Over the last few months we have all had to adapt to new ways of working and interacting with other people, which includes thinking differently about how we engage the public with our research. Below, Dr Oliver Gingrich describes his experience of running an online engagement event, the logistics and support he received from BU’s Public Engagement with Research (PER) team – and most importantly, the impact of sharing his research.
My experience running an online event – KIMA: Noise
For me, as for many others, the new realities in the early days of the Covid-19 health crisis resulted in all new challenges in continuing research practice and dissemination. To help tackle these challenges I thought I’d share our experience developing and running an online event earlier this year, in case you find it useful.
I am a researcher and creative practitioner, and artist with the collective Analema Group, recipients of an Arts Council England project grant for the art and research project KIMA Noise; an investigation into the effect of urban noise on health and wellbeing that we conducted for over three years with one of the leading experts in the field Prof. Stephen Stansfeld (Queen Mary University of London). Over the years Prof. Stansfeld has worked on the effect of noise specifically on learning and spearheaded the European Network on Noise and Health (ENNAH) and is currently working on a RANCH study on the effect of air traffic noise across 4 different countries. The Analema Group is a collective of four people founded by my colleague, the artist Evgenia Emets, Dr. Alain Renaud (Research Fellow at Bournemouth University) and the visual developer David Negrao.
With the Analema Group, we were looking at effective strategies to communicate the known impact of noise on health to wider audiences, including local communities. Having been appointed Tate Exchange Associate, we brought this project to Tate Modern, with support of the Arts Council, resulting in several installations, talks, workshops, the publication of a monograph and ultimately a film. The success of the exhibition, talks and workshops not only transcended through the audience numbers, visitors and participants, but moreover the type of discussions we were able to have with local communities, policymakers, and other artists and activists. The art film KIMA: Noise captured this effort, but with the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 we needed to find new ways to present this work to the public.
Thanks to Adam Morris and Brian McNulty from Bournemouth University’s world-class Knowledge Exchange & Impact Team (KEIT), we were able to communicate these research outputs to a wider public including BU’s academics: Initially being unfamiliar with the logistics of organising an online screening, I was more than grateful for the handholding and support by Adam in promoting and positioning the screening of the art film, but also for his and his team’s support in orchestrating the event. In the case of our event, online literally meant connected, as speakers from 3 countries (The UK, Portugal and Switzerland) came together.
At the screening of ‘KIMA: Noise – The Film’, we were honoured to welcome Prof. Stansfeld as one of our panelists, as well as Camilla Yavas (Film maker), Paola D’Albore (community engagement), Evgenia Emets (artist) and myself as researcher. The success of the event was highlighted through the wide networks we were able to activate including researchers at Bournemouth, interested artists, activists, and the wider BCP publics. The initial world premiere of the film via Bournemouth University was followed by a vibrant Q&A and discussion on the effect of noise on health and wellbeing that worked as well online as it would have in the space of the Tate. Thanks to the success of this world premiere, the film has since been seen by hundreds of people, with further screenings being planned nationally and internationally. The big benefit of an online event is that audiences and speakers can come together from all corners of the world, and the barrier to entry is so low, which makes it much easier to reach a critical mass. I want to express my sincere feelings of gratitude to BU’s outstanding Public Engagement team, who held our hand every step of the way, and assured the success of KIMA: Noise.
More information on the project can be found here:
Watch the Film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIXo5xt0_pw&t=32s
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