Co-Present Biography: Understanding and Managing Stakeholder Differences to Improve Social Policy Outcomes


Co-present biography is a method for bringing together diverse perspectives on social policy issues and resolving and/or accommodating disagreement and conflict among social policy actors. We developed the method in response to a critical incident at an event in which the three of us were the lead presenters. We begin this case study by summarising the incident, and the process by which we used it to commence a new and exploratory way of working and researching together. This is followed by an overview of our research process, and our individual reflections upon it. We then discuss ‘business as usual’ approaches and the relationship between co-present biography and collective biography to emphasise what is distinctive about our method. We finish by providing an overview of co-present biography, including useful theoretical concepts, the purposes for which it can be used, scenarios to which it is suited and key elements of the method, to enable others to further develop and/or use it.

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