Considering power differences in lived experience engagement

Lydia Trowse and Bec Edser, Emerging Minds, Australia

Resource Summary

This resource is part of a case study on the Lived Experience Network: a co-designed group of lived experience system advisors established within the South Australian Government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD). The Network aims to ensure the voices of children and families are included in the planning, monitoring and review of the Child and Family Support System.

We recommend exploring how and why the Lived Experience Network was formed before reading this resource.

Power differences have been diligently considered in the work between the Department of Human Services and the Lived Experience Network. Careful planning ensures the respect, safety and wellbeing of the lived experience experts is maintained throughout their involvement.

In the following recording (4 minutes, 50 seconds), Network members describe the ways that coordinators have attended to power differences in the project, and how this was experienced by the system advisors.

Reflection activity

Take a moment to consider the following questions:

  • How have power differences been addressed in the lived experience network?
  • What could you do to attend to these differences in your interactions with people with lived experience?

For more information on being aware of power differences, visit the ‘Before making contact’ section of our Child and Family Partnerships Toolkit.

Emerging Minds would like to acknowledge the following Lived Experience Network Alumni, consultants and coordinator who have so generously shared their insights and wisdom for this project:

Shelly, Mirja, Jasmine, Wei, Jamie, Lemy, Chloe, Dana, Mel and Yasmin.

We thank them for investing their time and energy into creating this case study for others to learn from. You can learn more about what the alumni are up to now.

For more examples of ways to incorporate lived experience wisdom into your practice, please check out our other child and family partnership case studies.

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