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Public Engagement at Manchester

Engagement@Manchester – 15 May 2019, 1.00-2.30pm with Dr Emily Dawson, UCL

Engagement@Manchester – 15 May 2019, 1.00-2.30pm, Michael Smith Building (lecture theatre at entrance)

Increasingly as public engagement practitioners we are asked to look at ways we might engage with more diverse audiences. But what do we know about who, how and why people do (or do not engage) with science.

In our next Engagement@Manchester best practice session, our special guest: Dr Emily Dawson, UCL, will present on the topic of “Equity, Exclusion & Everyday Science Learning”.

Emily’s work focuses on how people learn about and engage with science, with an emphasis on equity and social justice. Her research and teaching explore how some science education practices across the formal and informal education sectors (i.e. from schools, to museums, to watching TV at home) set certain kinds of people up to be successful when they engage with science, while other people are set up to fail.

Seeing Emily talk and hearing about her research really challenged me about my work and inspired me to think differently about how I do public engagement. Her work is relevant for anyone wanting to do public engagement no matter what discipline you are in.” – Prof Sheena Cruickshank, Academic Lead for Public Engagement

All welcome to this best practice session. No registration required.

Do get in touch if you have any queries.

Dee-Ann Johnson
Public Engagement Manager | Office for Social Responsibility | The University of Manchester | 0161 306 3231 |Twitter: @uomengage

Join us for our final Engagement@Manchester session for this academic year

Community Engagement: Empowering Young People, featuring special guest Ruth Ibegbuna – Wednesday 16 May, 13.00 – 14.30, Discovery Centre, Manchester Museum

Ruth Ibegbuna, is the Founder of RECLAIM, building on her successful teaching career to develop innovative strengths-based work which enables young people to achieve their potential. RECLAIM is a youth leadership and social change charitable organisation. Ruth was listed in The Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK, in The Debrett’s 500 in 2016. She was also listed by Virgin and Ashoka as one of the top six female change makers internationally.

In this Engage@Manchester session, Ruth will be talking about and answering questions around empowering young people, working side by side with them to build a fairer future. She is an expert in encouraging young people to believe in their inherent abilities and to demand the best for themselves and their lives.

Following the talk, join us for cake and coffee. If you only make it to one engagement@manchester shared learning session this year – then make it this one – for a healthy dash of inspiring engagement practice.

No need to book. Drop in.

More about engagement@manchester can be found here:
http://www.engagement.manchester.ac.uk/resources/engagement/

Impact and research partnerships: E@M lunchtime session, 7 Feb 2018, 13.00 drop-in

We are delighted to announce that the next Engagement@Manchester lunchtime share session will take place on Wednesday 7 February 2018.

Drop-in and listen to colleagues who share their experiences of impact and research partnerships. Join a discussion on the current context on public engagement and REF2021 and discover what expertise and support is available to build research partnerships.

TITLE: Impact and research partnerships

WHEN: 7 February, 13.00-14.30

WHERE: Room 3-210, University Place

SPEAKERS:

  • Dr Sarah Marie Hall (School of Social Sciences) – Everyday Austerity project (winner of the inaugural Jo Cox Prize for Public Service and Active Citizenship)
  • Dr Emmanuel Pinteaux (Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology) – Stroke, Self and Brain workshops in partnership with The Stroke Association

Followed by discussion and information concerning:

  • Current context around impact and public engagement – UOM and REF2021
  • Internal expertise and support to build research partnerships.

All welcome!

Judith Gracey & Rachel Kenyon, Research & Business Engagement Support Services

Engagement Matters: Developing Table Top Science Activities

In this Engagement Matters post Sheena shares her six top tops developing a table top science activity.

There are lots of things to think about if you want to create a successful table top activity. Before you do this it may help to go (or help at) an event in which there are a variety of table tops activities to see what you think works and what you think does not work so well. Also do look at what happens in museums, visitor centres, exhibition spaces and galleries as often there will be examples of excellent practice there.

These are my six top tips for making a good table top activity.

1: Purpose: What is the purpose of your activity – what do you want people to take away from the activity? Do you, for example, want to share a research mechanism and therefore develop a game or prop to visualise this or initiate discussion and raise awareness about the field of research you are in? Always consider your purpose before going any further as it will help shape everything including helping you plan evaluation.

2: Audience: Who is the target audience that your activity is aimed at? One activity will not necessarily suit all ages so consider what is age appropriate and likely to hold interest. Can you trial the activity with someone else first – friends or family just to see if it works? I have used my children as guinea pigs for many of my activities and believe me friends and family can be amongst your harshest critics! On the plus side, my children know quite a lot about parasites now – a fact for which I am sure they are grateful…

3: The “Hook” and Levels of Engagement: Often it is helpful to have different levels of engagement to hold your audience. Ideally you will have a hook that draws people to your stand – this may be something eye-catching or something that resonates with people perhaps because it is relevant to them (the words eye-catching, relevance and resonance are important to consider when planning your “hook”). However, a hook is not enough to keep people involved and ideally you want a longer more meaningful engagement. So what games or activities do you have? If the activities are for children is there something for the parents too? Often this may be you yourself talking through the science and its importance and relevance. If you are struggling to come up with a hook or suitable games then do brainstorm with other colleagues, students and helpers.

