In early 2022, to support and prepare co-researchers for the co-design activities to come later, two sets of four co-design workshops were held at a makerspace; ‘The Factory’, facilitated by our partner KWMC. Many co-researchers have said this was the part of the whole project they most enjoyed and that there was a strong sense of possibility and excitement. The workshops were led with great care – for example, by establishing a consensual ‘contract of care’ at the start which laid out shared values, then allowing time and space for everyone to move at their own pace. A co-researcher, Erica Harrison, said it was: “very laid back, very user friendly for anybody and everybody …you know an inclusive thing. And I found that really nice and relaxing – everyone was friendly, there was no uppities or anything, no matter who you were.” This is a short film made at the final workshop that highlights co-researchers’ thoughts and feelings about the sessions. They underline the importance of the environment: the space or ‘site’ within which real co-design can happen. The relationship between care and successful co-design with older minoritised participants has underpinned all aspects of CTC. Stakeholders from both creative and community sectors have talked about how influential the experience of co-designing in a ‘care-full’ way has been on their own practice. Annie Lywood, designer/maker, said, “it’s allowed us to have enough time to make some mistakes, to get to know people, to build confidence across the group. I think all those things are important to make this successful.” Additionally, seeing how transformative this process has been for participants’ wellbeing, one partner has expressed how they will now approach funding bids to include enough the resources necessary for this approach. Gabrielle Lobb from Wellspring said: “We, as an organisation, are trying in different ways all the time to shift the conversation and one of the things is around funding… seeing when there’s space around a project, seeing how that allows people to sink into the process, allows for there to be proper reflection, definitely helps us to come more strongly to those conversations…” The project team has written a paper on co-design sites which has been accepted by the Journal of Responsible Innovation.
To view the KWMC workshop film in full please click here.