank you for your time. We realise that for some people talking about what they've gone through is extremely difficult for them and maybe to say, you know, if if if anything has been triggered, is there anything we can do for you afterwards? Maybe they get to see somebody professional? Um um, yes

So I think I think it is very important to remember that you know, they're giving up their time to tell stories that can really affect them and that they should be respected for that because it can be really difficult. I mean, I I've heard stories of lived experience storytelling sessions where they don't even so much as offer the storytellers some tea and coffee when they're there. And it's, you know, as you say, not everyone expects or even wants to be paid for their time for that

But just to be offered a drink, you know, and biscuit and a comfortable place to sit while you're doing this is, um you know, the very least you can be doing, I think, and to not even sort of budget for that in your project to say right, we need to be getting people a cup of while they do. This is just really disrespectful. And it's, um yeah, it was one of the interesting things I I I know I found came out of It was just how little people seem to value in some instances stories and the storytellers

And it's become a tick box. So I'm I'm glad that's something that resonated with other people as well. Yeah, yeah, it's something we've definitely experienced that it really is

For some services and and other organisations. It's really just a tick box. Mhm

And I suppose just finally, before we wrap up, um, as I say, I don't want to take up too much of your your day. I know you're tied to some holidays now. Um, is it, um is there any other feedback you had on the day, whether it's about the content or the format

I mean, I know we were. We were online. We hope not to be

But as it turned out, we were. And we try to be as creative as we could within the constraints of that. But it's obviously, we know online isn't the best way for everybody

So, yeah, I mean, you know, uh, Zoom has its pros and cons it it depends on the type of person you are. So, for myself, I'm quite introverted. So actually, I prefer Zoom

Um, but I do know a lot of people like face to face. Um, it's definitely more personal field, but I I mean, I've done, I've I've attended some of the people's voice media stuff in the past. You've certainly done your best in what's been really hard circumstances

Um, you know, you you're getting the message out there. You you know, you're you're you're talking about things that are quite quite difficult but need to be heard. So I, for one, appreciate that kind of thing because a lot of people sort of, you know, they don't want to talk about things that are difficult, but it needs to be done

Other people need to know that they're not alone. And that's how I see it. They're not alone

There are others out there who have gone through things that they've gone through and and that there are people out there who understand as well. So for me No, it was It was It was It had a bit of everything, didn't it? So, you know, you had the live streams, you had the workshops, and I think it was really well done. Um and and I'm quite happy to take part in anything that you do in the future

Um, and and just keep up the really good work. Thank you so much. I'm gonna stop recording


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