Tagged / communications

BU research explores the use of comic artistry and storytelling in public health information

Research at Bournemouth University is looking at the effectiveness of comic artistry and storytelling in the sharing of public health messaging.

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) the project will catalogue and analyse comic-style public health graphics, specifically those created during the Covid-19 pandemic, and seek to make recommendations on how the comic medium can be effective at delivering public health messaging to help drive behaviour change.

The idea for the research began as Dr Anna Feigenbaum, the lead researcher, and her colleagues Alexandra Alberda and William Proctor shared clever comic-style graphics with one another that had been created and shared on social media about Covid-19. These single, sharable, comic-style graphics blend the artistry and storytelling of comics with the Covid-19 messaging we have seen throughout the pandemic.

Dr Feigenbaum, an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, said, “What we saw from these comic graphics was the way that the artistry and storytelling combined to share messages in a more emotive and interesting way. This built on work we were already doing on how public health messaging could utilise this medium to make their own messaging more engaging and even lead to better behavioural outcomes.”

José Blàzquez, the project’s postdoctoral researcher, has started work in collating over 1200 examples of comic-style Covid-19 messaging with the aim of understanding what makes them so compelling, and how this genre of communication could be further used to create what the project’s research illustrator, Alexandra Alberda, calls an “accessible, approachable and relatable” style of messaging when communicating important public health messages. The team aims to build a database that archives these comics, including information about their artistic and storytelling techniques, audience engagement, circulation, and what implications they may have for the sharing of health messaging in the future.

The final outcomes will be shared as a report and an illustrated set of good practice guidelines. Results will also be shared in the team’s edited collection Comics in the Time of COVID-19 and a special journal issue for Comics Grid. It is hoped these guidelines will inform public health communicators, as well as graphic designers and educators.

The team has even created their own Covid-19 web-comics, published by Nightingale on Medium. https://medium.com/nightingale/covid-19-data-literacy-is-for-everyone-46120b58cec9

Dr Feigenbaum continued, “Data comics are on a real upsurge as people look to make sense of the world through data visualisation, and there are some wonderful examples from amateur artists who have been incredibly clever and creative in taking what are, essentially, public health messages, and turning them into emotive comic-style stories.

“These sharable comic graphics are engaging and informed – there is a lot to learn here about the way we make sense of the world and how this genre could help us to see the communication of important messages in a whole new light. What we’re researching now could be seen as best practice in years to come.”

In addition to the main team of Dr. Feigenbaum, Dr. Blàzquez and Alexandra Alberda, this research will be conducted with Co-investigators Dr. Billy Proctor, Dr. Sam Goodman and Professor Julian McDougall, along with advisory partners Public Health Dorset, the Graphic Medicine Collective, Information Literacy Group and Comics Grid.

More information about the project will soon be available at www.covidcomics.org.

Funding Competition: Commercialisation of Quantum Technologies (Innovate UK & EPSRC)

money

Innovate UK and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are to invest a total of £19.5 million to support projects in Quantum Technologies. Projects may involve technologies belonging to one of the core groups defined in the UK’s roadmap for quantum technologies: clocks, sensors, imaging, communications or computing.

The call is now open, the registration deadline is 28th September and the call closes at noon on the 5th October.

Projects must be industry-led, but projects involving academics as partners are welcome, provided academic costs do not exceed 50% of the total.

Up to £6 million will be available for Feasibility Studies, which will fund the development of early stage devices, component technologies and for marketing studies. Projects will last up to 12 months and have total costs of £50k- £400k.

The Collaborative R&D call will seek to connect the supply chain, to deliver a demonstrator technology and must include an end user. A fund of £13.5 million is available. Total project values should be £500k – £2 million, but an addition 10% is available which can only be used for capital equipment, taking the maximum project value to £2.2 million.

The call brief is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/funding-competition-commercialisation-of-quantum-technologies

Networking and briefing events – click on the links for more information  as dates, times, venues and content of the events do vary.

6 September

8 September

13 September

If you are interested in this call  you must contact RKEO with adequate notice before the deadline. Please note that some funding bodies specify a time for submission as well as a date. Please confirm this with your RKEO Funding Development Officer.

You can set up your own personalised alerts on Research Professional. If you need help setting these up, just ask your School’s/Faculty’s Funding Development Officer in RKEO or view the recent blog post here. If you are thinking of applying, why not add an expression of interest on Research Professional so that BU colleagues can see your intention to bid and contact you to collaborate.

Linking research and practice – Appointment to international panel

Professor Tom Watson of the Faculty of Media & Communication has been appointed to the Academic Advisory Panel of AMEC (the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication). He joins six other leading communication measurement and evaluation researchers from Australia, Germany, UK and US. The Panel is chaired by Professor Jim Macnamara of the University of Technology Sydney.

The panel’s role is to “provide expert advice and input to AMEC in relation to research methodology and methods, education and learning, and standards”.

“The measurement of public relations and corporate communication is an important and perennial professional issue,” said Professor Watson. “AMEC is the international body for the communication measurement sector and includes all the major media measurement suppliers in more than 30 countries.”

Professor Watson’s co-authored book (with Paul Noble), Evaluating Public Relations is now in its third edition. “Increasingly, there is a shift from measurement to evaluation, with the understanding of the value created through communication becoming a critical issue for communicators. In the book’s latest edition, we focused more on concepts of value. Creating world-wide standards on value is becoming more important and so the AMEC initiative to create this high-level link between research and practice is very timely.

iamecMASTER

Effective channels for course or unit communication

Student using smart phone

How and when we communicate course or unit level information with students can impact their perception of course organisation and management and subsequently their student experience.

