Voices for Equity
The Voices for Equity project ran from May 2018 to April 2020 and aimed to reduce socio-economic inequalities in Shetland through community participation. The project was funded through the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and was delivered by the Shetland Islands Council through the Shetland Partnership.
The Voices for Equity project developed a methodology for participation, acknowledging the need to learn directly from those who are experiencing disparities and disadvantaged outcomes in order to tackle inequalities. It brought forward public voices and uncovered different aspects of inequalities in the Shetland Islands.
The Project Method
The project method was designed to enable people experiencing challenges due to inequalities in Shetland to share their knowledge directly with local decision-makers. Community and civic participants were recruited and matched together in pairs as ‘learning partners’ to explore inequalities by bringing their personal perspectives and experiences to their conversations.
30 people participated in the project, delivering more than 60 hours of conversations.
Overall, the project achieved its aim of creating a method for participation so that people in Shetland experiencing inequality were able to share their knowledge directly with those with responsibility for Shetland’s resources.
In addition, the project resulted in:
- Improved sensitivity and understanding of inequalities amongst community planning partners
- Improved links between and amongst communities in Shetland, and
- Increased self-esteem and listening skills
Moreover, the project appointed Nikkita Morgan, an Irish mixed media textile artist, to convey the themes and messages from the conversations and to challenge our stigmas and pre-judgements. The artistic outcome was delivered in collaboration with Shetland Arts.
“Meeting someone with the personal experiences of a troublesome life really hits home, far more than hearing or reading about it”.
“My learning partner makes me feel very proud and connected with Shetland”
- Community Participant