If this is the first time you’re hearing of the Lost Voices project then we highly recommend you take a read through the report before delving into this piece. You can read the introduction to the report here and the full report here

On 7 December we had the pleasure of hosting a hackathon around digital campaigning and the lived experience. Over 100 organisations and individuals signed up to attend and, with the help of mince pies, spiced apple juice and a strong Christmas playlist, the event offered a perfect space for discussion, collaboration and in-depth thinking around this issue.

The afternoon started off with an introduction by Esther Foreman, CEO of The Social Change Agency, followed by three keynote speakers.

Firstly, Jinan Younis, programmes officer at The Social Change Agency presented the research report that had led to the creation of the hackathon.

We presented the crux of the problem as the breakdown of trust between people, decision-makers and charities. Whereas the relationship of trust between all three should look like this:


In fact, things are starting to look more like this:


(If you would like to take a read of the report you can do so here.)

Next, we had the amazing Becca Bunce, Parliamentary and Political Lead at Involve and women’s rights campaigner, discuss her experiences digital activism. Becca highlighted the importance of the lived experience, and in shifting the power between seeing those with lived experience as ‘powerless’ and charities as ‘powerful’.  

And the first section of the afternoon was topped off with one final speaker, Ed Saperia, founder of NewSpeak House. Ed discussed the issue from the perspective of tech. Showing how technology can be integrated into digital campaigning, Ed’s speech invigorated the room with ideas for innovation.

The speakers laid the groundwork for the afternoon. Asking pertinent questions about power, technology, and collaboration, we launched into the first step of the hackathon: exploring what we love about digital campaigning.

After defining the areas that we loved about digital campaigning, the room then began to explore the areas that needed work. We identified four key areas to explore:

  • How can organisations that work on similar issues work together better? How do they share build or leverage power?
  • How do we increase the skills and capacity in digital campaigning that can spark innovation and who is responsible for it?
  • What needs to change for an MP to recognise identity in mass mobilisation?
  • How do you increase better dialogue between people with lived experience & campaigning in order to rebuild trust?

The afternoon explored a vast range of ideas, from a collaboration between organisations to capacity building within organisations to better communication between people and decision makers. Within these umbrella ideas came suggestions of practical tools, of alternative measurements of success or of kitemarks for lived experience to show that charities are approaching campaigning centring those most affected by the issues at hand.

The hackathon was only one afternoon – and we know that there is a huge amount to explore. So these are the first steps. We’ll be building on the ideas from this hackathon, coupled with the research we have undertaken over the last 10 months to identify which areas we believe are most important to focus on for the future of this project and for digital campaigning in the UK. So watch this space!

For more info on the event and future event please contact jinan@thesocialchangeagency.org