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You can influence ideas and make decisions in lots of different ways. On this page, learn how to use artwork, spoken word, and ideas trees in influence and participation work.

How to use creativity in lived experience work

When it comes to influence and participation work, be creative and use your imagination. You can run discussions  in a variety of venues and you can record feedback in lots of different ways.

For example, when talking about the barriers to a problem, you could give participants paper cut outs of ‘bricks’ and get them to tack them onto a wall to create a visual aid.

Think about what would make your discussions interactive and engaging. Taking part should be meaningful, informative, and fun.


Art projects can be used together with other methods and formats. They can be good for engaging with people who are reluctant, or can't, express themselves verbally.

Spoken word

Storytelling through poetry, theatre, film and music can capture people’s personal experiences and influence change in a fun and imaginative way.

Ideas Tree

In a discussion group, present an open question to your participants. For example, 'what would improve inpatient mental health care?’

Create an outline of a tree trunk and branches on a large sheet of paper and display it on the wall next to the question.

Cut leaf shapes out of green card or paper and ask participants to write their ideas or wishes onto the ‘leaves’ with marker pens, and then attach these to the ‘tree’.

This technique can help participants to think about the most important point they have. It can be used to prioritise ideas at the end of a focus group. You can also use a wishing tree can to stimulate ideas early on in a process.

Other ways to get involved

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