Research to Public – Workshop One 24/01/2013

Workshop Pictures

The Creative Process – Avoiding Jargon

The first Research to Public workshop took place on 24th January 2013.  The quality of applications received for this strand was superb – and the Afterlife panel found the shortlisting process very difficult.  Congratulations to those researchers whose projects were shortlisted!  Over twenty researchers arrived eagerly for the 10am start.  The programme for the day was extremely busy and the workshop was led by Suzanne Spicer (Social Responsibility Manager) and Emily McIntosh (Programme Manager, artsmethods@manchester and Afterlife Project Coordinator) – we found that the day just flew – the atmosphere was tremendously positive and it was great to hear more about everybody’s project proposals.  Here are some of the highlights:

Kostas Arvanitis (Afterlife Project Lead) started the day by introducing the project, speaking about the importance of translating research into real-life contexts.  Suzanne started with an excellent activity about jargon and research – and how avoiding the use of jargon can often be more powerful when working with different audiences.  Each group had an envelope containing pieces of paper each with a different word – the task was to construct a sentence using all the words on the paper.  The task proved very popular and proved that communication is central to research.  Suzanne then went on to consider Public Engagement and its relationship to research, asking the question “Who is the public?”.  Researchers were asked to consider The Onion (pictured below) which demonstrates the different layers of Public Engagement.  With each layer the focus moves from two-way dialogue and co-design or co-decision making to telling or information giving.  Hence the impact on research or on influencing policy decreases as activity moves towards the outer layers of the onion.  Researchers were asked to think about typical public engagement activities and to add them to The Onion:

The next part of the workshop considered working with cultural partners and research identity.  It tasked researchers to think about their research profile – and why might cultural organisations and the publc be interested in working with them?  Why were they motivated to work with the public and cultural organisations?  The task was to produce a research profile (such as the one you may post on LinkedIn) which described the researcher and their interests.  It was based on Simon Sinek’s idea of The Golden Circle, and start with why (www.startwithwhy.com).  The importance of reflective practice was also emphasised and there were various opportunties througout the day for participants to reflect on their work.  To find out more about reflective practice, consult the new “Reflective Practice” page on this blog.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Jenna Ashton’s talk about her work with the public.  Jenna is the current artsmethods@manchester Researcher In Residence and leads the Archive Interventions Project (http://archiveinterventions.wordpress.com).  Jenna talked very animatedly about her work using Prezi.  Many were inspired by her work with “Orphan Archives”.  Jenna’s presentation can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/a2o45ew.

Since the day we’ve received some cracking blog posts from participants who have been reflecting on the day.  Here are a selection – a contribution from Sarah Younan (http://miscmouldings.blogspot.co.uk) and anther from Naomi Billingsley (http://doubtdespairparadise.wordpress.com/category/blog/).  We especially liked Kyra Pollitt’s post likening the process to Crufts: http://nanafroufrou.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/teaching-an-old-dog-new-tricks/

If you are participating in the process and have blogged about it then we would love to hear from you (artsmethods@manchester.ac.uk).  More materials and resources from the workshop are available to download here:

Afterlife project participant booklet

Evaluating Your Public Engagement Activities

PE Getting Started Workshop Slides-1

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