Leaders with Lived Experience

A still shot from our film about LEx Leadership showing Ange thinking with her hand infront of her mouth.

We thought about what being a leader with lived experience means.

The Lived Experience Leadership programme

DIY Theatre Company is one of 48 organisations in The National Lottery Community Fund’s Lived Experience Leadership programme of 2021 and 2022.

Lived Experience Leaders are: Change-makers, innovators and leaders who have activated their lived expertise to inform, shape and lead their social purpose work (often in combination with their learned and practice experience) to directly benefit the communities they share those experiences with
Baljeet Sandhu:  Lived Experience Leadership: Rebooting the DNA of Leadership, 2019.

‘Lived Experience’ is a phrase that many of us have been using a lot recently, but it is not just another way to say ‘experience’.  It describes how people with first hand experience of social issues and / or injustice can use their experiences to inform, shape and lead work with a social purpose.

An experience we’ve had in the past that makes us want to change things in our community.”
DIY Young Leader

We developed a Digital Leaders project. This was based on personal experiences of the challenges and barriers our Leaders have experienced in getting online. Members of our Friday Leadership and Young Leaders groups used their lived experiences to develop and create resources to support other people with learning disabilities to access the online world. We created a number of films and resources to support other people with learning disabilities to get online with confidence. ‘Enjoy Your Time Online’ is a film created by our Friday Group.

Exploring what Lived Experience Leadership mean to DIY?

During the year ending March ’22, the project prompted us to really go back to basics in thinking about what Lived Experience means. Our Friday Leadership Group had some very interesting and important discussions about lived experience and what it means to us. We not only explored what Lived Experience Leadership means but specifically how it helps us be good leaders.

Sharing what we discovered

Working with Hilary Easter-Jones, our associate artist film-maker, we created a film to share what we want to say.

I thought it was really brilliant to see the different ways that DIY were using their leadership to support and lead different groups of people. The role modelling that they are doing with young people but also really vitally helping, in this case, medical professionals to understand that disabled people are people first. And actually if you just treat people like people then you’re half way there.”

“… how important it is to hear your voices shine through.”

The film, called “Exploring LEx Leadership”, was launched at our online event held in February 2022 and is available to watch on Vimeo – click the image below.

Exploring Lived Experience Leadership Film – from DIY Theatre Company on Vimeo.

During the event we also shared the learning that has come from our Digital Leaders programme and had an open discussion and ideas exchange about LEx Leadership and what it means to different people attending.

Feedback from the event included:

I’m going to take away from today that there are lots of different ways that people can be leaders. There’s not one thing that someone has to do, there are lots and lots of different things that make people good leaders.”

“I’m really impressed by the fact that it is real people actually portraying that real lived experience. It hits home more when I’ve see the group doing what they’ve done today. And it means a lot more hearing their experiences rather than just being told this is what people go through if they’ve got a disability. I’ve got a better understanding from watching you all today. I think you’re an amazing group. A great quality of performing. Give yourselves a pat on the back because it’s absolutely fantastic.”

“I would love to take away some of your ambition and your quality of delivery.”


The Lived Experience Leaders Movement

The Lived Experience Leaders Movement (also known as LEx Movement) is a collective impact network connecting, supporting and strengthening the capacity of Lived Experience Leaders to create systems-level change and help all our communities thrive.

Lived Experience (LEx) Direct, first-hand experience, past or present, of a social issue(s) and/or injustice(s).

Lived ExpertiseKnowledge, perspectives, insights, and understanding gathered through lived experience.

Lived Experience Leader (LEx Leader) Change-makers, innovators and leaders who have activated their lived expertise to inform, shape and lead their social purpose work (often in combination with their learned and practice experience) to directly benefit the communities they share those experiences with.

For more information about Lived Experience Leadership:

Visit the Lived Experience Movements website lexmovement.org

Visit The Lived Experience website  thelivedexperience.org/ where you can view the report by Baljeet Sandhu which explores the Value of Lived Experience in Social Change.

 

DIY Theatre would like to thank The National Lottery Community Fund for their support for this work.

The National Lottery Community Fund logo