International Resilience Revolution Conference: Highlights from some of the Boingboing and CRSJ team
Everyone was buzzing after the International Resilience Revolution Conference. For a start, it was a chance for some of the Boingboing and Centre of Resilience for Social Justice (CRSJ) team to meet face to face, and there were lots of surprises about how tall or small or cheerful or funny people were in real life! It was also inspiring to see how our work has had an impact across the country and across the world, and also how it’s made a big difference to individual lives. Hearing people talking about how they have been beating the odds whilst also changing the odds showed us how research can come together with practice and improve how we feel and how organisations behave. So some of us put pen to paper (not really, we typed it) and tried to capture what the conference felt like after all the hard work. Here’s some conference highlights from some of the team.
Wow! The #ResRev22 Conference was an amazing event that showcased the incredible impact of the work that has taken place across Blackpool during the past 5 years. As someone relatively new to Boingboing (a partner of the Resilience Revolution) and the CRSJ it was heart-warming to hear personal stories of how lives have been transformed for the better. It was wall-to-wall highlights for me, but some stand out events were:
- Being in awe of the young people who did comedy stand up to close Day 1 of the conference – so brave and so funny
- Learning from @harrymvenning about how to cartoon
- Hearing the buzz of children, young people, parents and carers being together in the Blackpool Conference Centre, Winter Gardens
- Day 2 online session where the fabulous Dontay just said, “Being non-racist is just not enough. You need courage and action to stand up and call racism out”, and, “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”
What a conference! How glad we are now that we have accomplished something so brilliant; the atmosphere that filled every corner of the conference was something else, endless happy, smiling faces throughout. Now, considering the size of the conference, that’s a lot of atmosphere!
The Friends For Life presentation took first place in my books. It was the most provoking for thought and emotion, personally. The speakers were so sincere with every word they spoke about the friendships that the project had helped them to form. I had previously heard about the Friend for Life, but often wondered how successful this really was. Well, the proof is in the pudding – nearly all of the matches have been successful and some of the friendships have now lasted many years. I might’ve shed a tear or two with the nature of the presentation being so heartfelt. So, one last thanks go out to those people participating in that work that is critical to the lives of our children in Blackpool. After all, a lot of us wouldn’t be where we are today without it.
Setting out for Blackpool in the North-West of England on 29 March could have been a bit chilly for someone like me who lives in the balmier South of England. It was anything but cold, given the warm welcome I received at the newly opened Blackpool Winter Gardens. It really did feel like being part of a big team! What struck me was the hard work and commitment to pull this conference off. Everyone was in this together – co-production in action. It was so vibrant to be there for real. Action-packed, an amazing venue, face-to-face on Day One, with lots of young people, and then Day Two on a virtual conference platform called Whova. It was worth the deep dive into the world of resilience for two whole days.
Day One and the opening keynote session brought home how many young lives are involved, affected and part of the Resilience Revolution, as Pauline Wrigglesworth and her co-presenters talked about the Blackpool HeadStart journey. I learned so much that day and met people I had interviewed remotely for the Blackpool HeadStart research evaluation. I was seeing and hearing about their projects in packed break-out rooms.
Day Two and a more international feel to this day. I did get a sense of achievement from chairing two parallel sessions on resilience themes with speakers in different time zones. I have since been back on the digital conference platform to retrieve the fabulous keynote slides. Great that you can do this after the event – to go back over things.
It was a great two days away in the North. And I did get to do my touristy thing: watch the dancers in the Tower Ballroom and get a Blackpool Tower fridge magnet to take home!
At some points it seemed like it couldn’t be done; organising an International Resilience Revolution Conference in Blackpool and ensuring that academics, practitioners and Co-leaders of the Revolution could come together and share their learning. I had the privilege of co-delivering the keynote speech with Pauline Wigglesworth, who has overseen the strategic implementation of Blackpool’s Resilience Revolution, and Laura Zakubinska, who has grown from a role as a youth leader to lead administrator. The technology was playing up until the last minute because everything was so new in the Winter Gardens and we stepped onto the podium, with wobbly knees, to share Blackpool’s story with the world.
And what a story. What HeadStart, Boingboing and the University of Brighton’s Centre of Resilience for Social Justice have been doing in Blackpool is complex and multi-faceted. That’s why we had so many different people in the audience: school children from Blackpool and Newham, academics and researchers, Parents of the Revolution, social workers, police, PhD students, nurses and social care workers, artists, community workers and volunteers, policy makers, parents and carers, people with lived experience, and many more!
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