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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?

The UCL Graduate School, 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. 

Full programme:

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

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

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

This course provides an opportunity for you to work with expert practitioners to develop your own public engagement activity. Consisting of five separate sessions spread out over a 5-week period, this is an advanced series led by expert practitioners which will allow you to explore your own interests whilst benefitting from dedicated feedback and guidance throughout the process. Participants are expected to attend all five sessions, which will consist of:

  • Creating the Idea: Identifying an appropriate audience, message and medium, using creativity techniques to think 'outside the box'.
  • Refining your Activity: Building on the ideas generated in the previous week, this session will focus on ensuring that your idea makes the most of your own interests and skills, as well as taking into account your chosen audience's needs.
  • Partnerships, Processes and Project Planning: Turning your idea into reality through tapping into existing opportunities and having a clear delivery plan.
  • Finding Funding: Tops tips for sourcing funding and other support for your public engagement activity, both within UCL and externally.
  • Evaluating Success: Key advice relating to measuring metrics and identifying impacts to assist in gauging the effectiveness of your event. We'll also look at how to disseminate your findings to wider audiences to maximise your profile and highlight any learning that occurred.
Note that you must attend the Introduction to Public Engagement course in advance of these sessions. You are also strongly recommended to attend the ‘Practical Public Engagement’ course.

Completing Part Three  will allow you to apply for the grant from  Train and Engage programme.

There will also be an (optional) informal debrief session approximately a month after the course, where participants will get together to discuss their experiences of actually delivering the activity they developed as part of this course.

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

This course will inspire you to come up with creative ideas for participating in science, community, art and music festivals. Come and learn from UCL researchers who have done it themselves and get an introduction to best practice activity. We’ll cover the ways to get involved, how to plan and deliver your festival activity, and how to evaluate what both you and your festival audience get out of it.

Note that you must attend the Introduction to Public Engagement and How to Engage courses first.

Part Five: Facilitation Skills For Engagement

UCL promotes public engagement based on two way dialogue – how do you actually make that happen? This practical course will give you some tools and resources, and the confidence, to work with non-academic groups. You’ll also 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 the Introduction to Public Engagement and How to Engage courses first.

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): 

 

Please note that Part One: Introduction to Public Engagement is a pre-requisite for the remainig 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 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

Part 1: Introduction to public engagement (repeat) expand

Part 4: Taking Part In Festivals expand

Part 5: Facilitation Skills For Engagement expand

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

Part 3: Engaging with Public Audiences: Extended Activity Development expand

Page last updated: 22nd July 2010