Regular blog readers will have heard me talk a lot about how, as academics, we can engage with a much wider public and the benefits of doing so.
However, questions around how to engage the public are not just for academics, but critical for our politicians, policy makers and proponents of democracy seeking to ensure our political system is representative.
At BU, researchers from the Politics and Media Research Group including Dr Richard Scullion, Prof Barry Richards, Dr Dan Jackson, Dr Shelley Thompson, Dr Darren Lillker, Dr Kris Erickson and Dr Ana Adi are exploring how politics can engage the public, excite them, interest them and involve them in a time of seemingly widespread disinterest, disengagement and distrust in our political system.
As a group, their research focuses on political communication and in particular understanding the political consumer, how to engage and mobilise members of the public using the latest technologies, and how to understand the impacts of communication.
The purpose of the event was to create a two-way dialogue between political communicators, members of the public and our researchers, with attendees including local politicians, local campaigners, MPs and members of the public recruited via social media.
The day was divided around brief, interactive presentations before lively and animated discussion took place. In particular, debate was focused around why the public show disinterest in our political system and how we might consider re-engaging the public, encouraging people to get involved in politics. Dr Ana Adi has put together a Storify of the day that capture some of this discussion, which you can find here.
The event was a great example of the importance of sharing research findings with a targeted audience, who in turn through the lively discussion have been able to contribute to the co-creation of knowledge around this key political issue of our time.
More information about the Politics and Media research group can be found on their microsite.
If you are interested in developing an activity to engage the public around your research, please contact Becca in the RDU on firstname.lastname@example.org / 01202 961206.