On Monday 28th April, we held an event at the University of Birmingham to launch the ‘Tools for Talking.’ The event was attended by researchers, practitioners, and managers, from a range of health and social care organisations.

Dr Michael Larkin, Dr Gemma Unwin, Dr Biza Kroese and Prof John Rose have been working on a project, funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research, which set out to understand the social care experiences of people with learning disabilities from minority ethnic populations. The Tools for Talking are comprised of a set of short videos, and a set of collaborative discussion activities. Each video illustrates a theme from the interviews which the team conducted with people with learning disabilities from minority ethnic populations.

The Tools for Talking are designed to be used by support workers and people with learning disabilities. They were all refined in response to feedback provided by people with learning disability and by care providers, at an earlier event reported previously in the University of Birmingham, School of Psychology News feed. They were produced with help from a specialist designer at Easy Read Online.

Each paired video and activity enables the service-user and support worker to come to a collaborative understanding of a different aspect of the service-user’s needs and priorities – such as their cultural identity, relational and social network, or preferred relationship with their support worker. At the event, the videos were given away on DVDs, and the activities were provided in booklets. We hope that the activities will provide interesting and engaging ways for services to come to a better understanding of their service-users’ needs, preferences, and identities.

Further information about the team’s research can be found on their project website (, and some of their initial findings about the complex nature of participants’ cultural identities can be explored in this video from a recent conference presentation ( and these slides ( An overview of the project, and the story of the development of the Tools for Talking is available in this presentation from the event on 28th April (”