Who is not in the room?

Who is not in the room?

This conversation emerged in part from the Smart Cities one, and the stream that was interested in the initial design of research being informed by local communities, as early as possible in the process.

This conversation ranged widely and made the point that if you want to reach the kind of people who don’t usually come to these kinds of things, then don’t put on another of These Kinds Of Things especially for them. Be creative. Piggyback onto something that is already happening, in places like East Park events like The Big Malarkey, or smaller free events near people’s homes. Bug people in queues. Be creative about how to reach people with mental health issues or mental disabilities. Decide who it is that you want to speak to and reach them through a gatekeeper. Recognise that there are other rings of people outside those know to your gatekeepers – social media can be away to get beyond the initial coterie.

The point was made that what designers of research programmes are looking for is a different perspective – not just a new or good idea from inside their own professional and lived experience – but information from outside that experience. So rather than asking why people are readmitted to hospital, what they might really need to be asking is “what happens when you get home?”. These shifts of emphasis can be crucial. What would you ask people in Bransholme in your shipping container, for example? Not big, open questions. Specific, something meaningful, for example, about the lived experience of a cancer diagnosis, such as how to you travel to and from your treatment, what is that like? If you have to attend an appointment Castle Hill, and it’s 2 buses, in winter, and the appointment is scheduled for 8 am…


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