A group of people co-creating at one of our events!

What is a Co-creation Session Like?

This blog has been written by Centre Co-producers Lizzie Cain and Susan Anderson to share more about what co-creation sessions are like with the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research.

We’ve been developing the Centre during what we call our co-creation sessions for a while now, in fact since late 2017, and we would love for you to come join in! Everyone is welcome. We are always trying to put our principles to live by into action. This means that as we dream up the future for the Centre together, people with all sorts of perspectives are joining in! We want as many voices involved as possible because together we can do so much more than we can alone. Here’s how it works.

What happens in a co-creation session?

First we get to know each other a bit! For us as a Centre, this is about who you are as a person and what you’re interested in. Everyone’s voice is equally important, so no job titles please! Before we get started, someone will share a bit about where we’ve got to in previous sessions and explain the planned goals for the session so everyone is on the same page (although this often varies as things always take exciting and unexpected turns!). For most of the time we’ll work together creatively – Play-Doh is sometimes involved. 🙂 Each session has different goals, but they’re all related to planning the Centre’s work, learning about co-production, and learning from each other. We’ll usually get together for a few hours, so we’ll make sure to take a break (for a brew n’ a snack!). After each co-creation session, the team coordinating the Centre development works to continue moving the Centre forwards based on the decisions we made collectively.

To hear more about some of our past events, check out Laura’s blog or Mandy and Susan ’s blog.

A photo from our last co-creation session – a table covered in Lego, and a Play-Doh Lego sculpture of a question mark and squiggly lines pointing outwards that says – “Radiating Questions”.

A photo from our last co-creation session – a table covered in Lego, and a Play-Doh Lego sculpture of a question mark and squiggly lines pointing outwards that says – “Radiating Questions”.

Who comes to co-creation sessions?

Anyone who is curious about co-production and the Centre is welcome to attend! If this sounds like what you’re up for you’re welcome, there is no experience required. Please come along! We’ll be there (Lizzie and Susan) alongside some representatives from pilot projects we’re funding and a varied mix of collaborators – patients, carers, researchers, students, and community members. Each event has about 30 people – some brand new to the Centre, and some who have been involved for a while.

Will the event be accessible?

Accessibility is very important to us. Each event will be held in an accessible space with an accessible toilet. Before the event, we’ll ask you about anything else we can do to accommodate your needs, so please let us know!

What can I expect from the next co-creation session?

Our next co-creation session is on Thursday 26 September 13:30-16:30 (King’s Cross area). Lizzie will help us take the next steps together to:

  • Think about the big picture for the Centre and how we might start to evaluate it as a whole
  • Reflect on the Centre’s aims – what would it actually look like if we achieved them?
  • Consider what evidence we’ll want to collect to understand our progress – and we mean evidence in the broadest sense! This could be numbers, how people feel, or even Play-Doh (we do love Play-Doh!).
  • Understand what difference the Centre is making for individuals, organisations, and wider research and health practice.

Thinking about evaluation and what success might look like as we plan the Centre’s work is important so we can make sure we’re reflecting on what we’re doing, improving as we go and helping us build on our understanding of co-production in practice. We can then share our experiences and the learning we develop to help others explore the potential of co-production in research, health practice, and beyond.

How do I sign up?

Please email me – Susan coproduction@ucl.ac.uk if you’d like to come along. We’re excited to have you on board! I’ll let you know if there’s still space, and can share more information about the Centre and other opportunities to get involved.

If you’d like to keep hearing about what we’re up to and what we’re learning at the UCL Centre for Co-production in Health Research, sign up for our newsletter, email Susan coproduction@ucl.ac.uk or tweet @UCL_CoPro.

If you would prefer to look at this offline, here is a downloadable version of the blogs in our September 2019 update.