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Thinking Outside the (Tick)box

9 November 2022

We were delighted at how our conference Thinking Outside the (Tick)box went last week – the UK’s first user-led Inclusive Involvement conference. Shaping Our Lives has a very small team of staff and associates, so the day wouldn’t have been possible without lots of hard work from them, plus the invaluable help from volunteers and our National User Group members on the day.

Of course, we had some hitches, what hybrid conference doesn’t? But we were thrilled by the positive, welcoming, insightful and inspiring atmosphere and enlightening discussions and talks we had.

We were extremely grateful for the speakers who came on the day (some of whom we can’t name as they wish to remain anonymous):

Deenah from Hidayah LGBT
Dominic Watters
Sheldon from the Showmen’s Mental Health Charity
Sukhjeen from Chronically Brown
Deirdre from Zebra Access
Sarah O’Brien

We will be sharing outcomes from the conference soon, but here are a few snippets:

“Autistic people have and continue to experience institutionalisation, abuse in services, poor treatment and staff who do not understand our access needs, which often just boil down to basic decency.”

“We find out that we open a barrier and then it gets closed again, we have to remind people that we are still here, we face those barriers every single day.”

“Living experience is a development from lived experience – it is to highlight that inequalities and discriminations aren’t in the past, people are tackling them right now and there needs to be an urgency and represent the tensions that there are with these inequalities.”

“I know it’s an old cliché but working together is more powerful. If you’re working individually one by one information gets lost, but if you’re working together, campaigning together, it’s a stronger voice. If we work together we can all achieve together on an equal basis.”

“Building that trust in different ways was really important. Language and words – thinking what’s contextual for other people’s experiences is really important but not valuing one experience over another. To each individual person they each have their own lived experience, it’s distressing in their own way and it’s important to honour that. Honesty and transparency are vital.”

“It stands out when there is a service professional who wants to hear your views and wants to act on them. Rather than just ticking the box and saying “we’ve heard the view of a carer / patient.””

“One of the messages is to make people feel their views and their experiences are important to us. To say we want to learn from you.”

Stay tuned to our blog, our social media and our newsletter to get news and outcomes from the conference