Noble Truths at the International Resilience Revolution Conference
The International Resilience Resolution Conference has got me thinking about how to take things forward. As it was a show case of all the ways in which we can beat the odds whilst also changing the odds, it demonstrated a range of possibilities. What next? There is so much to think about, I need to do what I usually do when I don’t know where to start, and use the Noble Truths.
You can see the Noble Truths under the Resilience Framework below. They are the principles that help us to think about what we are doing and plan resilient moves. We talk about them underpinning what we do. I think they work really well as a starting point when I’m facing a challenge or planning a new project.
Accept – There was a lot we had to accept when we put on the conference: the postponements; barriers to travel; the impact of Covid on attendance; and the challenges of blended learning – to name a few things. We adapted to all of this by holding onto our key principles and doing what we could to tackle Basics, so that people could attend. With everyone’s strong sense of Belonging and ownership of the conference we trusted the whole team to pull together and to pull it off. We stayed hopeful that everything would be alright in the end. When I saw people coming together on the day and contributing it was so exhilarating. Another thing I had to accept, as one of the speakers, was that I was going to feel uncomfortable and nervous in the hours leading up to my big moment. And I did, but I survived!
There are many things to accept as we take our work forward after the conference. It helps to be realistic and adaptable, whilst using our inequalities imagination to solve some of the obstacles. We want to inspire a wider use of co-production, a social justice approach, and a focus on building resilient cultures across towns. We need to accept that the contexts people are working in make it hard to take on new ideas and challenges to routine working practices. We want to draw on our new networks, and use examples from everything which was showcased at the conference, to motivate people to try our approach. At the same time we accept that it might happen in small steps and through positive chain reactions.
Conserve – The success of the conference relied on using everyone’s assets and strengths; people in our community turned out to have some amazing skills, such as Buket and Rosie organising the IT for the digital conference; John and Henry inspiring young people to join the cartoon workshop; people who got to grips with social media; others who presented passionately; and those who organised our stalls. The young people who entertained us with their comedy routines were brilliant too.
We need to conserve all the lessons that we have learned from the first five years of the Resilience Revolution in Blackpool, especially as we think about the next five years.
We have so many people now who understand the evidence about resilience, co-production and social justice, and who are making changes in their organisations and their lives. Going forward I hope we can inspire people in other areas, that we can use our experiences and involve as many people as possible in spreading the word. I’d love to continue our co-delivery of training around the country with Blackpool’s Parents’ of the Revolution and our young people, and even spread the word across the world. I’ll also use the examples of co-research that I learned about at the conference, to bang the drum for co-research beyond the CRSJ.
Commit – Despite the challenges we faced we were committed to putting on the conference, and to enabling young people and parents to share the conference with practitioners and academics. This meant making it accessible, free to attendees, with healthy food, and it meant supporting people to shout from the rooftops about what they have achieved, even if they had never done it before. It sometimes meant challenging the way things are usually done and rebalancing what is meant by expertise.
We need to commit to these same ideas as we march forward after the conference. We’ve seen the benefits of coproduction and systems change; we’ve seen what people can achieve and we’ve experienced how great it is to work as part of a team. We are committed to these ways of working.
Enlist – As I said, we enlisted different parts of ourselves in the conference, but also thought creatively about who we could invite to share in the conference. That’s why we had Harry Venning drawing cartoons, Etienne Wenger ‘in conversation’ with Sam Richardson, and George Mwaura from CAST talking about using the Academic Resilience Approach in South African townships. Angie Hart is particularly good at seeing the potential in people and then persuading them to get stuck in.
We can use the momentum and buzz from the conference to continue to enlist people to spread the Resilience Revolution, and we know now that it’s amazing who will join you, if you know how to ask.
Our one regret is that we didn’t get as many international chums along to the conference because of, yes, you’ve guessed it, COVID. That is such a shame as Blackpool has so much to offer; we had planned a fabulous collection of visits to exciting projects and organisations who are part of the Resilience Revolution. Also Blackpool’s new conference centre is simply stunning. Next time we hope people will flock from overseas to witness the Resilience Revolution in person. Just give us time to recover a bit, and then we’ll be welcoming you all with open arms at Blackpool’s train station. noble truths
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