Engaging with the public makes you think more about what you are doing and its value…it brings self-awareness, grounding and less isolation which can benefit your research – Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President & Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester
Still not sure how Public Engagement can work for you?
It’s often difficult for researchers in the Humanities to see how their work can be made more accessible to non-specialist audiences and members of the public, although evidence suggests that Universities are often looking to recruit researchers who have had significant experience of public engagement activity.
So how can you break down this barrier in a world where most public engagement activity is the preserve of those in the sciences? Vitae have produced some excellent new resources for researchers thinking about trying out some public engagement activity. Their new booklet “The Engaging Researcher” was launched a couple of weeks ago to coincide with the new Vitae Event of the same name held at Manchester Metropolitan University in the North West. Those who attended on the day will no doubt join me in congratulating the organisers on a day which was an immense success. One final-year PhD Humanities researcher from the UoM tweeted “Really enjoyed #er10 today – now enthused about future possibilities” and again “#er10 was obviously good for the old grey matter. After weeks of struggle, woke up and wrote PhD abstract in twenty minutes this morning!”.
So the enthusiasm for public engagement is obviously catching…how do you find out more? The Engaging Researcher booklet (available online under the publications section at www.vitae.ac.uk) takes you through the process of inspiring people to engage with your research. The booklet describes an engaging researcher as “going out of their way to involve the public with their research. They open up opportunities for others to get involved, provide new perspectives on the value of their work, and stimulate people to be curious about the world of research”. The booklet also touches upon what public engagement is all about, the reasons behind public engagement, getting started, measuring the impact of what you’re doing and making sure it hits the mark, top tips to consider before embarking on public engagement, how to ensure that you will be good at it and also how to find support for your activities. The booklet also has some interesting “engaging researcher” profiles from those in the Humanities. To accompany the booklet, Vitae have also launched a brilliant Public Engagement Blog: http://tiny.cc/db6xy.
If you want to find out more about the types of public engagement initiatives taking place around the country, then visit Vitae’s section on “organisations committed to public engagement”: http://tiny.cc/9yicl
Keep up with further discussions on twitter by following @vitaenwhub and using the hashtag #er10