International Resilience Revolution Conference: Reflections from our Engagement Workers
With the International Resilience Resolution Conference now behind us, Boingboing Engagement Workers, Grace, John, Lindsay, Charlotte, Lauren, Shannon recently discussed their favourite moments of the event that was held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. An occasion that, at times, seemed destined never to happen, but the resilience of all involved saw their efforts rewarded with a day full of learning, as well as personal triumphs and highlights.
We realised just how resilient we are. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we had never really met before in person as a team until the Conference itself. So it was nice to come together as a whole team and meet each other in person. It felt fantastic after so many months being isolated! It has given everyone a real lift after experiencing a difficult couple of years.
Suddenly we found ourselves together and ready to perform a number of duties, including speaking to crowds, sending tweets, advising guests and explaining just what Boingboing is and does. We knew that we were all in the same boat. Everyone was experiencing of mixture of excitement, nerves and stress, but in times like this true teams come together. We realised how resilient and brave we were, and we were there for each other. We had the support of each other, and everyone else at Boingboing, which gave us the courage to play our part in making sure the conference was the success that it was.
I’ve learnt so much since joining Boingboing. It’s stuff that I didn’t think I knew, but I did know much more than I realised. I’ve learnt more about myself, and I have learnt how to deal with my communication skills better. I feel like a flower that has grown and flourished.
– Grace, Youth Engagement Worker, Boingboing
From the most esteemed professors to the ones still attending school, all were equal and experts in resilience. The conference was not about speakers lecturing passive listeners, nor there being only one right way of doing things. Everyone’s journey was important, and everyone’s opinion counted. We are all experts in resilience!
Children and young people were also the teachers that day. Who better than the young people of Blackpool to teach us exactly what goes on in today’s world?! From beating bullying to explaining why Shakespeare is still relevant, those representatives of the Blackpool schools in attendance stood shoulder-to-shoulder with adults, all there to educate and inform with their lived experience. They helped us appreciate what the world is like for a teenager and young child, and how resilience-building forms part of their life.
We have developed a greater understanding for the community and local services around us. During the conference, we were fortunate to have lots of workshops and involvement from members of the community who want to create social change within Blackpool and the Fylde coast.
We always talk about co-production and try to explain to professionals how best to use this in practice. With our conference, however, we have shown everyone how to do co-production. We worked co-productively throughout the conference preparation and on both days of the event itself. Co-production also allows facilitators to encourage those they work with to become experts. And those who witnessed the workshops, and all the speakers, will know just how expert everyone was.
As a wheelchair user, I have been excluded from other places in the past; work, at hospital appointments, and in society in general, but I didn’t feel this way at the resilience conference. There were lifts, easy level access to all floors, and plenty of space throughout the rooms to be able to move around independently – this is so important! I also felt part of something special; I could help make a change and felt that I had such a supportive, friendly community around me.
– Lindsay, Engagement Worker, Boingboing
To be heard, one must be included, and given access and opportunities equal to everyone else wherever possible. A way of being inclusive to those unable to attend in person, was to live-stream the entire event. This had not been at the forefront of everyone’s minds until we were forced to make changes to daily life because of the pandemic. However, video-conferencing has now become a frequent practice in organisations. By making the conference a hybrid event, we have been able to positively influence more people around the world, who then have the power to enact change in their local communities. We really hope that they have heard our call, and will join us in the Resilience Revolution!
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