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UCL Public Engagement Blog



Working towards a more inclusive Co-Production Collective

By Niccola, on 15 February 2021

Niccola takes a look back to June 2020 and the blog she and Cristina wrote highlighting the lack of diversity in academia and concerns about our co-production community becoming less diverse.

Ensuring we are as inclusive as possible has always been central to the work of Co-Production Collective – it’s one of our four core values.

A white wall with multi colours splashed on it and the word 'TOGETHER' in white

Multi colour paint splashes and the word ‘TOGETHER’. Photo credit: Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Cristina and I wrote a blog back in June 2020 (It’s not enough to say black lives matter: time for academia to show it) highlighting the lack of diversity in academia and our own concerns about our co-production community becoming less diverse as we moved online. In the blog we mentioned that:

“Our move to virtual sessions has led to a decrease in the diversity of the groups, specifically in relation to participation of those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. There may well be factors outside of our control that have influenced this, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to try and turn it around, and now.”

In June we committed to checking back to see whether we’d made progress six months on. So here we are now, checking in.

Since June we have been focussing on developing relationships and engaging with individuals, groups and organisations who don’t normally engage with research. We’ve reconnected with some of those people who were part of our work awhile ago but that we hadn’t spoken to recently. Also, we reached out to lots of others not yet involved in the Collective.

The good news is according to the numbers we have made progress – we’ve had more co-producers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds join us. However, in the distanced world we currently live in, getting this data in the first place has been pretty patchy. It’s important for us to be transparent – the response rate to our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion surveys was less than half of attendees for every single session, with some barely above 25%. As such, the numbers we have really aren’t reliable enough for us to feel confident that we have made the progress we might have hoped for.

As we made clear last year, how we gather information about who is in the room (an anonymous survey which asks about different aspects of our attendees’ identities) needs adapting. When we ran face-to-face sessions, nearly everyone filled this in. But sending a link to an online survey hasn’t worked so well. It is important that we can challenge ourselves to do better. So, as you can read about in the ‘What’s next for Co-Production Collective?’ blog, we are keen, with your help, to develop alternative methods to gather info about who is in the room. This is just one of the things we want to focus on in 2021.

What else does the Collective have planned?

Now we have officially launched as Co-Production Collective, the co-created ambitions in ‘Our Direction 2020-2022’ are waiting to be tackled! As such, we have lots of co-creation sessions planned as well as some Co-Pro Cuppas and Co-production Get Togethers (formerly known as Co-production Network sessions) – to find out more and register to attend, have a read of the ‘What’s next for Co-Production Collective?’ blog.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions at all.

Thank you, hopefully see you at a session soon!


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