Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Is co-production really working for people who do not have power?

By Philipa Bragman – CEO of CHANGE (Human rights organisation led by Disabled People, employing people with learning disabilities to co-work for the rights of all people with learning disabilities.)

The concept behind co-production is well thought out and a great idea however more and more people are asking and talking about the gap between the reality and the rhetoric of coproduction. 

In the conversations that we have up and down the country a key question that springs to mind is, who is coproduction working for?

Is co-production another way of saying that ‘we are participating in engagement’ which loosely describes having the person affected by the decisions that are being made, in the room.

What is missing and how can we make the thought and consideration that goes into developing the idea of coproduction into a reality.

At CHANGE we have been working and learning about coproduction for the past 23 years, our mistakes have been many and our lessons huge.

A key lesson for us has been that when people say: "You are leaving us out,"  it shows us that we have created enough spaces for people with learning disabilities to be included so that they can understand and articulate what not being included actually means.

CHANGE works globally and our work has recently taken us into the realms of Deep Democracy, which we believe could be the gap that is missing in this country and is the precursor to coproduction.  

We recently facilitated a three-day workshop in Nicaragua in which policy makers, politicians, Disabled and community leaders, people with learning disabilities and carers met. 

Using the ideas of Deep Democracy and Theatre of the Oppressed, we supported a process that ended with a shared agreement between everyone present in the workshop, to introduce  and develop easy read, increase employment  opportunities in key services for disabled people, and support for the development of self-advocacy in Nicaragua.

Deep Democracy is about creating a space where rank and power are owned, recognized and spoken about and the people who are marginalized have space and a voice to really share their experiences of what it means to be marginalized and to talk about things they  may not have spoken of before. 

We need to work together to recognize our shared humanity.

We would love to work with and support organisations in this country to be able to have the conversations that might be necessary before we can truly begin to work in a co-productive way.

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