Our multiple identities
Just about all of us Boingboingers have faced different forms of adversity throughout our lives. This includes everyone, from our young (and older) volunteers, practice staff and academics. Some of us still face enormous disadvantage day to day, despite the external support we have to draw on. Our individual and collective resilience waxes and wanes, even on a daily basis. Despite this, we pull together to support each other and to use our lived experience as a strength in all of our work.
Examples of the range of adversity that different Boingboingers have faced, or continue to face include: hidden and visible disabilities, being born into an unstable home, coming from an ethnic minority, being a member of the LGBTQIA community, having learning difficulties, growing up in rural poverty, being the parent of children with complex needs or supporting close friends or family with mental health issues, our own physical or mental health difficulties including experience of self-harm, and having to emigrate and acclimatise to a new culture. Some of us have been luckier than others. We have the odd academic (and he certainly is a bit eccentric) who was brought up with major privileges but we don’t hold it against him. Just down the road from him another of our academic members grew up in poverty and faced major inequalities as a child and young adult.
Despite the problems we deal with, we try not let our lives and histories hold us back. We try not to define ourselves solely through our adversity and think ‘woe is me’. Instead, we have many identities from which we draw strength, alongside our lived experience. We are experienced in a range of areas. For some of us our main expertise is quite conventional; it comes from being an academic. For others of us, our lived experience of complex circumstances is the expertise that we bring. Still others are practitioners, community-based researchers and/or parents/carers for someone who is really struggling in life.
Boingboing is constructed this way partly because we have an ethos of promoting progression amongst people with adversities who get involved with us. Also, because our ethos is attractive to people who have experienced disadvantage, they want to come and work or volunteer with us in order to contribute positively to others in similar circumstances.
Our multiple identities and combined experience of adversity help us to work co-productively alongside people from marginalised groups. Together we develop ways of supporting people’s resilience and incorporating insight from lived experience into our research. Our quirky, collective identity gives us the passion to continuously challenge real-world inequality through our social justice approach, all the while trying to maintain academic rigour. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk but we feel it’s worth it, to bring our research and practice approach to life.
What does Boingboing do?
Boingboing provides opportunities to learn about resilience. We run regular Resilience Forums, develop Resilience Frameworks, books and other materials, and offer training and talks on resilient approaches to life’s challenges. We are currently involved in several research projects, including some on schools-based or ‘academic’ resilience. Skip right now to the free suite of resources to help schools develop academic resilience which Professor Angie Hart produced with Lisa Williams with input from various other individuals and organisations, especially YoungMinds, Hove Park School and Eleanor Smith School.
While there are loads of academic articles and books on resilience, not enough of them provide practical tips to help children, young people and adults to bounce up against the odds. Working with and alongside children, young people, families and adults exposed to social disadvantage and inequalities is at the heart of our work. As well as working with individuals and groups, we also try to do our bit to tackle unfair practices by governments and other big players. Our work is strongly rooted in a social justice agenda, and we do not believe that resilience promotion should be about maximising the survival of the fittest. That’s why we have been developing approaches, like Resilient Therapy (RT), and the Resilience Framework, for anyone to use.
Boingboing loves collaborating with people to encourage and co-develop resilience research and practice. The majority of our work is with children, young people and families, and those involved in supporting them. However, the more we disseminate our ideas, the more we find adult practitioners wanting information about how to make resilient moves to tackle real life situations too. We are therefore also interested in developing practitioner resilience.
Here’s just some of the inspiring people we work with in the resilience network. You can find out more about them by clicking on their biographies.
Hi, my name is Lindsay Jones and I am 21 years old. I live in a small rural village near Poulton-le- Fylde with my parents and 2 black Labradors, Siena and Storm.
I find the ideas very useful in my family life, especially as I’m the adoptive parent of three gorgeous young people from the care system, all of whom have complex needs, and who are all now young adults.
I have set up, facilitated, delivered and managed different community based projects all of my working life, bringing an eclectic mix of experience to resilience work.
I am a Visiting Researcher at the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice. I am planning to adapt the Resilience Framework and the ARA to work with socially disadvantaged schools in Turkey.
I am a qualified social worker and have previously been a foster carer, held several youth work roles and have managed a countywide Children’s Rights service. Looking forward to playing my part in the Resilience Revolution.
I love the fact that Boingboing is all about resilience. To volunteer with and now work for an organisation that embeds and creates resilience practices as part of its core is fantastic and an amazing opportunity.
I am interested in resilience as concept as I always felt that this was a way to help children and their families that held more promise than more deficit-based approaches.
I have spent the last five and a half years working in mental health and substance misuse. Whilst I remain passionate about these sectors, I feel my new role in BoingBoing will allow me to work alongside my core values – justice, equality and voices being heard.
I became involved with Boingboing through Experience in Mind (an organisation that delivered training and produced resources to raise awareness of mental health issues in young people).
I am specifically interesting in adapting the Resilience framework and some of its practices for use with adults. I have also really valued and used the collaborative approach Boingboing promotes.
I was keen to be a non-executive director since it will give me a better insight into how universities can play a role in working in mutually beneficial ways with this type of organisation, and the social enterprise sector in general, to promote social justice.
I am interested in whether or not teachers are able to use the Resilience Framework to achieve more positive outcomes for children whose predicted life trajectories are poor overall.
I have worked in substance misuse for 18 years and volunteered with Boingboing since 2015. I really enjoy the variety of work. I support Gay and Bisexual men, who are engaging in chemsex, to overcome obstacles in their recovery.
I am a parent of three adopted children with complex needs, and I have seen how the Resilience Framework can be used in practice to help build a person’s resilience.
