How do you go from sharing your story on COIN to social change?

Well the starting point is that everything is connected and that if you follow the threads of forces impacting events in your life, you will start to notice how the wider societal system directly plays a role.

Sharing stories offers insight into structural systems and policies that impact people’s experiences.

Through reading stories and participating in discussion we see how our lives overlap with others.

Behind the scenes the COIN team bring the stories and discussion together to find insights.

Insights are shared back to the COIN community, organizations and policy makers.

For example, how does Alex talking about the experience of surviving a life-threatening illness achieve the aims of COIN? When Alex talks about the kind of hospital care experienced and the constraints on hospital staff, that connects to health policy. Talking about the loss of income as a freelancer unable to work and the limited state support available connects with employment policy. The challenges in obtaining support at home during recuperation from treatment leads into consideration of social care policy.  Through addressing how society organizes and manages health care, employment and social care, changes to just three aspects of life will make a big difference to anyone who ends up in a comparable situation to Alex. So what might initially have just seemed to be a story about Alex being ill, very quickly reveals itself to actually being about structural systems with policy serving as a proxy.

Anyone reading a story on COIN can comment and share information about useful resources, as well as share their own story. By coming together in the Discussion section of COIN, there is an opportunity for collective consideration of strategies to tackle the forces and systems impacting the type of life altering experiences people have. This can result in an exchange of approaches to address change. In the Taking Action section can be found some examples of ways to bring people (in local areas) together to explore and potentially collaborate to make a difference on their local or national circumstances. Informed by the stories and discussions on the COIN site, the COIN team will directly feed into thinking by organisations and policy makers around themes related to what is shared.

  • Meaningful events become a way to situate the personal within the wider political framework of life, and to facilitate reflection on how change at the latter level directly connects with the former.
  • Through reading personal stories shared in a guided manner, people can better glimpse how their lives overlap with other peoples.
  • Experiencing stories on COIN serves to illustrate the kinds of people who could benefit from how such experiences play out, and reveal potential allies in campaigns to achieve change.
  • The need for a holistic approach to change is made stronger through highlighting the different aspects of society that combine to shape the way people’s lives unfold.

When we have a deeper understanding of how the society we create and sustain impacts the lives of different people within it, the chances for a better world can improve dramatically. However it is up to all of us to contribute towards establishing ways of bringing about change whether that’s through direct action, political choices or values we endorse, and by collaborating with other people we increase the chances of successfully doing so. COIN exists to help make this a reality.