Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

Catalyst Symposium – Registration open!

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Registration is now open for the Catalyst Symposium.

When? Wednesday 12th November

Where? Streatham Court D

What? As the end of Catalyst funding is in sight (March 2015), we want to bring together the University of Exeter’s vibrant community of Engaged Researchers, Community Partners and Professional Services Staff who are passionate about public engagement with research.

You will be able to take part in a variety of workshops, seminars, and discussions to share best practice and learning from Catalyst Seed Funds and the Champions for Public Engagement.

We will reflect on what the future of engaged research looks like for the University and how we can continue to support it.

For more information, including a draft programme and transport arrangements, please visit the event page.

If you have any questions about the Symposium please email the Grace (

October news

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Lots of things going on at the moment.

Thinking about engaged universities: people, processes and partnerships all underpinned by our values. From Engaged Futures workshop, October 2013.

Upcoming events

Clear your diaries: there are lots of exciting events coming up!

1. The Depression Puzzle

12 October, 10.00-16.00, Sir Henry Wellcome Building

This drop-in event is an open day for people wishing to explore depression and the research happening within the university. Run by the Lived Experience Group and funded by the Catalyst project.


2. Ancient Sunlight: Art and Science in the Classroom

24 October 2013, 4.00pm-6.00pm Washington Singer Building: Room WSL 219

As part of our ongoing work with Kaleider we are hosting a workshop for teachers and researchers from the University of Exeter and the Met Office. The workshop is the start of a creative process to work with schools to develop a book for launch in October 2014 and present a series of live events in April 2015. Places are limited so book your place soon.

We will begin by stimulating responses to an imagined end to the Oil Age with a question: “what could the world do with the last barrel of oil?” From there, we will encourage participants to imagine a positive and resilient future.

Come and have a glass of wine, meet the Kaleider team and hear more about the project and how you/your school can be involved- all you need to do is sign up on the link below-look forward to seeing you there.

Kaleider designs, produces and promotes live experiences. We make and produce performance work that often takes place in public spaces and seeks to engage audiences who wouldn’t normally consider themselves theatregoers. One of our key ambitions is to bring people to face the future with imagination and create a significantly interruptive gift for the people of Exeter called Ancient Sunlight.

3. Introduction to Visitor Studies

4 November, Cardiff

Are you interested in finding out how evaluation your public engagement activities? This event could be for you! Take part in a practical and interactive training event run by the Visitor Studies Group in collaboration with the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales and St Fagans: National History Museum.

The event will:

  • Provide delegates with an overview of visitor studies – the basic visitor studies tools
  • Highlight best organisational practice – involving your staff, and using participatory forums
  • Involve practical sessions on visitor observation and creating questionnaires

Check out the Visitor Studies Group website for more details on speakers, content and booking information


4. Night Walks exhibition private view

7 November 4.30-7pm, ESI

An exhibition of images made during full moon night walks in summer 2013 aiming to represent a re-engagement with the natural night-time environment. The exhibition is a result of a collaboration between the residents of St Just and the ESI ECOLIGHT research project funded by the Catalyst project. The exhibition will be open 8-21 November.


5. Prof. Ted Cantle on social cohesion / interculturalism

13 & 14 November seminar and public lecture

Ten years ago Ted Cantle founded the idea of community cohesion and this concept began to transform the way we think about race and diversity in the UK and has been copied and adopted by many other countries, especially through the idea of intercultural dialogue. The concept of interculturalism recognises the interdependence of people and nations and suggests that it is now necessary to foster an inter-connectedness in which ‘race’ will play a less significant part and be eclipsed by broader ideas about difference and otherness.


6. Engage 2013

27 & 28 November, Bristol Hotel, Bristol

This conference will explore the many ways universities and their partners choose to engage together, and the agendas these partnerships serve. It will provide an opportunity for open dialogue between the HE community, policy makers and funders, and the organisations working with them. The Exeter Catalyst will be there! Please find more information here. Book your place here


7. Mobile Apps in Research

4 December, University of Birmingham

This is the first (as far as we know!) get-together to explore the potential of smartphones in academic research, including apps for public engagement and citizen science. Delegate tickets cost £15 and registration is now open. For more information visit


Other opportunities

1. NERC Student Photography and Short Article Writing Competition

25 October 2013

NERC would like to draw your attention to the announcement of the new NERC Student Photography and Short Article Writing Competition. This competition is open to all current and recently finished NERC students and invites them to submit both photographic and written entries that best encapsulate their research and PhD experiences to date. Although entrants must submit both a photograph and article, both entries will be judged separately and awarded separate prizes. All winning entrants will be informed in mid-November and invited to an awards ceremony will take place at the Environment-YES finale in London on 2 December.

