Project managers on a long-term participatory arts project in Southend-on-Sea called Being Here learned the value of taking consultation seriously and the programme was turned around so that it fulfilled the needs of the participants rather than being a top-down tick-box exercise.
We invited two enthusiastic participants from the early stages of the project onto the programme’s management group. They contributed to discussions on overall structure, project development and delivery, influencing decisions as they were made. This brought improvements and supported the participants to develop new experiences and skills. But there was also a need to consult more widely and to listen to different perspectives.