[University home]

Public Engagement at Manchester

Training for early-career STEM communicators from BIG

The Little Event is a training session for people who are new to STEM communication, whether you work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Little Event is crammed with introductory sessions focusing on developing the different skills that are useful in STEM communication; they are delivered by experienced science communicators.

Session 1: Thursday 20 January, 3:00 – 6:30pm and Session 2: Saturday 22 January, 9:00am – 1:15pm

The 2022 Little Event will be online live and spread over two days. The days are designed to work together and are booked as a package (i.e. not sold separately). They are LIVE events, so bear in mind the times given are GMT (London). The 2022 programme includes sessions on Evaluation, Managing Projects, Presenting, Science Capital, and Careers and will include plenty of networking time as well as short comfort breaks.

BIG members: cost £50

Non-members: cost is £85 and includes BIG Membership for 1 year

Read more about the Little Event: https://www.big.uk.com/Little2022

Book the Little Event here: https://www.big.uk.com/event-4547381

Can’t afford to attend the Little Event? BIG offers a few bursaries to
attend which will cover your fees as well as some expenses. Applications
open 1st December. See https://www.big.uk.com/event-4547523 to apply or
https://www.big.uk.com/bursary for more information.

Little Event 2020 – a 1-day conference for early-career STEM communicators

As part of BIG STEM Communicators Network (the national skills sharing network for those involved in STEM communication) programme of events, registration to the Little Event 2020 is now open!

This years Little Event will take place at The Birmingham & Midland Institute – Tuesday 14 January 2020, 10.00am – 4.30pm.

This one-day conference/training day all about public engagement and science communication is a great opportunity for people that are just starting their PE/SciComm journey. It’s a great chance to not only soak up knowledge from experienced professionals and learn new skills, but to also network with like-minded people. If you are an undergraduate student with some PE/SciComm volunteering/working experience, early career researcher looking to expand your understanding of the field or have just started your role in PE/SciComm – the Little Event has space for you!

If you are interested in the event and want to know more, you can drop me an email on paolo.arru@mft.nhs.uk / paolo.arru@manchester.ac.uk (I am part of the executive committee and will also be there on the day). Alternatively, you can contact Lucy admin@big.uk.com and ask for more info.

The full programme is being finalised and will be announced in early December. The price is £45 for BIG members. Non-members can join first for the annual fee of £30.

Options on how to fund this:

  • BIG offers bursaries for this event to cover registration and travel costs, applications will open on the 18th of November.
  • Talk to your line manager/supervisor about options for training.
  • As this is a training event/skills sharing day, this would be eligible for ISSF funding under the Professional Development strand (3rd November deadline!). Applications will be judged on a case-by-case basis and is only for PhDs/PGTs, post-docs, academic and PS staff.

The Little Event 2020 will be held at The Birmingham & Midland Institute – Tuesday 14 January 2020, 10.00am – 4.30pm. Registration now open.

The BIG Event 2020 will be held in Cardiff, July 22nd – 24th 2020. Registration opens 2nd of March 2020.

Posted on behalf of Paolo Arru, Public Engagement Project Manager, Public Programmes Team, Research and Innovation Division, NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre and Manchester Clinical Research Facility

BIG Event 2019 – Call for Session Proposals OPEN

BIG (the British Interactive Group) is thrilled to announce a return to Scotland for BIG Event 2019. The highlight of the STEM communicator’s annual calendar will see our conference held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh 17-19 July 2019. Dynamic Earth is a wonderful venue – lots of space and lots of spaces. Indoors, outdoors and fantastically placed for access to the airport, rail station and city centre.


If you have a session proposal you’d like to submit, you can pop your ideas on the BIG Event session proposals site www.bigevent.info (you’ll need to register for the site; tip: this isn’t the same registration as when you log into the BIG website)

The content for the BIG Event is created by the members. And the people who say they get the most out of it are the people who contribute the content.

So now is your chance to fling your session ideas into the ring. Once we have a ring-full we flirt the programme together, put people together who might like to work together, and ask a few people to do something a bit different. Your session ideas can be put forward now until 6th February.

Bring a show, a workshop, something needing tweaking, something you think is fab; bring your skills in evaluating, managing, developing, presenting, fettling; bring your planetarium, your STEM tap-routine, your busks, your IPad session. But whatever you do, make it hands-on, make it collaborative, make it a truly sharing contribution. BIG members really don’t like to be spouted at – we like to have a go at a thing so bring the thing, not a picture of the thing or a talk about the thing.

Posted on behalf of Sarah Vining, BIG Membership Services Manager and Ashley Kent, BIG Event Manager

BIG event 2018 – 18-20 July 2018 – Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium

The BIG Event is a three day get-together every summer to share skills and experiences, develop professional links and keep up-to-date with the STEM engagement field. This is the place to hone your skills and recharge your professional batteries, pick up great ideas and show off your talents to peers.

It provides an unmissable opportunity to squeeze the skills and ideas out of all the STEM engagement people you can in a short space of time. It’s like power juice for STEM communicators.

Sessions: The content for the BIG Event is created by the members. And the people who say they get the most out of it are the people who contribute the content. The call for session proposals is now closed.

Booking: To register to attend the BIG Event 2018, click here. If you are a speaker and have a speaker registration code, you can click here.


  • Jan 2018 – The Call for session proposals closed 27 February 2018.
  • Late Feb 2018 – Registration opens (early bird prices); proposals close; sessions approved
  • Early April 2018 – Early bird registration closes and full price registration opens; BIG Bursaries open
  • May 2018 – BIG Bursaries close
  • June 2018 – Final programme published
  • July 2018 – Event takes place 18-20 July at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium

Find out more here: https://www.big.uk.com/bigevent18/ or follow us on Twitter @bigchats or sign up to the big-chat email discussion list for developments.

