Leaders with Lived Experience

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

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

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

During the period 2021 – 2022 DIY developed a Digital Leaders project. This was based on DIY Leaders personal experiences of the challenges and barriers of getting online. DIY Leaders used their lived experiences to develop and create a number of resources to support other people with learning disabilities to access the online world, including our ‘Enjoy Your Time Online’ film.

DIY leaders also worked with DIY artist Hilary Easter-Jones to create a film about what Lived Experience Leadership means to us and how it helps us be good leaders. The film is called ‘Exploring LEx Leadership’ and was launched at an online event held in February 2022. Click the image below to watch our ‘Exploring LEx Leadership’ film.

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

Feedback from the event included:

“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.”

“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 (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.

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