Whichever method you choose for your stakeholders, celebrating your success, advocating for inspiring practice, sharing your challenges, and how you may (or indeed may not) have overcome them, is an important responsibility of running any programme of work.
Your community partners may wish to have their achievements or challenges credited or highlighted in your dissemination. Recognition is an important part of the control of the research. But in naming organisations, does this have any implications for the anonymity of your data subjects? This is a discussion to have with your partner to allow for suitable credits and recognition, while respecting privacy of data.
Stories of change
Particularly important in complex or innovative programmes, look for narratives (a beginning, middle and end) to celebrate your successes, learning and the change that has resulted from your project or programme. They are often used in development interventions – to combine with or supplement quantitative indicators of success – to build up a richer picture and communicate changes in knowledge, behaviours, attitudes and practice that cannot easily be captured in quantitative metrics.
Stories of change are powerful, not just for us to explore the change that has occurred, but also to demonstrate and share learning more widely. Stories of change can bring the project to life for external audiences as they may be more able to identify with the results of the programme through the use of real-life examples. It can equip you with something accessible to convey the value of the programme and provides funders with a tool to communicate the value of the work they are funding to a wider audience.
Crucially, don’t forget to share the bits that didn’t go well! There are many barriers to sharing mistakes, but inclusive science engagement is inherently a messy-science. It is values-led, takes time and requires relationships, understanding, problem solving, training, professional development and reflective practice. Speed bumps and potholes should be an expectation of the journey.
You don’t need to produce an open report or website, but consider using different forums (such as creating a ‘safe space’ conference workshop environment) to share your successes and your challenges. It is also far easier to learn from others’ mistakes than from a seemingly perfect and inspirational project report. With that in mind, ASDC is always open to share what went well – and what really could have gone better – during Explore Your Universe.
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