Little Event 2017 – Programme and speakers confirmed

This is BIG’s one-day training session for people who are relatively new to STEM communication.

The day is crammed with sessions focusing on developing the different skills that are useful in face-to-face STEM communication; they are delivered by experienced science communicators following BIG’s usual hands-on approach.

Sessions include:

  • Presenter Skills – David Price, Performer, science made simple
  • Careers – Bridget Holligan, Director of Education & Engagement, Science Oxford
  • Evaluation – Dom McDonald, Inspiring Science Fund Manager, Wellcome Trust
  • Project Management – Rachel Mason, Head of Development, Science Projects

The Little Event takes place on 11th January in Thinktank, Birmingham and costs £45 for BIG members. If you aren’t a member you can join for £30 a year.

For more information or to book visit www.big.uk.com/littleevent17

Win one of ten bursaries to attend the Little Event 2017, Thinktank, Birmingham, Wed 11 January

The Little Event is for people who are relatively early in their STEM communication career.

Whether they work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with sciences. It’s a lot like the BIG Event, but a bit smaller, and all crammed into one busy day. There will be several sessions, each focusing on developing a different skill, delivered by experienced science communicators following our usual hands-on approach.

But of course it isn’t just about the sessions, it’s the people you meet there too. The Little Event presents a great opportunity to meet people from across the UK working in similar roles and sharing similar experiences. The programme for the day will include sessions on Learning and evaluation, Interacting with the public, Managing your engagement project, Presenting and careers.

Each bursary worth £100 covers an annual BIG membership, registration fees for the Little Event and £25 towards travel expenses.

If you wish to apply for one of the 10 free places, applying is simple. Just email event@big.uk.com by noon on 16 December with the subject line “Bursary application Little Event” to tell us in no more than 200 words why you would like the opportunity to come to the Little Event and how you think it will benefit your personal and professional development.

Successful applicants will be notified by email.

For more information or to book visit www.big.uk.com

BIG Skills Day: Using Social Media for Science Communication

BIG Skills Day: Using Social Media for Science Communication – Friday 2 December, 9.30am – 4.30pm, Tramshed Tech, Cardiff

Social Media is being increasingly used to bring science to a broader audience. This one-day training session will help you understand the benefits of using social media and how to use the different platforms on offer. You’ll hear about organisations who do it well and gain some top tips about simple, but effective ways to increase the visibility of your posts. We’ll discuss some potential pitfalls and some Dos and Don’ts of using additional content such as photos, videos and infographics – and conclude with ways of evaluating the success of your campaigns.

£45 for BIG members which includes refreshments and a light sandwich lunch. Non-members will need to join BIG first (annual cost £30) before registering.

Please make sure you are logged in as a member (using your email address) before you register for this event.

For more information or to book your place, visit www.big.uk.com/socialmedia

Sarah Vining, BIG Administrator

The BIG Event Bursary – OPEN

Once again this year, BIG is offering a few lovely bursary places to attend the BIG Event in July. This is ideal for people working in and around science communication, who think they might benefit from making some more professional friends by attending BIG’s three-day conference – this year in Belfast.

Deadline for applications: Friday 6 May, 11.59pm

The bursary covers registration fees to attend the BIG Event this July at W5 in Belfast, plus limited travel and accommodation support. BIG members who are in the first five years of their professional career and have not attended a previous BIG Event are eligible to apply. If you’re not a member of BIG, don’t let that stand in your way – join at http://www.big.uk.com

It was my first time and I didn’t quite know what to expect but I really found it useful. Not only useful for work, it is nice to know so many people share similar passions.” – 2014 bursary winner

If you fit this bill, then we’d love you to apply for a bursary to come along. The BIG Event is a three-day conference bringing together 150+ STEM engagement professionals from across the UK and beyond to help you build your skills, grow your contacts and explore what’s working for others in your field of work.

You can read all the detail about the conference and the bursary application process at http://www.big.uk.com/bigevent16

Don’t forget – you must be a BIG member to apply so leave time to join if you aren’t a member already.

Rachel Mason, BIG Event Organiser

Early-career STEM communicators: The Little Event 2016

The Little Event 2016
Wednesday 13 January 2016, 9.30am – 4.30pm, Thinktank, Birmingham

This one-day conference is for early-career STEM communicators who are keen to suck the knowledge and experience out of those who have been at it for ages. It is also an excellent opportunity to make professional and friendly relationships with others in similar work, or to update job-hunting skills for those hoping to take a next step in their careers.

The full programme is being finalised and will be announced in early December.

The price is £45 for BIG members. Non-members can join http://www.big.uk.com/joinbig first for the annual fee of £30.

Register (or find out more) by visiting http://www.big.uk.com/event-2098087

Skills Days for STEM Outreach delivery – 20 – 21 April 2015

Do you work in Outreach? Is it your role to manage, develop and deliver research engagement? For example, based in a university or research centre?

Over a number years there has been a steady increase in the number of BIG members whose role is managing public engagement of research. With lots of ideas and emerging issues in the field we’re enthused to get these like-minded people together. It will be an opportunity to network, share ideas and experiences with people who work in the same field and identify developments and issues we can work on together.

This workshop will run over two half days (lunchtime to lunchtime) with an evening social in between. We have a workshop structure that combines pre-determined themes (Insight sessions) along with creative time that will be filled with attendee sessions on themes that arise before or during the workshop.

20 April (starts 12pm) – 21 April (ends 12.30pm), Edinburgh University


  • £45 for BIG Members which includes a light lunch on arrival on the first day and refreshments on the following day.
  • £75 for non-members (which includes £30 for annual membership)

More information here: www.big.uk.com/outreach