Output from our first workshop

We really enjoyed our first workshop earlier this month. It was really exciting to hear about some of the work planned by the people who attended, and the feedback from the event was really encouraging.

Here are the materials from that first EBCD for mental health workshop, which ran at the University of Birmingham ,on Nov 14th 2014. The slides are shared with thanks to Glenn Robert, Neil Springham, Lizzie Newton, Zoe Boden, and Michael Larkin. The main structure of the day can be explored using this prezi or downloaded here for a printable version (pdf). Glenn Robert’s slides, which sit within this structure, are in three pdfs, available here, here & here. 

We’re also setting up an email list for researchers interested in EBCD in mental health. If you’d like to be involved, please contact m.larkin[at]bham.ac.uk

We hope to run a further workshop in London, in 2015.


An Introductory Workshop on Experience-Based Co-Design for Mental Health Services

Keywords: User involvement, co-production, co-design, service development, service improvement, psychology, psychiatry, social work.

Venue: University of Birmingham

Date: Friday November 14th, 2014.

Time: 10am-4pm.

What is experience-based co-design?

Experience-based co-design (EBCD) was first developed by Glenn Robert and Paul Bate. It is a collaborative approach to service development. Uniquely, it involves professionals and service-users working together to identify areas for improvement, and to make plans for how those improvements should occur. It has been developed particularly for use in the NHS, and has been championed by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the Point of Care Foundation, and the Kings Fund.

Why mental health services?

The first wave of EBCD projects took place in physical health settings. A systematic review was written, and an online ‘EBCD toolkit’ was produced. More recently, there have been a number of EBCD projects run in mental health settings. It is clear that EBCD can offer mental health services an excellent opportunity to build strong working relationships with service-users and families, and to improve experiences of their services for everyone involved, but it is also evident that there are some issues – specific to mental health services – which require additional care and planning.

What will the workshop provide?

  • An introduction to the aims of EBCD, and a guide to the process of running a project.
  • A forum in which to identify and discuss opportunities for conducting EBCD projects in services which you deliver, or use.
  • An outline of some of the additional issues which require careful consideration in running EBCD projects for mental health services.
  • An opportunity to hear about two previous projects, and the different ways in which they have tackled these issues.

Who should attend?

Service leads and managers; senior allied health professionals; clinicians involved in service development and improvement; commissioners; service-users or family members who are involved in commissioning, research or service development; clinical and health researchers; R&D staff; AHSN or CLRN staff.

Who are the facilitators?

Glenn Robert is Professor of Healthcare Quality & Innovation at Kings College London, and is one of the originators of the EBCD approach. Neil Springham and Ami Woods are art therapists who were both central to the EBCD project which ran in Oxleas NHS Trust, and which was featured in The Guardian and on the BBC R4 news, for the improvements which it made to acute inpatient care. Michael Larkin is a qualitative researcher who previously ran an EBCD project in physical health at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, in Birmingham, and who with Lizzie Newton and Zoe Boden was part of a team of psychologists who ran another inpatient psychiatry EBCD project in Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust. All of the facilitators are founder members of a national working group on ‘EBCD for mental health.’

Places are limited. To attend, please contact Rupy Kahlon to inquire about availability:

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 4915


This is the first workshop of its kind, and is therefore being run at the special introductory price of £30 for professionals, and £10 for service-user/family researchers/advocates.

Who we are (part 3)

Michael Larkin (PhD in psychology).

Michael Larkin is a qualitative researcher and psychologist, who is interested in people’s experiences of distress, of the services which intervene in their lives, and of the relational context of their coping. His home page at the University of Birmingham is here.

Michael has been involved in two EBCD projects, one in physical health outpatient care (at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham), and one in acute psychiatric inpatient care (with colleagues in Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, which you can read about here).

Contact: m.larkin[at]bham.ac.uk

Who we are (part 2)

Ami Woods (MA in art psychotherapy).

Ami Woods is an art therapist working in Learning Disability and Complex Needs Services in the London Borough of Merton. Ami is a Council member for the British Association of Art Therapists working to develop a stronger service user presence through genuine co-production in research, practise, training and service provision. Ami has also been a mental health service user and it is this dual role experience that has driven her research interests which began with the publication ‘On Learning from being the Inpatient’ (International Journal of Art Therapy, 2011). She has lectured and published on these subjects.

Ami is a founder member of ResearchNet (a service user and service provider collaborative) and has particular interest in evidence based co-design in acute Mental Health. Ami was involved in all levels of the experienced based co-design work on an acute ward where she was an inpatient twice. She led the joint event and has presented her work with the ward manager. Ami co-facilitates a ResearchNet group for adults with Learning Disabilities/Autistic Spectrum Disorder/Mental Health at St Georges Medical School, London.

Relevant publications:

Woods, A., & Springham N (2011) On learning from being the inpatient, International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape. 16 (2) 60-68.

Springham, N., Findlay, D., Woods, A., and Harris, J. (2012) How can art therapy contribute to mentalization in borderline personality disorder? International Journal of Art Therapy: Inscape 17 (3) 115-130.


Arts Therapies Team, Jan Malinowski Centre, 114 Riverside Drive, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 4BW ami.woods[at]merton.gov.uk  or Tel: 020 8274 5145/5141.

Who we are (part 1) and welcome

We are are group of researchers, clinicians, service-users and managers who are interested in the Experience-based Co-design (EBCD) approach to service improvement, and particularly in how it can be applied in mental health services. We intend to use this blog to explain why we think EBCD has great potential for such services, to share our experiences of using EBCD, and to reflect upon what we’re learning about the challenges of using it (and how to overcome them). We’ll also share news of events that we’re involved (training, dissemination), articles that we write, and links to useful materials that we find.