Identifying who you should run an event for (who is your public)
One of the initial stages planning your public engagement event should be identifying who you want to engage with. This is going to be based in what your aim for the event is. For example if you're aiming to inspire young people to join a career in engineering you probably need to engage with young people. You might then narrow that further to families with teenage children, or possibly school pupils in a specific school year. Ideally you want to get to a point where your audience isn't just "everyone" and you know who you want to target. This will help you design your event to effectively reach that audience and in turn make it easier to promote your event and ensure it's successful.
Take a look at the NCCPE's guidlines on understanding your audience for advice on what you need to consder to do this effectively.
You can also arrange to meet a member of the Public Engagement Team who will help you understand who your audience is and what you need to do to run an event for those people.
Examples of public engagement events
Public Engagement can take many forms. It could be taking part in a festival, putting on an exhibition, running an ideas cafe or any other method of communicating information that allows for a two-way dialogue beween you and your audience. To help you consider what kind of public engagement activity you want to do we've begun compiling stories of engagement at Warwick. Browse through the archive of stories for inspiration and ideas of how you might engage your audience. You may also find this section of the NCCPE website on techniques and approaches to engagement helpful.
Finding space for events
Space on campus is limited and can be difficult to acquire as it is used for teaching during term time and much of it is taken over by Warwick Conferences outside of term time. Therefore you may need to plan into your funding bid some additional funding to pay for space through Warwick Conferences, or to hire an external venue and take your research out into the community.
We strongly recommend considering where the most convenient location is for your audience to get to.
We've put together some helpful links to support you in booking space for your event:
Off campus space
- You could consider community halls, pubs, theatres or if you're looking for a formal venue away from Warwick consider hotels and conference centres. Contact the team for suggestions.
- Coventry's FabLab is ideal for small events at a low hire cost ina city centre location.
- Town Centres, Parks and Open Spaces - these are areas usually managed by the local council or a private development business. They are great spaces where people meet, shop, eat, or play e.g.Warwick District Council has details of their spaces, but also areas where you can promote your events.
Free on campus space
- Room booking system.
- Wolfson Research Exchange (Library).
- Check with your departmental administrators to see if they know of space available to your faculty that may not be timetabled.
- The Teaching Grid (Library) (Note: events in this space must relate to teaching and learning - you can see their exact criteria here).
Paid for campus space
- Warwick Conferences (You can either go through their sales team or else you can contact Emma Willis directly if you would like further information on how Warwick conferences work and to see some of the space.)
- Arts Centre - currently being refurbished until 2020 however some space is still available to book during the works.
Prevent Duty - Security at events
This is of particular relevance if you are inviting an external speaker to speak at your event (even if it's off campus) or if your event is outside as you will have to fill in a form to make security aware at least three weeks in advance. All the details here.
- University guidance on how you need to risk assess activity is available here.
- There is a template form available to download here (please note you do not have to use this particular form, we have merely provided it as an example if you do not have one already).
Public engagement toolkits
- What is public engagement?
- Advice for running events
- Giving great public engagement presentations
- Ethics and public engagement
- Promoting events
- Working in the community
- Working with The Royal Society
- National coordinating centre for public engagement (NCCPE)
- Wellcome public engagement support
- UKRI (formerly RCUK)