Disclaimer: Do not necessarily use posters! I have put this in bold as many researchers are used to displaying information in poster format and therefore default to that. However, lots of small pictures, too many words and jargon are quite frankly off putting. In fact, so off putting can “the poster” be, I have found that some institutions have a blanket policy that does not allow you to display posters in an event. However posters can be a great way to frame your activity if used appropriately – either by using them as a screen to separate your activity from others or as an information source. So, if you DO use posters, ensure they are focused on key messages and use plenty of big, attractive images. Are there analogies you can use to help the message come over? Also consider where you place the poster – if posters are behind you then how can people read them-consider the size of text and where you place the key messages if the posters are to be placed behind you. I have previously put posters on the floor and found many people stopped to read them than perhaps would have looked at posters on the wall.

4: Flow through: This may seem obvious but ideally you want to structure the activity so you have a clear logical flow through of people. You may have your hook then for example encourage participants to move along the table or tables where your next activity (and perhaps another helper is poised) and so on. It is worth taking a little time to consider this as good flow through can really improve the activity.

5: Take home message: What is your take home message – what do you want people to leave with? Is there something they can take away with them to do at home or find out more info? Again, worth planning at the outset.

6: Evaluation: Last but not least – how will you evaluate the success of the activity? Has it worked for both you and the people you wished to reach? If you know the purpose (step 1) it is much easier to know what you will evaluate. I suggest, in the first instance you keep evaluation relatively simple. You can even see if you can build part of the evaluation into the activity so it is part of the fun. There is excellent guidance on evaluation through engagement@manchester here.

I hope these tips will help you plan your activity. Have fun and good luck! Do remember that all the best activities have been crafted from lots of trials, so don’t worry if not all elements of your activity come together – they may need refining to get them just perfect for your next event.

See related posts:

Dr Sheena Cruickshank, Academic Lead for Public Engagement, The University of Manchester

Twitter: @UoMEngage | @sheencr | #EngageMatters

Engagement Matters: Preparing for Table Top Science: tips on what info you will need to consider

In this Engagement Matters post Sheena shares her top tops for the logistics of preparing to deliver table top science activities at public facing events.

We are just in the throes of preparing to do a festival event in which we will have a table top* activity to try and excite a mixed audience of festival visitors with our research into allergy, pollution and infection in our citizen science project called Britain Breathing. We are in the fortunate position of having trialled this activity before so this blog and the one that follows will be focused on not how you create a table top activity but instead the logistics of what you need to prepare to run a table top activity.

  • Ahead of the event you may need to write a summary which can be used to advertise the activity to the public. This needs to be short and without jargon and should indicate what visitors may learn about, see as well as what they will do!
  • Consider whether you need to provide public liability insurance documentation. Often your institution will have this so you are just providing a copy or the link. Perhaps the event has this covered but it’s worth checking. The University of Manchester documentation is here: http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=1739
  • Consider child protection policy – do you or your volunteers have DBS (disclosure and barring service) accreditation? If not all helpers do then ensure that no one is left alone with children and please make sure that no one is by themselves with a child/student at any point and avoid touching any child/student (within reason). If there are any lost children on the stand, then let the organisers know.
  • Most places will require health and safety information about the activity so get your risk assessment ready!
  • Make a kit list for your activity and check stocks in advance so you know what extra things you may need for the event according to expected numbers at the event. There is nothing worse than being mid-event and running out of stuff! Although don’t panic if that happens – just be flexible and adapt the activity until you can replace the kit.
  • Arrange volunteers to help with the stand and consider length of time the stand will run for and break provision with cover for breaks! Provide helpers with an information pack which should contain the following:
  • Details of the event: Date, times of activity, including set up and take down of the activity
  • Venue: Where it is and how to get there Meals and Refreshments; Where food is available and what you will provide if you are
  • Contact details: Of the people in charge of the activity e.g. who to contact if they have issues getting there. It’s also a good idea to get everyone’s contact details just in case!
  • Activity briefing: what the activities are and purpose of them
  • FAQs: more on this later!
  • Organise a volunteer briefing session ahead of the event to answer any queries and/or demo the activities. Assess their level of experience and confidence and advise and reassure accordingly.
  • You are almost ready to go! The final thing is allow plenty of time for packing up your kit to get there, time for setting up the stall and then taking down the stall at the end of the event. This always takes longer than you think and involves a great deal more lugging of equipment than I ever thought possible!
  • Do quick team debriefs before and after the event – has anything changed that your helpers need to know about and take time afterwards to reflect on what worked well and what did not and how you may change things for e.g the next day.
  • Organise a volunteer briefing session ahead of the event to answer any queries and/or demo the activities. Assess their level of experience and confidence and advise and reassure accordingly.
  • You are almost ready to go! The final thing is allow plenty of time for packing up your kit to get there, time for setting up the stall and then taking down the stall at the end of the event. This always takes longer than you think and involves a great deal more lugging of equipment than I ever thought possible!
  • Do quick team debriefs before and after the event – has anything changed that your helpers need to know about and take time afterwards to reflect on what worked well and what did not and how you may change things for e.g the next day.

Follow these tips to help set up your activity for a hassle free event.

*Table top activity is a term used to require a set of interactive activities on a theme that are portable. It may or may not involve a table or tables but that is often the space constraint you will have.

Dr Sheena Cruickshank, Academic Lead for Public Engagement, The University of Manchester

Twitter: @UoMEngage | @sheencr  | #EngageMatters