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Introducing our Public Engagement and Media Theme : Dates for your diary in 2021-22

Engaging the public in your research: the why, how, where and when


In these dates for your diary for 2021-22, Professor Barry Smith introduces guidance and support available to members of the FLF Development Network on how to carry out your research and do public engagement.

Academics are increasingly urged to share their research with other organisations and the wider public. To do this productively, in a way that works for you – and your intended audiences – we will provide guidance and support on how you can engage the public in your research meaningfully in a way that advances your research and helps you build your academic portfolio. We will consider how to build support for your project while increasing awareness of your research field as a whole. We will look at what audiences you need to reach, ways you can reach out to communities and engage with museums and galleries, and how you can attract the media to your research and mange relationships with them.


Good public engagement can generate impact for your project, develop your networks and contacts, and expand your spheres of influence, increasing your opportunities for working with non-academic partners.


We have listed the first tranche of events for 2021-22 below, and more will come next year. Bookings will open three months before each date. Please let us know what else you would like to see, and we will do our best to include it in the next round of events.



For those at the outset of their research project who wanted to know how engaging the public could help shape the trajectory of their research:


We ran a 90 min surgery on: How to use public engagement as a research tool on 17 June. You will be able to 'catch up' on this session in the coming weeks on our Videos page, and we will be running the session again in April 2022.



For those with results to share or hoping to influence particular audiences:

  • Sept 2021: Attracting the Media to your Research (Registration opening shortly) Workshop led by Professor Sarah Churchwell, Chair in the Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study with editors from BBC Online, radio producers, science correspondents, and editors.


Looking to involve the public in your research?


We look at ways to move beyond crowdsourcing and develop types of participatory research and citizen science.

  • October 2021: From Crowdsourcing to Citizen Science Bite-sized workshop where we will discuss examples from those who have run successful citizen science projects.


Where can you go to meet the public? How do you reach new audiences?


We look at ready-made opportunities to showcase your research plus innovative ways for researchers to meet new audiences and keep them engaged.

  • November 2021: Making the Most of Festivals and Building Partnerships Workshop where we will hear from programme directors at The Cheltenham Festivals, Being Human Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and PIs running community projects.


How do you start planning your public engagement activities?


What are the do’s and don’ts? What tips can others pass on?

  • November 2021: How to do public engagement: a toolkit (Surgery)


What can your public engagement activity generate and what can it contribute to others?


Building a portfolio of engagement and knowledge exchange. Sustaining the work you have done with the public, keeping them engaged. We will hear from recipients of effective public engagement and look at how this creates social good.

  • December 2021: Different Kinds and Values of Public Engagement (Panel Discussion with Q&A)


How can you share your research with new and more inclusive audiences?


What venues and formats can you find to reach out further and bring more people into the discussion?


We will speak to practitioners who have had considerable success is reaching neglected communities and getting beyond the regular festival and museum goers.

  • January 2022: Finding New Audiences for your Research (Bite-sized workshop)


How do you stay on track and protect your time with engaging with other sectors, and the public?


Dealing with different time-scales, managing expectations, developing relationships.

  • February 2022: Engaging with Other Sectors and the Public on your own Terms (Bite-sized workshop)


How do you ensure Responsible Research and Innovation?


It is important that members of the public not only hear about research but can interact with scientists and policy makers to deliberate on issues of social concern that are relevant to future policy decisions. How do researchers gain practice in engaging in dialogues with the public and other stakeholders (funders, businesses and pressure groups)? Together with members of UKRI we will explore the issues and the needs of researchers who have duties to follow the principles of responsible research and innovation and discover what support is available to them.

  • March 2022: Responsible Research and Innovation and public dialogue (Workshop)


How do you work with the museum and gallery sector?


Have you worked with the museum and gallery sector? Do you want to it and don’t know where to begin? We bring together research directors from Tate Modern, the Science Museum, the British Library and the Getty Center to discuss the ways research can contribute to what they offer the public and how you can be involved.

  • March 2022: Research Collaborations with Museums and Galleries (Panel Discussion with Q&A)


How can researchers in the Arts and Humanities encourage the public to participate in and help them shape their research?


What forms of citizen research are there and how do they work? We will look at examples and hear from practitioners and funders.

  • April 2022: From Public Engagement to Participatory Research in the Arts and Humanities (Bite-sized workshop)



Other Offerings


Of course, don't forget that there are other related offerings via the FLF Development Network:

  • PLUS funds: if you want to organise something yourself (or with other FLFs), then you may have an idea which is eligible for PLUS funding of up to £25k.

  • Mentoring: you will soon be invited to complete a matching form to enable us to find mentor for you - you could use this opportunity to be matched to a mentor who can give advice on public engagement and knowledge exchange!

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