The prizes available for both the written article and photography competitions are:
1st Place: £500
2nd Place: £250
3rd Place: £125

For more information on this opportunity please visit the competition website or contact David Roberts ().


2. 5th Space for All funding scheme

Closing date for applications is 9am Monday 28 October 2013.

A key goal in the current UK space strategy is to increase awareness among the general public of the UK’s space programme and of the role that space plays in everyday life. We also believe that space has an important role to play in inspiring and educating the next generation.

Many groups, societies and individuals across the UK share this ambition and can help us explain the importance of space. To this end, the UK Space Agency operates its ‘Space for All’ community sponsorship award scheme. This is a competitive process which offers small grants (up to a maximum of £5,000 for each award) to groups ready to present the UK’s space programme and stimulate the use of space in inspiration and learning.

Projects may be targeted at specific audiences and may include:

  • delivery of curriculum enrichment activities;
  • delivery of activities to promote careers in the space sector;
  • preparation of plans for long term projects;
  • development of web or social media outreach content.

Applications are judged by a panel led by the Agency and supported by representatives of the UK space community. Judging criteria include the quality and practicality of the proposals, the size of the audience that will be reached, and the extent of alignment with the UK’s civil space strategy. A preference will be given to projects that will reach an audience hitherto unaware of the UK’s space programme and to education projects that support the work of the UK’s space education office, ESERO-UK.

Further information regarding this call including the application form can be found at


3. ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize

22 November

The Prize is our annual opportunity to celebrate the outstanding economic and social impacts achieved by ESRC-funded researchers. Applications are now welcome and will close at 16.00 on 22 November 2013. Winners receive £10,000 and £5,000 to the second place winners.

Applications are welcome from any current or previously ESRC funded projects, including those funded before 2008.

There are six categories for the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize:

  • Outstanding Impact in Business – research which has generated business impact through successful knowledge exchange and engagement
  • Outstanding Impact in Public Policy – research that has contributed to the development of UK public policy, at the local, regional or national government level
  • Outstanding Impact in Society – research that has made a contribution benefitting society more widely or a specific group of the public
  • Outstanding International Impact – research that has achieved impact at an international level in business, policy or societal issues
  • Outstanding Early Career Impact – student researchers who have achieved or show potential in achieving outstanding impacts in any of the above categories
  • Impact Champion of the Year – a nominated individual who has a significant personal track record in knowledge exchange and supporting and enabling impact.


Other news

1. Public Engagement – how was it for us?

The iGem team are currently in the thick of the competition – good luck! In the run up to this they delivered several public engagement activities. Read about their experiences here:


2. Engaged Futures

Over the last couple of days Mary Schwarz and myself have run three workshops exploring what an engaged university might be like in 2025. It’s been a fascinating time, hearing from people outside of academia who have challenged us, congratulated us and agreed to help us as we move ahead with our commitment to engaged research. A full report will be available shortly, but in the meantime we’d like to thank everyone who gave up their time and opinions to help us. The workshops have been part of the National Coordinating Centre’s national consultation.


3. From Wellcome Trust:

Looking to engage the public with your research?

We now offer ring-fenced funds for public engagement within our research grants. Researchers are invited to plan how they will inform, consult and collaborate with the non-specialist public over the lifetime of their research project and cost for this appropriately. Activities can take any form, for example, blogs, exhibitions, games, training courses, and collaborations with schools or artists.

High-quality proposals are sought from grant applicants and current Trust-funded researchers. New applicants can apply within their research application while current grantholders can apply for an extension to their award.

Find out more, including eligibility and application details.


Launch event(s)

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We had a fabulous time we had at the launch event in Streatham last week. So much fun that we’re hosting another one. 20 November, 1-3pm on the Tremough Campus. We’ll provide lunch, you provide opinions, thoughts and discussions.

Discussion about participationDuring the event we discussed why we do public engagement at different stages of the research cycle (because it extends reach, improves the likelihood of securing a grant, challenges your perceptions of your work, allows you to see your work differently and generates case studies for evidence) as well as why some of us don’t currently do public engagement. The reasons for not doing public engagement covered a wide span from how it is recognised in work load models, to not knowing where to start.

We also started conversations about what quality engagement looks like. For example, how we avoid tokenism and work towards a meaningful dialogue. As this person says:

“The event was a good starting place in thinking about points in the research process where public engagement could take place, and forms it could take. [The most useful part of the event was] some peer to peer learning, useful ideas from colleagues – particularly those from other disciplines.”

We also opened the call for Champions for Public Engagement – deadline is 30 November and the application form is short.

To keep these conversations going we’ll be starting a series of activities to raise some of these issues and develop the skills necessary to feel comfortable when taking first steps in public engagement. Watch this space for details of seminars, workshops and other events – be prepared to come along, join in and most importantly share your experiences.

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