A view through the looking glass: co-creation and innovation - a recipe for success

Mander, Sarah; Fensham-Smith, Amber; Connolly, Nichola and Reeve, Yasmin (2023). A view through the looking glass: co-creation and innovation - a recipe for success. In: 7th Biennial International Conference on Access, Participation and Success, 26-27 Apr 2023, The Open University, Milton Keynes.

URL: https://www.open.ac.uk/about/wideningparticipation...


This session showcases innovative co-creation activities and research practice undertaken by the Student Voice and Wellbeing group from the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport at the Open University (OU). The group works in partnership to strengthen student voice and facilitate opportunities for empowering students which ensure the student voice is heard, listened to and acted upon.

Creating such opportunities amplifies students’ voices, offering potential to address awarding gaps for any student group. This work communicates the message that students’ voices and wellbeing are inextricably connected and are everyone’s responsibility (Mander in Brown and Mander, 2021). The student-led session recounts the inception of the group, sharing the whys and hows of its strategic approach and leadership, and the depth and breadth of the students’ participation. It reports on research activities which evaluate the impact on under-represented students of participation in staff recruitment processes. The presentation is a platform to challenge, stimulate and diversify traditional student voice practice and is relevant for an international audience.

A focus upon promoting positive mental health and wellbeing is a core value of the group. The presentation proudly introduces a newly published bi-lingual, digital student wellbeing handbook, co-created by Student Ambassadors and staff members. Resources include thought-provoking contributions of artwork, poetry, stories and activities based upon the five ways of wellbeing connect, give, take notice, keep learning and be active promoted by MIND, a UK based mental health charity. The main strength of this resource is that it draws directly on student experience, and what students feel best supports their wellbeing while studying.

These activities share insight and expertise, helping facilitate deeper learning of barriers to student experience. They identify creative, pioneering approaches to improvement in the equality of student experiences and outcomes. The presentation will be of interest to other HEIs seeking innovative models for promoting marginalised voices through mental health and wellbeing projects, and brings potential for policy makers to re-evaluate existing student voice and wellbeing strategies and practice.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions