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How we work

Changing Realities is made up of parents and carers from different backgrounds, living in a variety of circumstances across the UK. All have different strengths, needs and experiences. All are living on a low income and many face a daily struggle to get by.

One thing that all the parents share is a commitment to pushing for change, trying to make the future better for everyone.

Illustrations by Catherine Fortey
I really hope that collectively we can make huge changes for the future, so other people don’t suffer such struggles to live.
- Lili K

It’s vital that project work happens in a very open, flexible, engaging way that works for as many people as possible.

That’s why Changing Realities:
▶︎▶︎▶︎ Takes a participatory approach
▶︎▶︎▶︎ Uses a range of media to communicate and challenge
▶︎▶︎▶︎ Uses bespoke online platforms and digital technology to aid participation

We’re always happy to talk to other practitioners, academics and charities about the methods we’ve used and what we’ve learned from these approaches.

You can get in touch with us here

Participatory approach

Changing Realities is a collaboration between participants with lived expertise, researchers at the University of York and the national charity Child Poverty Action Group. It is essential to the project’s success that participants are equal partners, driving decision-making and working together for change.

Changing Realities uses online platforms specifically developed for us by Fork studio to help us collaborate and share our work more easily.

Meet the team

We are always carefully considering and balancing the ethical implications of a participatory approach. We acknowledge where traditional power imbalances exist and seek to challenge them wherever possible.

How to include lived expertise in research, policy and campaigning

Explore our toolkit
Young woman at protest


Changing Realities is a way for parents and carers to get more involved with politics, speak directly to those in power and campaign for change.

Changing Realities participants from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have travelled to Westminster to speak to MPs about the challenges they are facing and the changes they want to see.

Our collectively written letter to the Prime Minister was read out in parliament and was exhibited at the Wellcome Collection.

Read letter to Prime Minister

Arts-based methods

The Changing Realities participants and project team share their insights and experiences using a whole range of creative media including zines, poems, podcasts, audio, video and blogging.

Illustration of someone making zine

We work collaboratively with a range of artists including writers, sound artists, zine makers and illustrators.

Laura Lindow Hector Maciness Jean McEwan Catherine Fortey Ros Fraser

By using a range of outlets for communication and self-expression, Changing Realities gives parents and carers a space to discover or strengthen creative skills and connect with each other, as well as amplifying experiences that need to be heard.

Explore our work

How we share Changing Realities

The Living Archive

Written, video and audio diary entries and conversations updated in real time Visit the Living Archive


Rapid response briefings, sharing experiences and setting out co-produced recommendations for change Read our briefings


Telling our stories through DIY, self-published magazines Read our zines


Telling our stories through video clips and animations Watch now

Poetry and writing workshops

Regular creative workshops held both on and offline Read our work

Media engagement

Speaking to radio, press and TV See more
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Changing Realities Involvement Network

Involving lived experiences in policy, research and campaigning Find out more


An hour-long podcast broadcast on community radio across the UK or learn more

Letter writing

Our collectively written letter to the Prime Minister was presented in parliament and exhibited in London Read our letter to the PM


Our reflections on the challenges of life on a low income, and ideas for where change is most needed Read our blog

Methodological outputs

Documenting our methods through toolkits and other resources “How to include lived expertise in research, policy and campaigning” Explore our toolkit

Changing Realities in conversation

Big Question of the week
Responding to a topical question on policy or everyday life.
Big Idea meetings
Getting together with project partners on Zoom to make decisions and develop recommendations for change Illustration of someone making zine
Coffee mornings
Connecting with each other via informal meet-ups, online
Public speaking
Speaking at conferences and events to share our stories and push for change
It's great having a voice that influences things and to have recognition and remuneration in kind for the time spent. As a disabled working class woman, I often feel invisible and overlooked. The Changing Realities project makes me feel valued.
- Autumn
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