In-depth articles and guest posts on internal and sector-related topics.

Creative consultations

I work for LGBT Health and Wellbeing, supporting services working with older people to become more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This is a valuable opportunity to affect change – and I want it to be the change that older LGBT people actually want to see! 

Taking the time to tinker

I come from a family of tinkerers. My granddad was always in his shed hacking away at something or in the garage mucking about with his Morris Minor. He was a postman, not a carpenter or an engineer or a mechanic. Mostly, he didn’t know what he was doing. My grandparent’s house was full of botched repair jobs. (Putty, I remember a lot of putty. And gaffer tape.) And the car probably only just stayed on the right side of road worthiness.

Encouraging storytelling part 3

Turning points

This exercise comes with a health warning - it can unearth unwanted emotions. Participants need to be encouraged to look after themselves and only deal with parts of their lives that they choose to.

Draw a linear graph of the ups and downs of your life. Make it as simple or complex as you like, add colour and illustration. This was a particularly useful tool during a two year project with asylum seekers where language was limited.

Ten 'rules' for being creative in producing research

Since the changing of the year seems to be the time for lists, top ten lists, etc., I decided to compile mine about being creative whist producing cutting‐edge research. Not for the faint‐hearted! Here goes:

1. Be curious. Be a detective. Be ready to be surprised by answers you never expected. It should, in the end, be a good story that you can tell.

2. Insure that the method fits the question(s). This can often take some time. Be willing to investigate until you find the right method. This will save you a lot of grief later.

Fit for the Future

Fit for the Future is a partnership project of Iriss and Scottish Care dedicated to inspiring better outcomes for older people by working with providers from the independent sector. The project worked with care homes and care at home providers in four areas - Argyll and Bute, Falkirk, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian - to support innovation and service redesign. Key areas such as outcomes, care in times of transition, community links and compassion were explored.

Listening… with more than our ears (Part 1)

What a year for Glasgow. Many of us felt the warmth and goodwill that animated the carnival atmosphere in the city during the Games, stretch beyond the referendum as a tangible urge to transcend the politics of competition, blame, beliefs and opinions. A welcome move away from ‘us and them’, towards just us, is visibly taking root and still the need to nurture our ability to communicate with openness, affection, wit and skill remains constant. It seems wise to meet this need with a broader, subtler definition of listening than we are used to.

Blogging as creativity

So. Blogging has (almost) come of age. Twenty years ago, a software developer in California ushered in a new era of communication. Dave Winer published his first blog post on 7 October 1994. He called his blog Davenet, and he’s been writing it most days since. And today he’s joined by many millions of bloggers worldwide.

Integration and the arts

Integration is at the top of many social care, housing and health professionals agendas which made me wonder about the role of the arts and artists the integration debate.

In my mind there are two forms of integration, service (or process) integration and workforce (or people) integration. It's the latter, rather than the former, where I think that the arts has much to offer.

DIY (Development Impact and You)

At Iriss we believe that innovation is not a practice reserved for 'the creative' or 'the experts' and that people innovate all the time. We focus on how to blend and adapt ideas to support social innovation and on how we need to accept risk and failure as central components of innovation. A toolkit - Development Impact and You - has been developed by Nesta in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation to support and encourage social innovation.

More ideas on encouraging storytelling

More and more of my work revolves around storytelling. I lead Swansea Digital Storytelling (see swanseastorytelling.com ) and at least one day a week I train staff to make stories for the health service – this encompasses stories about things that have gone wrong as well as things that show best practice and stories of people’s personal journeys. I plan to share a number of ideas of how I encourage storytelling in Creative Quarter blogs over the next few months.