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Connecting with the public: Research Communication, Public Engagement and Outreach

Course Description

Are you passionate about your subject and would like to be able to communicate it more widely? Would you like expert support and advice in developing your skills and understanding the wider context of public engagement? Can you see opportunities to involve the public in your research?

Dcotoral Skills Development Programme, Department of Science and Technology Studies, and the UCL Public Engagement Unit are delighted to announce a purpose-designed series of courses tailored specifically to supporting UCL research postgraduates interested in public communication and engagement. The interactive sessions will provide practical opportunities to explore the variety of ways in which researchers can effectively interact with public groups, from straightforward communication of research findings to dialogue about controversial issues to ‘citizen science’.

The sessions are open to students of all backgrounds and levels of experience, and are designed to build on your existing skills and interests. An initial (compulsory) introductory session will provide you with the background and context for further developing your public engagement skills. Further sessions will allow you to plan and implement activities, formats and/or events that are best suited to your particular subject specialism and interests. 

This programme is delivered by Department of Science and Technology Studies, and the UCL Public Engagement Unit.

Dr Simon J Lock is a Lecturer in Science Communication and Governance. His research focuses on the multiple ways in which the public engage with science and technology in different contexts. He has also worked on public engagement projects for the UK Government, The Royal Society. the RSA and the Wellcome Trust.

Karen Bultitude  is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication and Director of Research (STS) in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. Her expertise focuses on how best to engage non-experts with research, especially in the areas of live (face-to-face) and digital environments. Recent relevant and forthcoming publications have included perspectives on using ‘open science’ as a form of public engagement, an investigation of science blogging practices and motivations, and an invited review of web-based communication channels for communicating research findings.

Kimberley Freeman is a Public Engagement Manager with PEU. Please contact her for any public engagement queries relating to this course

Full programme:

Part One:  Introduction to Public Engagement - a pre-requisite for all other Public Engagement sessions

Course tutor: Dr Simon J Lock

Whether you're new to the idea of engaging public audiences with your research, or already have some experience in this area, this introductory workshop will provide you with key information about the context and wider benefits of public engagement. Led by nationally recognized experts in public engagement, this session will incorporate an overview of this growing field from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Via interactive activities you explore the variety of reasons why you might want to engage, the benefits to you and your research and the variety of options open to you going forward.

Please note that this workshop is a pre-requisite for all other Public Engagement graduate school sessions.

Part Two: How to Engage: Practical Public Engagement

Course tutor: Dr Simon J Lock

Building on the background covered in the ‘Introduction to Public Engagement’ course, this session takes the next step, helping you to develop practical skills around how to identify specific public groups and how best to engage with them. Real life case studies from professional practitioners will provide inspiration and concrete examples to highlight existing best practice covering, for example, mechanisms such as citizen science, community participation and online media. Groupwork will enable you to test out your new-found skills in developing an initial plan for a public engagement project suited to a public group of your choice. 

Note that you must attend the Introduction to Public Engagement course first.
This course is highly recommended for anyone considering taking the third course in this series, ‘Engaging with Public Audiences: Extended Activity Development’.

Part Three: Engaging with Public Audiences: Extended Activity Development

Course tutor: Dr Karen Bultitude

Designed as a series of hands-on intensive workshops, this course enables you to materialise your own idea for a public engagement activity. Working with expert practitioners over a 5-week period, this is an advanced programme which will allow you to explore your own interests whilst benefitting from dedicated feedback and guidance. You are expected to attend all five sessions, the content of which will be adapted to respond to participant needs, but is likely to cover elements such as:

  • Brainstorming and creativity: Clarifying why you want to do public engagement and developing a unique project idea related to your research, including using creativity techniques to think 'outside the box'.
  • Project planning: Turning your idea into reality through making the most of your own interests and skills, as well as tapping into existing opportunities and taking into account your chosen audience's needs.
  • Finding funding: Tops tips for sourcing funding and other support for your public engagement activity, both within UCL and externally. This session will include a mock funding panel using real (anonymised) funding applications.
  • Evaluation: How to determine whether your project is successful and identify any impacts and learning that arose.
  • Pitching: How to convince others of the value of your idea via a short verbal presentation.

The course will culminate with a celebration session where each participant will give a short Pecha Kucha presentation about their idea. There is no need to have an existing idea at the start of the course.

In order to be eligible you must attend the Introduction to Public Engagement and How to Engage courses first, or demonstrate equivalent previous background training. Please contact the course tutor in advance if you have any queries on this point.

Participants who attend this course will be eligible for the PEU's 'Train and Engage' funding.

