As part of the Creative Councils programme Involve and NESTA hosted a series of free webinars on community engagement and related issues. Many of the Creative Councils projects are trying to connect Councils with the communities they serve in new and interesting ways.
Each session included a presentation by an expert in the field, with opportunities for participants to ask questions and make comments.
Below you will find a short summary and recordings of each of the webinars:
Session 1. Where next for community engagement? – 17th February
Edward Andersson, Deputy Director of Involve, reflected on where engagement is heading in a time of Localism and Austerity, looked at creative methods of engagement and gave advice on when and how they should be used.
Session 2. Positively deviant – 2nd March
Jane Lewis, from Woodward Lewis and Susan Ritchie, an Involve associate and director of Mutual Gain, gave an introduction to a problem solving approach within communities called Positive Deviance. This method is based on the observation that through their uncommon (or deviant) behaviour some individuals and groups within communities develop better solutions to problems than others. It is being used across the UK and has delivered some astounding results in the form of reduced crime, improved health outcomes and much more.
Session 3. Elected representatives and community engagement – 16th March
Mary Reid, a former (and undefeated) councillor, mayor and cabinet member in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames spoke about elected representatives and community engagement. During the session, Mary discussed the motivations of councillors and why it’s in their interests to engage with residents, provided some examples of structures and strategies that support public engagement, and spoke about her experiences of community engagement as an elected representative.
Session 4. Making the case – 30th March
Edward Andersson, Deputy Director of Involve, explored how to make a compelling business case for community, stakeholder and public engagement. The session covered theory and practice of articulating the costs and benefits of engagement to internal and external audiences.
Session 5. Organising People for Power – a webinar introducing community organising – 27th April
In this webinar, Mark Parker explored what modern broad-based organising looks like in practice, where it has come from and how organising can contribute to reviving grassroots democracy. Mark is a community organiser working in Southwark in South London, part of the four-year programme of training in organising delivered by Locality and partners across England.