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Racism within co-production: exploring ways we can be an anti-racism co-production community

October 31, 2023

As Black History Month ends, we'd like to share information about a new project that we are launching with People’s Voice Media.

From our work in co-production and research, we know racism exists. We also know that many co-production and research spaces, plus organisations working in them, are predominantly white. Given this, we are undertaking work that gives a platform to people involved in co-production from communities with lived experience of racism, and/or who are from a racialised community because we want to take action.

In the pilot phase, we will gather stories and work with these (and the storytellers) to explore how co-production can be actively anti-racist and racially just. We are committed to using the learning from this work in our practice and to influence the work of others. We are open to challenges on how we are doing this and will change how we work based on feedback and dialogue. This is a pilot project, and we seek to bring in further resources to expand the work and include more voices in the future.

What kind of experiences would we like to hear about and who from?

We are inviting people from racialised communities and or people who are particularly underrepresented in our work to share their stories about racism or exclusion and how this affects co-production. We hope to have 12 stories that will strengthen our knowledge of people’s lived experience of racism, particularly in relation to co-production, because we want to ensure that diverse voices are present within our (and other) co-production communities.

  • We are open to hearing all kinds of experiences. If you want to share experiences of racism and challenging stories, we are listening.
  • If you have positive experiences to share, we want to know about these too.
  • We don't want to be prescriptive, we want you to know we are here to listen to any experiences that you bring.

The experiences you share are entirely in your control. We are interested in listening to people from any racialised community, and or people who are particularly underrepresented in our work and whose experiences we don’t often hear. These include but are not limited to:

  • Disabled and Deaf people who are from a racialised community
  • Asian people
  • Black people
  • People from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community (specifically Romani Gypsy)
  • Autistic people who are from a racialised community
  • Jewish people

This is not an exhaustive list, we recognise that we might have omitted some communities. If you are not listed above and have a story about racism or exclusion that you have experienced in a co-production space we are still very interested in hearing from you, please do get in touch.

About People’s Voice Media and Community Reporting

People’s Voice Media has a video explaining their vision and their work. You can see examples of community reporting that they have already done by watching this video. They’ve worked very successfully with local organisations, such as Camden Disability Action and Well Doncaster, Additionally, they have engaged with national organisations across the UK, like the Care Quality Commission and NHS Charities Together.

Community Reporting has three aspects: story gathering, story curation and story mobilisation. It is based on the Cynefin decision-making framework for complex environments (David Snowden, 1999). With community reporting, the belief is that telling authentic stories about your own lived or living experience offers other people a unique and valuable understanding of your life, because you are the best person to describe your own realities. This gives you opportunities to challenge other people’s perceptions and be a catalyst for change.

How to get involved

If you would like to be involved with this project, your time commitment will be a 1-2-1 conversation on a Zoom call (online), for 1-hour maximum, when we will talk about your experience of racism. We are particularly keen to hear from people who can share their lived and living experiences of:

  • Systemic racism
  • The lack of diversity that may inhibit discussing racism
  • Creating safe spaces to discuss racism

We will also be inviting people who share their stories with us to attend a sense-making workshop online. This will mean we can work together to understand the key messages and themes from your stories.

We are fully committed to a peer-to-peer approach, meaning the online conversation will be with someone who also has lived experience of racism and co-production. We know this work will be hard and will strive to make it as secure as possible for people to support people’s wellness when they contribute, such as:

  • Debriefs and check-ins with people
  • Enabling people to share experiences on their own terms and at their own pace

As a value-based organisation, we recognise that different people may have different barriers to participating. If you have any access needs, please do let us know as we will accommodate these within this project.

Additionally, as a small token of our appreciation, we will offer £25 remuneration for people's time. We're conscious that how this remuneration can be paid will need to be done on a person-to-person basis to make this process accessible. We will do this by having a conversation and working out the best way to remunerate people on an individual basis.

Please get in touch by 17:00 (UK time) on Friday 17 November if you're interested in taking part by emailing and let us know if there are dates and times that would work for you, so we can set up a Zoom call.

If you have any questions please contact us via email on so we can organise a time to chat or if you prefer so we can respond by email. If you would prefer to talk to People’s Voice Media about this work this is also fine, just let us know and we can direct you to them.

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