Let’s Talk Islington – Islington Council's biggest-ever resident engagement programme

Through Let's Talk Islington, the Council wanted to understand more about residents’ perceptions and experiences of inequality and their hopes for the future, with the ultimate goal to change the way we work to tackle inequality and create a more equal Islington.

Let's Talk Islington: dismantling inequality in Islington

Donna Jones will explore the experiences of inequality among Islington's LGBTQIA+ communities, and elder communities, in two projects with the borough's council.

Date: 11 November 2022

London Met’s Head of Social Work, Donna Jones, is working with Islington Council on two major projects to support inclusion and dismantle inequality in the borough.


The first project sees Donna work with filmmakers Nicole Cyrus and Sonny Thaker to identify and explore the experiences of Islington’s LGBTQIA+ communities of inequality.

The methodological approach for this project is ‘VideoVoice’, a method that has been used to develop new understandings of the experiences and needs of  LGBTQIA+ communities who have been under-represented in previous projects.

VideoVoice is an approach that uses documentary video filmmaking to explore personal experiences, and the videos are accompanied by narratives that tell the story behind the video.

VideoVoice is a form of participatory action research. Participatory action research emphasises researching with people rather than about them with the researcher and participants developing knowledge and greater awareness together that can lead to improvement and social change.

Storytelling with Elders

The second project, ‘Storytelling with Elders’ recognises the value of “story” and the ability of storytelling to build empathy and engagement. Stories do not need to be written down and illustrated to be worthy of retelling. It starts from the position that a good story is just as valuable to the teller as the listener, especially if it’s shared in warm conversation, with room for thoughtful – or emotional – pauses of remembrance. 

Donna Jones is leading the project and has worked with a group of identified elders living in Islington to further understand their experiences of poverty and inequality. The project aimed to foster a sense of community, recognising that the elders may be isolated and experiencing loneliness, especially as we are coming out of an extended period of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Story Gatherers Merita Avdyli and Ricardo Pereira Carvalho worked with individual elders to listen to stories of their experiences, using prompts and a personal memento identified by the elder as having personal meaning to them. The stories were recorded and transcribed, with consent, so that themes could be identified, analysed and passed on to Islington Council

Elders were photographed by a professional photographer with their memento so that their image could accompany their story at an exhibition which highlights all the projects developed as part of the Let’s Talk Islington initiative.

Donna Jones, Head of Social Work at London Met