I was recently involved in the organisation of an event for local secondary school pupils for the Society for Biology’s ‘Biology Week’ initiative supported by The Physiological Society. The purpose of Biology Week is to celebrate all aspects of the biosciences. We set up a series of interactive displays and lectures and a dedicated online resource available through OpenLearn.
Social exclusion in public engagement with science
On Monday last week I gave a presentation as part of the ‘Engaging Research’ seminar series being run at the Open University (as you might have guessed since this is their blog!) The seminar series runs in conjunction with two RCUK-funded projects: 'An open research university'; and 'Engaging opportunities'.
My research interests are around who ‘counts’ as a public for so called ‘public’ engagement and how do engagement practices contribute to the exclusion of certain groups.
The green and gold swamp of confusion
The mire of confusion around the green and gold models of open access – and which is ‘best’ – is trampled by many feet. Too long to rehearse here, I’d suggest a quick definition is that in ‘’gold’, the author pays to publish their work in an open access journal, and it is then instantly openly available. This raises the question of who pays the charges, of course. ‘Green’ open access relies on authors themselves archiving, in publicly-available repositories (such as the Open University’s ORO) a pre-publication version of work that they have published elsewhere.
From the 1st to 5th July 2013 10 media students from Denbigh School participated in a Media Training Course at the Open University as part of the RCUK-funded Engaging opportunities project. The training was led by staff from the OU’s Open Media Unit.
Over the five days of this practical course the students developed and practised new skills, such as working with digital tools and technologies, producing pieces to camera, and editing footage. Six short films were produced over the course of the week. Here three of the students—Alice Rose, Connor Bean and Heather Stone—describe their experiences. Links to the completed films are embedding throughout the post.
* This post was originally contributed to the Isotope repository on 14th August 2008 by Eric Jensen at the University of Warwick and has been reposted here.
Traditionally used by market researchers and social scientists to identify a range of interpretations on a topic of interest, focus groups have recently been adapted by at least two independent teams of public engagement practitioners with the aim of generating dialogue about robotics and health. This article describes the mechanics of planning, design and moderation of focus-group based public engagement events, making reference to these two cases, which were evaluated as part of the Isotope project.
I finished my PhD in volcanology with the Open University earlier this year, and spent my summer working for the Brilliant Club. The Brilliant Club are a small but growing charity whose mission is to widen access to highly selective universities in schools serving low participation communities. They do this by placing postgraduate research students in schools to deliver small group university-style tutorials to pupils aged 10-18.
While most postgraduate research students teach one or two groups a week over the course of five weeks I taught five groups in four different schools in and around London. I took on this larger teaching load as I had already finished my PhD and was otherwise at a bit of a loose end.
I recently took part in a Research Café at Denbigh School in Milton Keynes as part of the Engaging opportunities project. I’d been invited to take part as members of the project team were aware of my public engagement with research work.
The structure of the café was similar to the Café Scientifique events held across the country but instead of engaging members of the general public in scientific debate over a latté in the local coffee shop or bar, this event was held at the school with an audience of Year 12 students, sipping coffee and eating biscuits.
The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) is running an Engaged Futures consultation. Alongside, and partly in coordination with this consultation, the NCCPE have launched a blog (NCCPE's blog).
The NCCPE team invited various stakeholders to contribute a post to the new blog as part of the Engaged Futures consultation. Authors were asked to imagine a future for some aspect of engaged research.
My contribution was based on an imagined future for postgraduate research and it titled 'An engaging thesis'. The NCCPE team are keen to start a discussion around these articles, which will grow in number in the coming weeks, so feel free to comment, circulate, etc.