Lived experience in evaluation: Power

This is part two of a two-part article that draws on my recent presentation at the TheMHS 2021 conference. Part one is here.  I’ve written before that evaluators perhaps don’t attend enough to issues of power in their projects. When thinking about how to write about the challenges I’ve faced as a lived experience evaluator, … Read more

Lived experience in evaluation: We’re not lab rats

Picture of a cute lil mouse eating something like a nut

It’s increasingly becoming ‘business as usual’ in the mental health sector to speak of the role of lived experience when conducting evaluations. I’m particularly passionate about the role of lived experience in evaluation, as someone who at various times has worn the hats of participant, evaluator and commissioner. I love evaluation because it has the … Read more

Interviewing with a lived experience

3 people sit outside round a table in conversation

I’m a qualitative researcher by background and doing one-on-one interviews is my research happy place. I’m currently knee-deep in interviews across a couple of projects, and I’ve been reflecting on how my lived experience as a mental health consumer helps make me a better interviewer, and create a better interview experience for participants. Many consumers … Read more

A year

Hand holds single pink-iced cupcake with a lit candle

A year ago this week, I made a brave and potentially very silly decision. I felt in my gut that there was a space for me to create a career and life I was proud of by combining my lived experience, knowledge of the mental health sector, and policy and evaluation skills. So I quit … Read more

Making inclusive choices

Four disabled people of color gather around a table during a meeting. A Black woman sitting on a couch gestures and speaks while the three others (a South Asian person sitting in a wheelchair, a Black non-binary person sitting in a chair, and a Black non-binary person standing with a clipboard and cane) face her and listen.

Last week, I was privileged to be invited to participate in a webinar organised by ARTD to discuss inclusive choices in evaluation, particularly in the context of Covid-19. By far the highlight for me was learning from the others on the panel – Julie Duong (Empowering Solutions), Therese Kennedy (Information Access Group) and Simon Green … Read more

Fostering evaluative thinking upfront

Queen of hearts playing card floats between two hands as though just released in a magic trick

I’ve been doing a lot of work recently on evaluation capacity building, and supporting program designers to consider monitoring and evaluation up front. I keep coming back to an article I wrote in 2018 with Dr Caroline Tomiczek following a presentation we did at the Australian Evaluation Society conference the previous year. That was snarkily … Read more

Evaluating with a lived experience

At the 2018 Australasian Evaluation Society conference in Launceston, I gave a paper reflecting on my experiences of conducting evaluation in the mental health sector while having a lived experience. I experience mental illness, and for some time, I have also worked on projects in the mental health sector, as a consultant, an employee in … Read more

Fostering evaluative thinking

Evaluation is valuable, not just for working out if your project had an impact but for improving the overall quality of your intervention design. I have a blog up on BetterEvaluation about building evaluative thinking into your project from the get-go. It’s based on a presentation I gave with Caroline Tomiczek (from Urbis) at the Australasian … Read more