What is Co-Creating Change?

Co-Creating Change is a network and programme which explores the role which artists, cultural organisations and communities can play to co-create change together around the UK and beyond.

What does co-creation mean?

We know that co-creation means different things to different people in different settings. The working definition we are currently using (which we fully expect to change) is, for now, as follows:

Co-creation is a co-operative process in which people with diverse experiences, skills and knowledge come together and work in non-hierarchical ways to address a common issue, and which enables people and communities to be actively involved in shaping the things which impact their lives. It shifts power, resource and ownership towards the people the work is intended to benefit, as opposed to the traditional ‘top down’ approach. It encourages every individual to activate their creative potential and realise their own ability to make change.

Our principles
  1. Time: Our work takes time. It takes time to build trusting relationships and find common purpose. This work can’t be rushed.
  2. Care: Our work is based on human relationships, and often takes place in complex settings, with people facing multiple challenges, and usually with limited resources. Care for each other, ourselves and the process are paramount.
  3. Trust: Honesty is key for us building trusting relationships in which we can learn, share and grow together. Within the environments we create, everyone involved should feel listened to and heard, and comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas.
  4. Respect: We respect the difference of experiences, knowledge and opinions of everyone in the room equally.
  5. Process: Our work focusses on the process of co-creation. This is not to say the product (when there is one) that a co-created process leads to is not often of equal importance. But our primary focus is on the process of co-creation and the impacts this process has on the people involved, as well as the resulting products made.
  6. Risk: We celebrate risk and failure. Sharing our failures and what hasn’t worked is the best way for us to learn more about our own work and to help others to learn as well.
  7. Reflection: We work iteratively, incorporating critical thinking and reflection into our practice, and making sure to continually capture and evaluate what we are doing. We test ideas, share our process with others and encourage dialogue and feedback. This open way of working improves our own work as well as that of others. We recognise the importance of reflection time so we can constantly learn and improve what we do.

  8. Generosity: Openness and generosity with others is key to our work. There is a strong desire from the network to find common purpose and to be part of a wider movement in which we are all learning and progressing together.


Overall aim of Co-Creating Change

To work together to advocate for a better understanding and appreciation of co-created practice both in the arts sector and beyond.

  1. Develop a more collegiate and skilled sector by supporting the network to come together and share skills and knowledge
  2. Develop co-created practice by commissioning the development of new or existing co-created methodologies
  3. Better share, grow and spread methodologies by supporting a number of the commissions to “tour” nationally and/or internationally with multiple partners
  4. Develop the market for co-created practice by hosting an annual international marketplace event
  5. To work with funders, critics and policy makers to develop the conditions within which this work will flourish

Programme Activity
  • Network gatherings – twice yearly for all members
  • Professional development sessions led by members for members
  • Online space to share conversations and resources
  • Commissions – to develop and grow methodologies for co-creation
  • Annual marketplace of co-created practice
  • Advocacy meetings – for funders to listen and learn from the network