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Public Engagement at Manchester

Pint of Science ’18 – Volunteers needed!

The Manchester team are looking to recruit volunteers for the next Pint of Science Festival (14-16 May 2018)!

Pint of Science is a three day festival taking place across Manchester, where scientists are brought to the pub to share their research with the public. The festival has been a great success and now simultaneously takes place in over 10 countries. This year marks the 5th year that the festival has taken place in Manchester.

We need volunteers to organise the following themes, as well as one-off events throughout the year:

  • Atoms to Galaxies – e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Materials.
  • Beautiful Mind – e.g. Neurosciences, Psychology, Psychiatry.
  • Planet Earth – e.g. Earth Sciences, Plant Science, Zoology.
  • Our Body – e.g. Biology, Medicine, Health.
  • Tech Me Out – e.g. Technology, Engineering, Computing.
  • Our Society – e.g. Sociology, Public policy Law, History, Archaeology

Don’t be put off if you’re not a scientist! There are numerous roles in organising this event and we need plenty of creative minds. This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in event organisation and public engagement, as well as meeting new people. There will also be positions on the committee such as promotion, social media officer, website organisation etc.

We will be holding out first meeting in the University of Manchester Students Union Council Chambers (room 2) at 17:00 – 18:00 on 7 November 2017.

*It is important that you register your interest using the following link*:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdLI-2_ccRA8uL3z4Jt0oh_VlyPuubKJPi85SINYllGrIDC4g/viewform

Please have a think about which theme you might be interested in being involved with before the first meeting. It doesn’t have to be your own speciality!

If you have any questions or cannot make the first meeting, please do not hesitate to email posmanchester@yahoo.co.uk

Best wishes,
Lucy and Becky
Pint of Science Manchester Team

After School Science Club – MSF event needs your help!

After School Science Club: BLOCKS – Friday 27 October, 6.30pm-10pm, Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester, Tickets £9.50, adults 18+ (bar open all night)

Finished school, but still excited about science? After School Science Club is a night of carefully curated science talks, table-to-table science demos and puzzles, and hands-on science stuff, put together by award-winning mathematician and communicator Katie Steckles.

The event will take place in the Museum of Science and Industry’s main gallery, and the theme of the evening will be blocks – with block-themed talks, a giant table of LEGO courtesy of LEGOLand Discovery Centre, LEGO telescopes and microscopes you can build and use, and a team-of roving block-buskers around the room.

We’ll be joined by this year’s Ri Christmas Lecturer neuroscientist Sophie Scott, nanochemist Suze Kundu, materials scientist Jamie Gallagher and xenobiologist and author Lewis Dartnell. We’ll also have a bar, thematic freebies, and some puzzles and competitions with prizes to win!

If you’re interested, tickets cost £9.50 and they’re selling fast, so get one soon! For more information, and to book, visit afterschoolscience.club or follow @AftSchSciClub on Twitter for updates.

This message is posted on behalf of Katie Steckles
katiesteckles@gmail.com

Engagement Matters: Evaluating your public engagement

In this Engagement Matters post, Suzanne Spicer shares her top tips for evaluating the success of your public engagement activities.

Evaluation can be perceived as a daunting task but when used correctly, it is an effective tool to reflect on and improve your public engagement activities, and to determine the value and worth of evidenced impact.

How to start: Whenever possible you should plan your evaluation when you are planning your public engagement activity. Begin by considering why you are undertaking the evaluation. It is important to be clear of your purpose right from the start.

Write an evaluation plan: To keep focused have an evaluation plan, a step-by-step guide which summarises what you are going to do and how you will undertake the process.
Top tip: keep things simple.

Include the following in your evaluation plan:

1. Aims and objectives
Your aims are what you want to achieve overall and your objectives are how you will achieve your aims. It is important to keep them SMART so ask yourself:
Specific: do they state what will you do and with whom?
Measurable: can you measure their success?
Achievable: do you have enough time and resources to achieve them?
Relevant: do they meet your aims?
Time-bound: do they include timescales?
Top tip: only have one or two aims and up to five objectives.

2. Audience and stakeholders
It is important to identify who will be involved in your evaluation and what challenges may arise when engaging with them.
Top tip: if appropriate, involve the public in your planning.

3. Evaluation questions
These are the questions you want answers to. They should not only measure outputs (the results of your activity) but also outcomes (eg. an increase in awareness, the development of skills or a change in behaviour/practice).
Top tip: have between 2-6 questions and ensure they relate to the evidence you can collect.

4. Collecting evidence
Think creatively about how you will gather your data and how you might build it into your activity, so that it is easy for you to collect, and your public want to engage. There are a variety of methods you can use from the more traditional such as questionnaires to more creative methods such as graffiti walls or using a voting app. You do not have to evaluate everyone and everything – you can sample. Also remember to capture perspectives from everyone involved (including yourself). And if you are measuring impact then it is important to create a baseline from which you can evidence any change.
Top tip: if you are engaging with a new audience, look for advice from other sectors.

Whichever method you use, you will have to ask questions. Use a mixture of open (ask for open-ended responses) or closed questions (give a series of options for the participant to select) and ensure your questions are clear and easy to understand. Check that none are leading or biased and try to avoid asking people to predict their behaviour too far into the future. Also avoid asking multiple questions in one.
Top tip: test your questions out beforehand.

5. Analysing your evaluation data
Decide how much data you want to collect and how much time and capacity you will have available to analyse it. With quantitative data (numbers) you can use a spreadsheet to analyse your data. With qualitative data (words and images) you can group similar responses into categories that can then be counted and reported or expressed as a percentage.
Top tip: you can use audience quotes to illustrate points but check they are representative and give a balanced perspective.

6. Using your findings
Once you have analysed your data then you should interpret what you have found. List your key findings both positive and negative and link them to your evaluation questions and critically reflect on what you have learned.

7. Sharing your learning
Finally, think about how you will use and share your findings. Identify your key audience and who else might be interested and which formats you might use, such as a report or an infographic. Whatever platform you use, be clear about your key messages and share what you have learnt, both the positive and negative.

Some useful resources
You can find some useful evaluation links and resources here.

See also: Suzanne Spicer, The nuts and bolts of evaluating science communication activities, Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Volume 70, October 2017, pp. 17-25 available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1084952117304494

Posted on behalf of Suzanne Spicer FRSA, Social Responsibility Manager, Office for Social Responsibility, The University of Manchester

Twitter: @UoMEngage | @csusies | #EngageMatters