This was the driving question behind day 2 of our 2023 National Conference. Campaigners gathered on a sunny day at Calthorpe Community Gardens near Kings Cross in London to reflect on the actions we can take to improve our advocacy and become a more effective and connected grassroots movement. This day was extra special because we used an “open space” discussion technique for the first time, allowing campaigners to define the conversation themes themselves.

We were joined by experienced open space facilitator Annette Zera, who supported the campaigners in their discussions, with the open space format allowing for participatory, inclusive and collaborative conversation. We began with the campaigners themselves setting the agenda for the day by creating a number of questions to discuss based on the main prompt.

Campaigners setting the agenda for the day. Credit: 
Vibe Film / Victor Bientinesi G De Oliveira & Lucas Buttchewits / Results UK

People could then join the discussion groups whose topic they felt most interested in or cared most passionately about, with the freedom to move around from each conversation. Campaigners created a rich and diverse agenda around how we can improve our advocacy work and better connect with those fighting for similar causes. Some of the topics included how we can connect with other movements, how we can better engage MPs and how we can utilise digital media for advocacy.

There was also a great interest in hearing more about the advocacy work RESULTS’ policy and parliamentary teams do, such as developing policy reports, conducting research and hosting parliamentary events. It was really wonderful to participate in such passionate discussions and learn from each other’s ideas.

Campaigners deep in discussion, sharing their ideas and reflections with each other. Credit: Vibe Film / Victor Bientinesi G De Oliveira & Lucas Buttchewits / Results UK

Following these discussions, each group put together a number of recommendations to highlight the tangible actions campaigners can take forward in their advocacy work. We saw some really excellent recommendations including using a new social media platform for volunteers to connect with each other, running workshops for campaigners to improve their advocacy skills, and committing to partnerships with organisations working on similar issues.

Campaigners collating the recommendations, before gathering together to reflect on the day’s session. Credit: Vibe Film / Victor Bientinesi G De Oliveira & Lucas Buttchewits / Results UK

We are all part of this network because we are passionate and committed to fighting for a better world, but it can be easy to feel tired or unmotivated at times when we can’t see the immediate impact of this work. That is why it’s so important to have these moments where we as advocates can connect with one another, share our successes and challenges, and remember that we are in this fight together.

Thank you to all our campaigners for their thoughtful contributions! Credit: Vibe Film / Victor Bientinesi G De Oliveira & Lucas Buttchewits / Results UK

It was a huge pleasure to gather with our campaigners and participate in the sharing of ideas together. Following Sunday’s activities, we at RESULTS are now working to take these recommendations and incorporate them into our work. If you want to hear how the ideas are coming to life and contribute to the conversation, you can join our quarterly Group Organisers call! Keep an eye out for an email from us soon with more information, or you can sign up to our mailing list here.

It was an incredibly engaging day and we hope our campaigners came away from it with a renewed sense of motivation to connect, take action, and make the world a better place. We certainly did and are looking forward to turning everyone’s incredible ideas into reality. Check out the highlights from Sunday’s session below!