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Public Engagement

Warwick Institute of Engagement. Image shows a woman talking to some children at a public engagement event

What's this module about?

Public Engagement is about working with those outside academia to share research, collaborate on ideas and make knowledge accessible. Through the design, planning and delivery of your own public engagement activity you’ll build your communication, team working and project management skills. You’ll explore subjects like evaluation, digital engagement, effective storytelling and placemaking and come away with the confidence and skills to apply this learning to future research, and careers outside academia. This module will give you a theoretical and practical introduction to public engagement. You’ll come away with a strong knowledge of complex challenges involved, and the rewards it can bring to you, universities and society.

This is an interdisciplinary module offered by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) is available at 15 CATS to undergraduates from across the University of Warwick who are in their 2nd or 3rd years of study.

The course is convened by Professor Katherine Astbury, and several colleagues from Warwick Institute of Engagement including Dr Rachel Edwards, Dr Kerry Baker and Naomi Kay. It also features guest lecturers from across Warwick and external experts.

Structure

Public engagement is about connecting ourselves to those around us. It requires an ability to translate complex ideas, an understanding of different people and their needs, and a requirement for actively listening to their contributions. This module aims to explore the theoretical and practical skills students need to do public engagement to a high standard, explored through an interdisciplinary lens.

You'll be taught through a series of 10 2 hour seminar sessions which will include talks, panel discussions, interactive tasks with peers from a range of departments, and getting involved with engagement yourself. You'll be taught by a diverse group of module tutors who bring a variety of expertise and experience to the module.

Part of the module will involve taking part in a public engagement event, which will also be part of your assessment. Please note the final assessment deadlines for this module are early in Term 2 to allow you time to reflect on your experience of delivering a live public engagement activity.

Topics covered

  • What is public engagement
  • Getting hands on with engagement
  • Digital vs Physical Engagement
  • Video production
  • Evaluating engagement
  • Interactive Presentation Skills
  • Audiences
  • Engagement in museums/ gallery spaces
  • Co-production of research and engagement
  • The role of public engagement in society

What past students have said about this module

"Taking the Public Engagement module in my final year fundamentally changed my perception of science and my career. I got a taste of how crucial, diverse, and creative this field is throughout numerous academic projects. After I graduated from the university, I kept practicing public engagement as a hobby on multiple social media platforms. During my work experiences as a Biologist, I emphasised the importance of science communication, and I am delighted to see a growing desire to apply it."

"Studying public engagement allowed me to express my creativity and test my understanding of the discipline in ways different from simply writing essays. I’ve been thinking of pursuing a career as a political risk analyst, and for that, it will be important that I am able to explain complex, discipline-specific issues to people with no prior knowledge of them. This is exactly what public engagement prepares you for."

“My overall experience on the module was very interesting and rewarding. The module allowed me to learn and enhance various skills including presentation, teamwork, blog writing, storytelling, and, of course, public engagement!”

“I've really enjoyed having up to 3 experts in a room at one time. It has helped discussion and meant that I can really enjoy sessions.”

Assessment

15 CATS

  • Write 4 Blogs (500+) – 1 formative, 3 summative (50%) on a series of different topics (note, final assessment deadline will be in term 2) Example of a blog assessment
  • Develop a 3 minute video engaging us with a topic of your choosing. This can be the same topic as you choose for your blog, and your blog can reference this video (amongst other work) if you choose. (25%)

Example of a video assessment:

  • Work in a group to develop and deliver a live engagement activity to a public audience (25%)

Watch back to last year's events on YouTube (please note previous events have been virtual due to Covid19, but from 2022 onwards events will be in person)

Module Convenors

Professor Katherine AstburyLink opens in a new window

Katherine.Astbury@warwick.ac.uk

Dr Rachel Edwards

r.s.edwards@warwick.ac.uk

Naomi Kay

N.Kay@warwick.ac.uk

Proposed Class Time TBC

Term 1 (Autumn)
Wednesday 10.00-12.00

Where

OC1.06 - The Oculus

Assessment

15 CATS

  1. Write 4 Blogs (500+) – 1 formative, 3 summative (50%) on a series of different topics (note, final assessment deadline will be in term 2)
  2. Develop a 3 minute video engaging us with a topic of your choosing. This can be the same topic as you choose for your blog, and your blog can reference this video (amongst other work) if you choose. (25%)
  3. Work in a group to develop and deliver a live engagement activity to a public audience (25%)

Watch back to last year's events on YouTube (please note previous events have been virtual due to Covid19, but from 2022 onwards events will be in person)