Creative ways to include new voices


By Jaimella Espley, Creative Lead

27 July 2023


We are experimenting with a collective mosaic-making methodology to connect new and diverse people into policy discussions.



Photo: Jaimella Espley

Look at these shards of pottery, brick and glass, tumbled smooth over the decades by waves. Which one are you drawn to and why? Maybe it’s the yellow piece because its colour looks like sunshine and matches your mood. Or the green sea glass because you care about environmental issues. Or perhaps it’s the blue pottery because it reminds you of tea and cake with your nan when you were small.

Introducing: Mosaics for Policy Development

We’re working on a project that uses the human capacity to ascribe meaning to objects to create an open and unintimidating environment for people to visualise complex issues and share their ideas and expertise in conversations about policy. We’ll be bringing together diverse groups of people – experts by experience, healthcare professionals, academics, politicians and civil servants – to build mosaics together.
In the collective mosaic-making process everyone is equal and invited to put their stories and lived experiences on the table, encouraging people to listen to and understand other perspectives. 

Supported by a grant from Wellcome, Scientia Scripta will lead a coalition of partners to trial collaborative mosaic-making to help open up policy discussions between stakeholders at a national and local level in the UK. We will use this method, which uses beach-combed materials, to create an open and unintimidating environment for participants to visualise complex issues and share their ideas and expertise.
We will be evaluating the method at different stages of the policy development process and on different policy issues, in partnership with University College London, Manchester Metropolitan University and Policy Connect.

Scientia Scripta is one of four partners in Wellcome’s global search for creative tools for policy development

In February, we started work responding to a call from Wellcome for organisations who shared their enthusiasm for experimentation in policy work. I’d recently left NICE, so this was a perfect time for me to get stuck in.

We recently met Wellcome’s other three partners and are so excited to be part of such an innovative and passionate group of people who will be experimenting with:

  • serious games and simulation to break down barriers in mental health policy
  • humour and circus arts to think differently about the climate crisis
  • a ‘Tomorrow Party’ to imagine climate and disaster-resilient futures to unlock new solutions.

As we spoke, themes of playfulness, storytelling, and valuing lived experience came up again and again, suggesting huge potential for synergy.

As Wellcome says: “This isn’t about rejecting tried-and-tested policy methods such as roundtable discussions and expert consultations. Instead, we’re exploring whether adding creative approaches to our policy toolkit could help us generate different types of policy insight and maximise our impact.”

The pilot will last for 6 months, and we’ll be updating you about it here about regularly, as well as posting on our social media.

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