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Public Engagement

Public Engagement: IL926/ IL939

About the module

This module is for any student who's interested in learning more about what public engagement isLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window; wants to develop the skills they need to communicate clearly and engagingly to share complex ideas with diverse audiences; and enjoys learning through practical discussion based sessions with a variety of tutors.

It's an interdisciplinary module, so you'll be working with a range of students from courses all over Warwick, and you'll get to experience new and unique forms of assessment. It's hosted by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) is available at 15 or 20 CATS to postgraduate students able to take optional modules.

The course is convened by colleagues from Warwick Institute of Engagement (WIE). Professor Katherine Astbury, Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, WIE Fellow, and an academic with many years experience of collaborating with public audiences around her research, is the Academic Lead for the Module, along with Naomi Kay, Engagement Officer for Warwick Institute of Engagement with experience of delivering and supporting large scale engagement events. Guest speakers and other colleagues from the Institute also lead a variety of the sessions, giving you access to a wide range of expertise and experience.

What you'll learn and how it's taught

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.

Which version of the module you take will impact how your taught. For IL939 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. For IL926 this teaching is condensed to take place over 1 week with 2 x 3 hour seminars per day, allowing you a lunch break between session. For both options you'll be taught by a diverse group of module tutors who bring a variety of expertise and experience to the module. The sessions will contain a high level of in class discussion and several sessions will require you to take part in hands on practical activities. Your presence in class and willingness to contribute ideas is a vital part of the learning process.

Part of the module will involve creating and delivering your own public engagement event, which you will then be assessed on through your presentation and your reflective report. To allow you time for this the presentation day for both modules will take place in June.

Topics covered

  • What is public engagement
  • Who are the public?
  • Evaluating engagement
  • Engaging in online spaces
  • Planning Engagement, Good Reflective Practice
  • Collaboration and co-production of research and engagement
  • Presentation Skills
  • Getting hands on with engagement
  • Activity design

Subject-specific skills

  • Understanding of public engagement as a concept and a sector
  • Understanding of audiences
  • Understanding of evaluation methods

Transferable skills

  • Communication
  • Project management
  • Presentation/ storytelling skills
  • Online engagement via social media
  • Team work
  • Co-production and collaboration
Warwick Institute of Engagement Logo

Module Convenors

Naomi Kay

Professor Katherine Astbury

Class times 2023-24

This module runs twice.

IL939 - Spring term and is offered at 15 and 20 CATS.

Wednesdays 09:00 - 11:00 in R0.04

IL926 - Easter Vacation Week 29 (Week beginning 15th April) and is offered at 15 and 20 CATS. Teaching is between 9:30am-4:30pm daily. You should aim to attend all sessions.

The final assessment presentation day for both modules is in June

IL939 - Wednesday 19th June 2024, 10am-4pm

IL926 - Thursday 20th June 2024, 10am-4pm

Timetabling for 2024-25 TBC


Engaging the public in online spaces - 25%

Produce a digital engagement piece (e.g. blog/ video/ podcast) aimed at other students exploring the question " What is public engagement, why do we do it, and should students get involved?".

Presentation on your experience of delivering a live public engagement activity - 50%

For this module you'll need to design and deliver a public engagement activity to a public audience. WIE will provide opportunities for you to do this as part of their events programme, or you can organise your own activity. You'll be assessed on this through a presentation on your experience.

Reflective Journal (15 CATS - 2,000 words, 20 CATS - 2,500 words) 25%

Reflect and critique your experience of doing a public engagement activity and compare how this practical experience relates to your theoretical understanding of public engagement developed over the module. This is submitted alongside your presentation in June.