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What is coproduction? Yes – such a great question!

Recently, we jumped into a coproduction space around understanding anxiety. Lots of different perspectives in a room?

Sounds a little anxiety inducing to me. Actually, it was an awesome space! Take that, anxiety!

What is coproduction? Drawing of a brain in a tea cup drinking a cup of tea.

So, what is coproduction? Well, coproduction is a foundation of all the work that we do at discovery college.
We coproduce our courses so they have a richness of views, ideas and perspectives.

So, how do we do that? How do we coproduce? Well, we like to gather expertise on a topic in one room.

We value & draw upon expertise from our community, including lived experience, professionals, family & community members.
We set up the space establishing what it would look like to all comfortably share & contribute to the work.
We explore what we all want to achieve from the space & how we can make that happen together.

Is it rich? Yes.
Is it comfortable? Yes.
Is it sometimes uncomfortable? Yes, it definitely can be as we work to collaborate with vulnerability & authenticity together.

Last week we jumped into a coproduction space exploring the possibility of creating a course around understanding anxiety.
Sounds like a space that could be a little anxiety inducing? Yes, absolutely, the irony isn’t lost on us.

However, it was an awesome space.

We shared the learnings & unlearning’s we all have from our lived & professional experience.
We tackled ideas around the importance of language & the stories we tell around experiences of anxiety.
We talked about the function of stress responses & the strategies or resources for managing anxiety, whether it be sensory, mindfulness, medication & more.
We talked about the ‘human-ness’ of anxiety &  for me, when my anxious brain feels like a four lane highway of thoughts & I know I need to try & take it for a bushwalk, there is great comfort in knowing that other people have similar experiences, maybe their language around it is different but there is connection & understanding of those experiences.

That is my experience of it but there was also a lot ace feedback from the room & here it is:

What did the lovely humans in the room feel they could contribute?

“I was able to contribute my lived experience of what anxiety has looked like in my life. Managing it & feeling hopeful about what it can look like. I was also able to share from a carer perspective on how we can have those conversations & support others experiencing anxiety”

“I brought my clinician lens and also my lived experience of anxiety. Often two very different perspectives but I felt I was able to contribute from both and also see how each lens impacts on the other.”

What did they get out of the space?

“Some thought provokers around the story we tell ourselves & the story we want told.”

“Excitement at the potential of being involved in something that is valuable to those experiencing anxiety.”

“Connection with others and shared understanding.”

“I learnt from other people’s perspectives and experiences.”

“A reminder about how much this topic needs to be talked about openly in society.”

“A lot of interesting ideas, I liked that there was a bunch of diversity.”

What did it feel like to be in the space?

“Everyone had respect for each other’s views and curiosity to learn from others. The introduction of the space helped enable this.”

“Breaking off into smaller groups helped in terms of everyone having a say”

“A comfortable space to share”

“It was fun, all the lovely human vulnerability!”

We also asked what might have got in the way?

Our favourite response….

“Nothing, I mean my anxiety tried to get the better of me, but it didn’t!”


We feel that coproduction creates a space where we can value & learn from all expertise (just like our courses!). It is space that allows us to comfortably uncomfortably share & understand from different perspectives.

If you want to read a little more on coproduction in practice, there is a wonderful resource from Cath Roper, Flick Grey & Emma Cadogan here.

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