Outreach & Public Engagement

Outreach and Public Engagement are all the opportunities to share your research with the general public. See what opportunities are out there and how we can help you design your outreach/public engagement activity.

Public Engagement has developed enormously over recent years. In the past, it was solely about outreach and the one-way communication of topics to a ‘general public’. It is now an incredibly diverse collection of approaches. It still includes the vital activity of disseminating information, but it now also comprises opportunities for different communities and stakeholders to contribute directly to the research process. Public Engagement practitioners also now emphasize the importance of listening to the audiences.

Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the University's activities and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.

Some public engagement activities may be beneficial for the conduct of research, for instance, to help to recruit study participants (e.g. user groups).

Some public engagement activities are useful to your research project: they enhance or add value to it by providing direct benefits to the research or to you as researchers.

Examples of Public Engagement activities

  • involvement of the public in the research (e.g. citizen science experiments)
  • public lectures (aimed at general public, includes online)
  • performance arts (music, dance, drama, etc.)
  • exhibitions (galleries, museums, etc.)
  • museum education
  • festival engagement (science festivals and arts festivals)
  • school engagement (that are not pure recruitment activity)
  • collaboration with artists to stimulate interest, excitement and debate about the research or gain new perspectives
  • TV/radio programmes
  • articles written for mainstream media
  • conferences open to the public to attend and not an exclusive commercial or academic event or a recruitment open day
  • MOOCs
  • podcasts/vlogs/blogs aimed at a general non-academic audience
  • some social media engagement when the post doesn’t point users to another platform or advertises an activity (ask if in doubt)

Some ‘big picture’ public engagement activities help to foster a society in which research can flourish. This could include workshops with schools and the professional development of teachers to inspire the next generation of researchers, as well as the collaboration with producers of factual, comedy and drama programmes and films or games, to ensure research is part of a broader cultural conversation.

What PE activities should you get involved with?

Try the following steps:

  • Identify a target public group/community. Then think about what your target group might be interested in and link your research to this. Will your target group be able to answer the question: "How does this matter to me?“
  • How can you reach your target group and what do you feel comfortable doing: teaching? Performing? Speaking in public? Running a workshop? Designing a resource/class/audio-visual asset? Or maybe you’d like to try something new? Get outside of the box?
  • Do you have any hobbies that you could incorporate into your PE activity?
  • Activities you’ve heard about – do you find any of them interesting? Would you like to try your hand at them?

You might want to check what your colleagues in the School of Informatics have done previously. Check the resources below.

Outreach and Public Engagement Directories

If you'd like to discuss your public engagement ideas, please contact the Comms Team.

E-mail InfComms

Fill in a web form