I’m Emily, a member of the TRIUMPH team at TRIUMPH Fest. At TRIUMPH Fest I had the pleasure of taking part in a workshop run by Leaders Unlocked, aimed at supporting young people and project staff to facilitate their own workshops on youth mental health. Leaders Unlocked is an organisation that works to enable and equip young people to take action to address the issues affecting their lives, and they ran this workshop with young people from the North Ayrshire Mental Health Commission.
Workshop attendees were split into small groups, and each group was given a different aspect of workshop planning or delivery to discuss. My group were given the task of discussing how feedback about workshops can be used effectively. Getting feedback from participants in a workshop – whether they are participants or peer-researchers on a project – is a really important and helpful tool for improving your work.
In my group we talked about experiences of receiving good and bad feedback on our workshops and projects. In particular we discussed the challenge of receiving feedback which doesn’t feel very constructive, or is overly personal or irrelevant – for example, complaining that there was only still water and not fizzy water, or that the person running the workshop is boring, or feedback which feels like someone ‘lashing out’.
It can be difficult to know what to do with this feedback, but we all recognised that it was really important to take all feedback seriously and consider why this kind of feedback may have been given – and whether there was a constructive point being made. Sometimes we get this kind of feedback because participants feel like they don’t know why they’re being asked for feedback, or that nothing will be done with their feedback anyway. We all agreed that the key priority with asking for feedback is being transparent with participants about why you are asking for feedback, what you intend to do with it and what kinds of feedback you are looking for. This can make it less likely you receive unconstructive feedback, and also hopefully instil a sense of empowerment and trust in your participants that it is worth their time to provide positive or constructive feedback – because they know it will be taken on board.
Overall this was a really useful workshop, and made us sit down and think about some of the practical processes of doing co-production and how we can learn from each other to continue to improve our work!
If you want to get in touch with Leaders Unlocked to find our more about their work: