About our last Network Gathering: a round-up

This is a round-up of the second Co-Creating Change network gathering at Leeds Town Hall on 2nd May.

If you were there – we hope you enjoyed it! If you weren’t there – we hope this is a useful way of sharing some of the day with you while we get ready for the third national gathering.


Welcome speech

You can read Liz Moreton’s opening speech from the day here. Liz gave a bit more context on how the Co-Creating Change network has come into being, why it’s happening now, and what its aims are.

Keynote speeches: Marcus Faustini and Alan Lane

We heard from two brilliantly inspiring case studies on the day: Marcus Faustini from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and Alan Lane from Slung Low in Leeds.

We have videos of both speeches if you would like to watch them.


Marcus Faustini: Agency, politics, young people and co-creation in Rio, Brazil


Faustini talked about projects in Rio, Brazil, that co-create with young people living in favelas – including Agência de Redes Para a Juventude, which also runs in the UK as The Agency, and political conversation project Todo Jovem É Rio.

You can find out more about Faustini’s work at, and watch the full video that he shows here.

You can read his 9 dangerous ideas for co-creation here. (An updated, slightly simpler translation of this document is also currently being finalised, which we will share with you when we have it – but this is the version we read at the meeting.)



Alan Lane: The Holbeck and Slung Low’s Cultural Community College, Leeds


Alan spoke about Slung Low’s experience newly running the oldest working men’s club in Britain, The Holbeck in Leeds, and starting up a Pay What You Can community college – and what’s gone wrong as well as what’s gone right.




Notes from afternoon sessions: Code of Ethics, Social Class & Inclusion, and Learning Support

You can read the notes from three of the afternoon discussion sessions here:


Code of Ethics discussion led by Kerry Morrison, In-Situ

 As practitioners, creative producers and organisations working with and within communities and working with people, where do we stand when it comes to ethics: Human and Environmental?


Is there a need to engage with, and understand, ethics as a code of practice within co-creation? Should we be working towards an agreed ethical framework within our sector? There are numerous ethical considerations to debate within our field of practice and our profession, so, let’s talk about ethics… 

Read full notes here. Following these conversations, Kerry will continue with the development of an ethical framework tool for Co-Creating Change.


Class & Social Inclusion discussion led by Kenn Taylor, Artlink Hull, and Rhiannon White, Common Wealth

Class affects us all. Its the lens that people view you through. But why does it matter what class you are? Walls & barriers – the lifestyles we lead – actually we don’t even know the class system. Its too hard to explain. It’s not just about the crisps you choose to eat, or the shops you shop at. 

The barriers come from ourselves from humans. Its about access to opportunities. the working class are given less opportunities. Education & confidence. By virtue my education let me into other cultures and rooms like this. I soon realised that those structures in the arts are being controlled by people who don’t like people like me. 

I want to wear a badge to tell people where I’m from. People make assumptions. We have to find those things we have in common – common ground. Language is powerful. We have to look at language and what it means to use words. From the words we choose to use and the words we use about working class communities. What we say about people and where they live can have deep long-lasting affects. 

Co-creation is about taking apart the hierarchies, the invisible barriers. Sometime co-creation is about handing over everything. 

Read full notes here.


Learning Support workshop led by Susanne Burns and Tamsin Cox, Co-Creating Change project evaluators

Key areas identified for learning support in these discussion workshops included:

  • The language we use and its relationship to power:
  • Getting voices heard outside the sector – advocacy for the work that raises its status and profile, generates awareness with funders, validates the practice and is understood by everyone;
  • A truly inclusive network where community producers feel comfortable at the network meetings;
  • System change – new business models, new funding models and structures;
  • A collective voice that goes beyond organisational egos.

Read full notes here. We’ll obviously also keep everyone updated with the development of learning support as part of Co-Creating Change.


The poem we co-created

The poet Potent Whisper was with us all day on 2nd May. He performed two of his existing poems – but he also led a process to co-create a poem with everyone in the room to sum up the day. The poem below is based on people’s answers to the questions What is your purpose today? and What is the change you want to make?, as well as taking inspiration from the other speeches and conversations on the day.

From Brazil to Leeds, together we’re un-tameable
Power can’t buy what we create
They can’t hold our reins at all
Trust me we can change it all
Nothing’s unattainable
Just remember love’s what keeps our energy sustainable


On the road to co-creation
Surrounded by motivation
We build beyond their borders, shouting “no love for a nation”


Building global factions
Thinking big, with local actions
Working as a family until we’re gaining traction


To provide a platform, nurture and support them
Pass them the mic, watch them shine and applaud them
But whatever we do, we’ve always got to act with caution
To make sure we’re always acting
with them, not for them!


Whether you’re on screen, on road or in the theatre
Whether you’re in drag, jeans that sag or in a leotard
You’re artists, creators, both younger and senior
You are the ones that you’ve been waiting for
Fam, you really are.


– Potent Whisper
& the attendees of Co-Creating Change network gathering, 2nd May 2019

You can also download the poem here.


Co-Creating Change project update

Liz and Maddie gave a quick rundown of Co-Creating Change programme strands that are currently in full swing or are upcoming:

  • Co-Creating Change has now appointed its project evaluators – Susanne Burns and Tamsin Cox. Susanne and Tamsin are interested in talking less about evaluation – with its connotations of monitoring and box-ticking – and more about learning support. There is an enquiry at the heart of Co-Creating Change, and the role of learning support on this project is to define that enquiry, and provide tools and methodologies for us to investigate it together in a way that will benefit our practice and the world around us. Susanne and Tamsin ran a session on 2nd May to begin the process of defining the parameters of this enquiry (notes from which appear above).


  • Network members Poet in the City have been working on a plan for local Co-Creating Change meetups. While we host two nationwide network gatherings every year, there is an idea that more regular and accessible gatherings for members in smaller groups would also be beneficial. Poet in the City have begun developing a framework for this and we will share more details of this plan soon.


  • Money is available for other training and workshops led by members for members. If there is a strand or idea that you think it would be useful to push forward in Co-Creating Change, and you want some budget to make it happen – let us know.


  • Also in the planning stages at the moment are learning conversations, which will gather together practitioners with experience in co-creation to draw on their expertise, and the marketplace of ideas, a showcase of co-creation methodologies ready to be adapted and adopted elsewhere.


Photos and livescribed drawings

You can see a collection of photos of the day here.

We also had a brilliant livescriber called Tom Bailey taking visual illustrative notes on the day – some of which you will already have seen in this email. You can see all of his drawings from the day here, capturing some of the key themes that came out in the conversations and presentations.