The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) held their second national conference on 29 and 30 November 2011 in Bristol and three members of staff from Bournemouth University School of Health and Social Care were lucky enough to attend this highly stimulating, engaging and informative conference.
The conference themes were:
- making an impact with your research
- creating an engagement culture
- effective partnerships and engaging students
There was representation from universities across the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as from several Research Councils, HEFCE and a large number of research funding bodies and support organisations.
A summary of the conference discussions will be posted on the NCCPE website shortly. See http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/engage-2011-making-impact
We chose from a wide range of workshops in addition to the four plenary sessions. Much of the conference content was about learning from the Beacon sites in Manchester, Edinburgh, Durham/Newcastle, Norwich, UCL, and Wales. http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/about/beacons
We learned about the manifesto for public engagement which 50 UK universities have signed up to and we heard from two universities who have signed the manifesto and who talked about their work in developing a strategic approach to public engagement and its impact on the university, its students and staff and its impact on society. Successes in public engagement lead to successes in securing funding. http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/why-does-it-matter/manifesto
The NCCPE introduced a tool, ‘the Edge tool’ for universities to undertake their own baseline assessment of where they are in relation to the levels of public engagement which helps to plan a way forward for embedding an engagement culture across the organisation. https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/sites/default/files/The%20EDGE%20tool.pdf
We also heard about the guidance available from the RCUK about how to use public engagement with research as a pathway to impact www.rcuk.ac.uk/kei/impacts
We heard about a variety of approaches to public engagement, ranging from TV appearances with consequent email communications from members of the public, public lectures, visits to schools, engaging local businesses and community partners through to dialogue with members of the public (guidance at http://edinburghbeltane.net/content/dialoguetheory and http://edinburghbeltane.net/content/dialoguehandbook).
If you would like to hear more about the conference and how you might increase public engagement in your work, please get in touch with Louise Worswick firstname.lastname@example.org , Jennifer Roddis email@example.com or Angela Turner-Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the new Fusion strategy, BU is committed to investing in public engagement and developing an engagement culture. The UET has recently approved a proposal to invest in two public engagement posts in 2012 – further details on the blog soon!