Continuing on from the success of the Festival of Learning this summer, the public engagement team at BU have been very busy planning several more public engagement initiatives for the Festival of Learning on Tour.
Towards the end of June, Dr Julia Best and PhD student Jacqueline Pitt ventured to Glastonbury festival in order to convey the research of the Chicken Project (Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions) to a large and varied audience. Armed with several skeletons, an assortment of archaeological finds and a large number of interactive timelines, maps and charts, the team set up a stand in the Science Tent within the Green Future’s field. The activities and information were very well received with around 800 visitor interactions taking place, usually lasting between 5-10 minutes. Read more at: http://www.sciculture.ac.uk/rise-with-the-crow-ahrc-public-engagement-at-glastonbury-festival/.
Julia commented on the weekend saying “Thank you for letting us be part of this experience. It was an amazing festival to be involved with and such a diverse audience to talk to! I’ve always enjoyed doing outreach work at festivals and Glastonbury is about as good as they get. It was great for us to be part of the Science Tent and to be able to show our research in a new light. If I had a pound for every time a visitor said to me something along the lines of “oh cool, I didn’t know you could do/tell/see/find that” I’d be rich”.
Last weekend in collaboration with the STEM Outreach team, the public engagement team attended the three-day family orientated Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle where they ran three hands on activities. The team engaged more than 3500 children and parents in the science tent. Several of the activities run included a partnership with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site education team.
In September the team hope to take several engagement activities to Bestival and are now looking at planning further ‘on tour’ activities all the way up to Christmas – so if you know of any interesting events that the Festival of Learning on Tour could attend, or would like to contribute an activity, please get in touch with a member of the team who will happily discuss your ideas and support delivery further.
The Festival of Learning on Tour offers a unique way for academics and PGR’s at BU to engage the public with your research and develop lateral connections outside the classroom. A recently posted article in the Guardian discusses the increasing alignment between engaging with the public and research and how it’s no time to build up this presence in public debate: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2014/jul/21/10-ways-make-public-engagement-work-for-you
Develop your potential, tap into a community of wider peers, and build up a presence about your research this Autumn with the Festival of Learning on Tour!
Barry Squires – firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Kay – email@example.com