The Student Communications Team and Student Experience Champion Mark Ridolfo host a workshop, Effective channels for student course communication, on Tuesday 14 October.

The event will explore a range of channels and how to use them effectively. Topics will include:

  • How course communication can impact student experience
  • The current communication environment and managing the expectation of your students
  • Some effective course communication examples from colleagues across BU, including:       
    • Text messages (Students Comms Team)
    • iBU (Amy Blackham, (Student Communications Manager)
    • myBU (Mark Ridolfo, Student experience Champion)
    • Facebook and Twitter (Dr Ana Adi, Lecturer in Corporate and Marketing Communications)
    • Other social media examples (Jasmine Connolly, Social Media Officer)
  • Expert panel discussion / Q&A.

You can find out more and register at the Staff Development and Engagement pages.

Readers of this blog post might also have a particular interest in Julie Northam’s blog post Benefits of research-led learning on the student experience and NSS scores.

Make Your Voice Heard: communications support for BU’s academic community

There are so many important reasons for researchers to share their knowledge with the wider society. To name a few:

  • Communication of research findings is an important part of the research lifecycle and significant in achieving impact;
  • It’s important that our researchers share their knowledge and insights on wider societal issues so their informed opinions are heard and (we hope) listened to;
  • Having a recognisable voice on your subject matter, means you’re known by policy makers when the time comes to inform a change.

That’s why the Press Office, together with R&KEO, is hosting Make Your Voice Heard on Wednesday 10th September. At this event you’ll learn how to do this as effectively as possible, with practical communications tips and techniques, whilst joining in discussions on what academics bring to media discourse.

John Fletcher has some particularly interesting insights on the importance of communication. You can read his recent blog post online here.

Please book onto this event if you haven’t already done so via this Eventbrite link. There are a limited number of places still available.

Make Your Voice Heard

Logo with a megaphone and event title

It’s not enough just to do cutting edge research. We also know that we have to share it and pass on our findings or even our views about matters that are important to society.  Such profile-raising can help attract future research funding, raise our standing and that of BU and, with an eye on REF2020, help achieve impact.

Talking to journalists, using social media and updating blogs or websites does not come naturally to all of us and can be seen as just another demand placed on people who are already struggling with a busy schedule.

The communications department at the University have offered to make it easier for us to get our voice heard. They are hosting an event entitled Make Your Voice Heard to explore how to do this with impact and effect.

Taking place on 10 September 2014, we will discuss important topics, such as how academics can enrich the media and how to balance different stakeholder wants and needs. There will also be opportunities to acquire some practical tools, tips and techniques.

Ultimately, it would be great to see more of our staff sharing their unique and valuable perspectives on matters important to society and raising the profile of BU in the local, regional and national scene. Whether that’s through informed comment or sharing research outcomes, the communications team can help us do it more effectively.

‘Make Your Voice Heard’ runs from 9:00 – 14:00 on Talbot Campus and we will even be providing lunch. It is open to all researchers, from PGRs to Professors.

You can see the full schedule and book your place by following this link to the Eventbrite page. If you would like to find out more before booking, please contact Sarah Gorman (Corporate Communications Assistant).

I look forward to seeing you there…..

Citizen journalism, hippos and Bio-Beach: Lots of great content on the research website

I’ve just counted up what has been added to the new research website over the last week (Tuesday 27 May – Monday 2 June) and there have been 16 new pieces of content. That’s an average of three pieces of exciting BU research news being shared every day.

The new site was implemented at the end of 2013. As in any big organisation, changing processes or systems can take time, but I’m so pleased to see that colleagues are engaging with it and sharing their research through it. People are simply logging in and uploading their content themselves quickly and easily, rather than having to log a job and go through various other people.

The content is wide ranging and really interesting. Some colleagues are using the site to promote public engagement activity or give details of new publications. Some highlights from the last week include:

If you’re not familiar with the site yet you can log in herewith your usual BU username and password. There’s a very handy technical guide you can download from the first page you come to once you’re in the system.

I’m currently arranging some other training dates and we have a specific session with the Psychology department this month. If any other departments or research groups would like a session all to themselves, please let me know and we’ll get something booked in. Alternatively, if you think a one-to-one session would help then I’m happy to sit down with you and go through it. Just email me.

And remember, the site is externally facing, aimed at our research users, peers at other institutions, funders and members of the public. It is different from this blog, which is aimed at the internal BU research community. It’s worth just keeping this in mind when you’re deciding where to post your content.

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed content. It makes me happy!

3rd edition of ‘Evaluating Public Relations’ published

The third edition of the enduring public relations text, Evaluating Public Relations, has been published by Kogan Page. Much revised by authors Professor Tom Watson (Media School) and former lecturer Paul Noble, the book has greater emphasis on the measurement of social media and concepts of value created by that communication.

“When the first edition of Evaluating Public Relations came out in 2005, it mostly dealt with the measurement of media relations activity”, Professor Watson said. “In it, we included a chapter on how to measure PR-influenced coverage on a no- or low-cost basis. An updated version is included in the latest edition.

“But the world of PR practice has moved on and so the book includes the measurement and evaluation of social media, more focus on outcomes rather than outputs, and advice to meet increasing demands that PR/communication delivers value to the organisation.”

Professor Watson said that the new edition calls for PR/communication practitioners to take “a big step forward in the planning and strategy-setting processes.”

“Not only should communication objectives align with organisational objectives, but practitioners must ensure that communication is part of the organisation or client’s own objectives.”

The third edition includes new and revised chapters based on Professor Watson’s research into the history of PR measurement and his work, with Professor Ansgar Zerfass of Leipzig University, on methods of performance management in PR/communications.