Part Four: Taking Part In Festivals: How To Get Involved, Projects To Run, And What You’ll Get Out Of It

Course tutor: Kimberley Freeman

This course aims to inspire and support you in coming up with creative ideas for participating in science, community, art and music festivals, in a way that links to your research at UCL. Come and learn from UCL researchers who have done it themselves, and be introduced to best practice. We’ll cover the ways to get involved, how to plan and deliver your festival activity, and how to evaluate what you and your festival audience get out of it.

Note that you must attend Part One: Introduction to Public Engagement and Part Two: How to Engage: Practical Public Engagement first, or have attended the Train and Engage programme.

Part Five: Facilitation Skills For Engagement

Course tutor: Kimberley Freeman

UCL believes public engagement should be based on two way dialogue – how can you make that happen using facilitation techniques? This practical course will give you some tools and resources, and the confidence, to work with non-academic groups. You’ll hear firsthand from UCL researchers who have used innovative facilitation techniques in their own public engagement activities. You’ll even find these skills useful inside academia, as you find new ways to encourage other people’s creativity.

Note that you must attend Part One: Introduction to Public Engagement and Part Two: How to Engage: Practical Public Engagement first, or have attended the Train and Engage programme

Research Communication Workshops

These full day workshops are designed to give students skills required to communicate to media and general public. The sessions explore the following subjects (please see the course website for more details): 

STS PEchart

View the chart or download printable version

Please note that Part One: Introduction to Public Engagement is a pre-requisite for the remaining sessions of the programme and students who attended Part One and Two will have booking priority.

Students who complete Part Three: Engaging with Public Audiences: Extended Activity Development will be eligible to apply for the grant from  Train and Engage programme.

Researcher Development Framework Categories

D2) Communication and dissemination
D3) Engagement and impact

Course Recommended for

This course is particularly relevant to the following groups:

  • 1st Year Research Students
  • 2nd Year Research Students
  • 3rd Year Research Students
  • 4th Year Research Students

Course Organisers

  • Course Tutor - Dr Karen Bultitude - (Science & Technology Studies)
  • Course Tutor - Dr Simon Lock - (Science & Technology Studies)
  • Administrator - Ms Kasia Bronk - (Organisational & Staff Development)

Course Links

Further Web Resources

 

Part 1: Introduction to public engagement expand

Part 2: How to Engage: Practical Public Engagement expand

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Part 1: Introduction to public engagement (repeat)

Description:

Please note: This session is prerequisite for Parts 2 - 6.

Points:1
Places Available:This course is now full.
Sessions:10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 26 Feb 2015
UCL Conference Suite, Seminar Room 2, 188 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PH (Map)
Preparatory Work:

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Part 2: How to Engage: Practical Public Engagement (repeat)

Description:

This session is highly recommended for anyone considering taking Part 3. Please note that you must attend Part 1: Introduction to Public Engagement course in advance of this session

Points:1
Places Available:This course is now full.
Sessions:10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 12 Mar 2015
UCL Conference Suite, Seminar Room 2, 188 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PH (Map)
Preparatory Work:

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Part 5: Facilitation Skills For Engagement

Description:

Please note that you must attend Part 1: Introduction to Public Engagement course in advance of this session.

Points:1
Places Available:7
Sessions:10:00am - 1:00pm on Fri 20 Mar 2015
UCL Conference Suite, Seminar Room 2, 188 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PH (Map)
Preparatory Work:

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Part 4: Taking Part In Festivals

Description:

Please note that you must attend Part 1: Introduction to Public Engagement course in advance of this session.

Points:1
Places Available:9
Sessions:10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 26 Mar 2015
UCL Conference Suite, Seminar Room 2, 188 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7PH (Map)
Preparatory Work:

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Part 3: Engaging with Public Audiences: Extended Activity Development

Description:

Please note that you must attend Part 1: Introduction to Public Engagement course in advance of these sessions. This part consists of five workshops. Students must be able to attend all sessions. 

Points:5
Places Available:1
Sessions:10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 9 Apr 2015
Room 112, Foster Court, Gower St, UCL, WC1E 6BT (Map)
10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 16 Apr 2015
Room 112, Foster Court, Gower St, UCL, WC1E 6BT (Map)
10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 23 Apr 2015
Room 233, Foster Court, Gower St, UCL, WC1E 6BT (Map)
10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 30 Apr 2015
Room 130, Foster Court, Gower St, UCL, WC1E 6BT (Map)
10:00am - 1:00pm on Thu 7 May 2015
Room 233, Foster Court, Gower St, UCL, WC1E 6BT (Map)
Preparatory Work:

Page last updated: 22nd July 2010