Rightfullives – Success and Failure

The thing about doing something that hasn’t been done before, is that getting it right, so often seems to go along with getting it wrong. No matter how well something is executed there is always something that you haven’t foreseen. A bump in the road, a glitch in the Matrix, something that stops you from succeeding in quite the way that you thought you would. In my mind Rightfullives was and is a success. It did something that hadn’t been done before and strangely, probably couldn’t have been done in any other way than the way that it was. Certainly not with the resources that we had at our disposal. But along with that success is failure.
I’ll be honest, I’m gutted that things have turned out the way that they have. I won’t bore you with the details of how many hours it took to build Rightfullives.net as it stands today. The time that went into building the site, the effort that went into networking and social media, the thought went into putting the individual exhibits together and the remarkable creativity of the people who shared their stories, their interests and sometimes their pain. It is a privilege to have been able to be a part of it and thank you to everybody who has been a part of the things that Rightfullives does so very well.
Over the last 24 hours a lot of people have shared their opinion about what went wrong and what we should have done differently. How we should have ignored the opinions of one of the country’s most experienced self-advocates; alternating in almost equal measure with opinions stating how much we should have listened to her. Personally, I’m not sure that either was really the cause of what went wrong. Neither do I think that the partial failure of Rightfullives was really about whether or not self-advocates are better at representing the views and interests of people with learning disabilities than families. My answer to that would be that it depends on the individual and that the best way to move forward, is together.
On reflection, I think that the mistake that had the largest role to play in the partial failure of Rightfullives, was one that we made right at the beginning, and when I say we, I definitely mean me. And that mistake was not realising that in the end Rightfullives always had to belong to the people who contributed to it. It doesn’t matter who built it or who was on “the steering group” or who did this or that for it. It doesn’t matter if they are self-advocates, parents or practitioners – Rightfullives is its contributors and in my opinion, it was not realising that sooner which has led to the problems we’ve encountered.
So armed with that knowledge, I’m going to start on the next project, which again I’ll build for free. It will probably have a different name, but it will be a child of the things that worked with Rightfullives. It will give the contributors more control over the posts they share and allow them to upload their own stories, interests and exhibits. It will be designed to be as accessible as I can possibly make it. It will have a protocol and structure that will allow it to balance risk and safety. It will allow providers, commissioners and researchers to reach out to the community of people who will be a part of it. Above all it will be a platform for people with learning disabilities and autistic people, it will be a platform for their families and for the practitioners and organisations who want to be a part of it – and together they will own it.
I’ll need lots of help.
But first of all, I’ll need to find to find a number of organisations and individuals who’ll help to fund the expenses.


One thought on “Rightfullives – Success and Failure

  1. I seem to be missing something as I have no idea what went “wrong”. I am baffled by this post as from my point of view Rightfullives has been inspired and inspiring and all involved in contributing and curating are to be applauded.


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