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Animation: Co-production – what is it and why do it?

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Co-production: What is it and why do it?

An animation

Quick-read summary

This short animation provides an evidence-based and co-produced introduction to co-production. It provides a definition of co-production. It offers a set of principles to help guide co-production. Some principles offered, like agonistic pluralism, are new. They can be used by people to help do genuine co-production and evaluate the success of co-produced work. Several challenges of doing co-production are also shared. The animation was co-produced and delivered in accessible ways by people with lived experience from the project Moving Social Work.

Who is this evidence useful for?

This animation will be useful for anyone interested in co-production.

Why is this important?

  • Co-production is a lucrative buzzword but is often left undefined.
  • Defining co-production and understanding different principles that underpin it is vital. Definitions and principles help to guide how to work with partners, provide direction for how to do genuine rather than tokenistic co-production, and enables fair evaluation.
  • This animation introduces for the first time a new principle to guide co-production.
  • The new principle, agnostic pluralism, helps to honour different voices, negotiate power, and enable equitable relationships.

Disabled people, social workers, and community based physical activity leads were all involved in this work

 Watch the animation

What’s next?

  • We must be clearer that co-production is not consultation, co-design or co-creation. These are all different co-production.
  • Co-production is not ‘the gold standard’ for wanting to make change. If co-production does not meet your needs, or if people are unwilling to commit to doing it genuinely, then be honest, reflect, and don’t do it on this occasion. On certain occasions other approaches like consultation, co-creation, or feedback might be more relevant for what you want to achieve. That is fine! You don’t need to feel bad if co-production isn’t for you or your organisation at this time.
  • If you choose to do co-production agree with partners on your vision for co-production.
  • Agree with partners what you understand co-production to be and the principles that will guide its development.
  • Co-production is a great way to understand place and inequalities by working with people in local communities so that solutions to problems where they live can be better achieved.
  • Co-production can be fun!

Lead researcher

Professor Brett Smith, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Durham University

Get in touch about this research

[email protected]

Read the full research paper linked to this work: Co-production: A resource to guide co-producing research in the sport, exercise, and health sciences

Published in Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Volume 15, 2023