I’ve been involved in a number of projects, such as presentations about being resilient whilst having a physical disability to a variety of audiences including professionals and trainee social workers.
My increased social and political understanding of resilience led me to the Resilience Framework, to Boingboing, and I am very excited to be joining Blackpool’s Resilience Revolution.
Viktoria Erlacher is a young PhD student at the University of Brighton’s Centre of Resilience for Social Justice and a Boingboing volunteer.
My passion for working at the interface between research and practice has developed through an interdisciplinary background and experiences in various institutions and cultures.
What I like about Boingboing, is the passion for Knowledge Exchange and Social factors. As an expert on Action-Research, I was amazed about the Boingboing approach and how it dovetails an inclusive framework with democratic knowledge.
With a background in the community sector in Canada and New Zealand, my interest is in exploring resilience and peer support across patient populations.
I encountered Boingboing through my community work with young people with mental health issues when we co-created resources such as the Visual Arts Practice for Resilience Guide.
Working with children with special needs motivated and triggered my scientific curiosity to explore resilience, revealing new perspectives and horizons.
I’m a peer youth engagement worker at Boingboing with lived experience of being in care since the age of 13. I am really looking forward to working with others with lived experience in Boingboing, and being able to use my own lived experience to help others
I am currently examining the sustainability and efficacy of the Academic Resilience Approach, focussing on the degree to which it influences secondary school exclusion rates through the lens of mental health.
I am strongly committed to implementing the concept of happiness as part of the curriculum of teacher training in order to promote reflection about one’s own attitudes towards life.
I am a Project Admin apprentice with Boingboing. Having been in the care system, I hold an understanding of some of these barriers through personal experience and observations. With Boingboing’s framework I feel empowered to become part of a ‘resilience revolution’ leading to a better future for the people.
I am a Youth Engagement Worker in Blackpool. I have worked on Blackpool Families Rock, volunteered as a Young Inspector for Blackpool Council and been part of the Care Leavers Forum in Blackpool.
Debbie Hatfield is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Brighton funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Her work includes promoting and developing her PhD findings which looked at patient and public engagement and involvement in commissioning health services.
My particular interest in understanding public policy systems and their organisation, seeing them as complex, unpredictable and challenging systems.
My background in psychology and neuroscience. I really enjoy working in an area that is accessible and has the potential to make a real difference to real people.
I am a qualified early years inspector and I volunteer at Boingboing because I believe in their ethos and want to be part of a wonderful team that promotes resilience amongst people with adversities.
I am currently on a career break and using my time to finish several longstanding projects, as well as volunteering with Boingboing and learning more about resilience.
I am a Parent/Carer Engagement Worker in Blackpool. A father of one, I have a passion for supporting people’s achievements, making a positive difference, and providing help where it is needed most.
Although I am new, I have learned so much and grown as a person. This is thanks to the variety of training, my brilliant colleagues and the vast amount of group work. Thanks to this I have a better understanding of the person I’m going to be.
While writing my PhD dissertation, I will be working as a visiting researcher at the CRSJ and volunteering at Boingboing. I plan to put the Resilience Framework into practice and improve my knowledge and experience.
I like to understand how people come to terms with their life. How do we cope with opportunities, given the knowledge that back-slopes are to be expected?
I am interested in resilience based inclusive work that helps children with special educational needs, social emotional and academic difficulties, and at risk for exclusion.
I am coming to Boingboing with experience from various front line roles in the health and social care sector in Brighton and Hove. I have been a Support Worker for adults with autism, an Advocate for parents with learning disabilities and most recently a Link Worker.
I’m an assistant co-production worker at Boingboing. I recently completed a philosophy PhD, but before that was working as a design sculptor. I’ve done a load of teaching and public engagement activities over the years, and also have a bit of experience in policy research.
I am undertaking a PhD, working with young people with learning disabilities as co-researchers to explore their own experiences of resilience – what is helpful and what is not.
I am a Peer Youth Engagement Worker in Blackpool. I became involved with Boingboing through volunteering for Co-production group. I’m creative, passionate about helping people and am really looking forward to bringing my creativity to my role at Boingboing.
I have a background in both social work and teaching. I began my working life supporting disadvantaged groups or individuals, often using sport and outdoor adventure.
As a psychological therapist I appreciate the importance of working at a social, political and individual level, and my responsibility to challenge the way traditional therapy is delivered.
I have practised as a Social Worker for over 30 years, and have always tried to work resiliently. My areas of expertise are child mental health, child abuse, neglect and fostering.
In my spare time I tour a stand-up comedy show as a fundraiser against NHS privatisation and cycle my bike increasingly slowly over the South Downs.
I’m an autistic researcher at the Centre for Resilience and Social Justice. My PhD looked at communication between autistic and non-autistic people from a linguistics perspective: reframing breakdowns in understanding as a two-way problem.
I am a PhD student at the University of Brighton’s Centre of Resilience for Social Justice looking at what employers can do to promote resilience in ex-offenders in the workplace.
I have been involved in numerous projects with Boingboing over many years and return continually to the Resilience Framework as a sound, evidence based approach.
I am an experienced change strategist, coach, trainer and education consultant with International and UK teaching, consultancy, and leadership skills. I am passionate about social justice, equality, and inclusion for all, in particular advocacy for children and young people.
I am a Peer Youth Engagement Worker in Blackpool. I have been a volunteer for the Blackpool Grand Theatre from Blackpool Carers’ Centre, The Magic Club and Grand Young Company. I love helping to give young people the chance to have a creative voice and is super excited to start working with Boingboing.