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Showing 14 News Articles from Public Engagement:
Global Stories Photo
10th anniversary year, awards and funding!
9th Jan 2018
Lead image credit: Ellen Filor, for Global Stories project, part of East India at Home In 2008, UCL was one of six Beacons for Public Engagement established by HEFCE, RCUK and Wellcome Trust to inspire culture change in how universities engaged with the public. Over the last 10 years, thanks to the outstanding work of so many of you and your community partners locally, nationally and internationally, the culture of engagement at UCL has gone from strength to strength. UCL Culture now encompasses one of the largest centrally-funded public engagement teams in the country and there is a growing community of skilled and dedicated public engagement practitioners within UCL’s staff and student body.Since 2008, the Public Engagement Unit has advised on 1294 projects, trained over 5000 researchers, hosted public engagement events attracting over 74,000 participants and contributed to successful external research grant applications totalling almost £128 million.In a triple hurrah to mark our anniversary year, we have three opportunities for you to take your public engagement work to new heights this year.[[{"fid":"3853","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"2017 Provost Awards","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"2017 Provost Awards","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"2017 Provost Awards","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"2017 Provost Awards","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"534","width":"500","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]Nominations are now open for the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement, an opportunity to celebrate not just the work of the last year but also the public engagement journey that we have been on as an institution.  We are also launching the 10th year of the Beacon Bursary funding scheme. With up to £2000 of funding available per applicant, previously supported projects have been both ambitious and incredibly diverse. They include art workshops exploring faith in urban populations and working with patients to create a cookbook of recipes to help alleviate symptoms of macular degeneration. If you need money to involve a public group in your research find out how to apply now.For PhD students who are alumni of UCL public engagement training, we invite you to apply for up to £1000 from Train and Engage– a chance to dip your toe in the public engagement water and put your newly-acquired knowledge to practical use on a project relating to your own research.You can read about our ambitions for the future on the UCL Culture blog and see the plans already set out in UCL’s Public Engagement Strategy.But what have your experiences of engagement at UCL been? And what are your ambitions for the future? We’d love to hear from you and will be gathering and sharing your thoughts on public engagement past and future as this anniversary year progresses.Here’s to the next ten years! More to look out for in 2018:Provosts Awards for Public Engagement – Deadline 5th March 2018These awards celebrate the outstanding work done by UCL staff and students, and their community partners, to bring together UCL research and teaching with the needs, interests and expertise of those outside the institution.Awards recognise students, professional services staff and academic/research staff at all career levels. They also reflect the valuable commitment made by the community partners who work so closely with UCL people to make public engagement possible.Information on how to nominate someone for an award and what kind of work is eligible is available on our website.We look forward to celebrating the achievements of all nominees at the awards ceremony in June.Funding[[{"fid":"6995","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Audiences with interactive game","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Audiences with interactive game","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Audiences with interactive game","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Audiences with interactive game","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3840","width":"5760","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Ever considered how your research could impact a wider community beyond the university? The UCL Culture Public Engagement Unit is now accepting applications for its flagship funding programs: the Beacon Bursaries, and Train and Engage funding. Through these funding schemes, UCL staff and students can connect with public groups, benefiting their own research and the lives of public partners.Beacon Bursaries – Deadline Midnight, Sunday 17th June 2018Beacon Bursaries are designed to support staff and postgraduate research students at UCL to engage with public groups. This scheme funds public engagement activities that increase staff and postgraduate research students’ activity, skills, and understanding of public engagement. Up to £2,000 is available through this fund.In 2017, Beacon Bursaries supported staff and students to create a participatory photography exhibition in Rwanda, host workshops with young people with chronic rheumatic conditions, create storytelling maps in Cornwall, and to run a beatboxing workshop with patients who have had laryngectomies. The bursaries have funded a host of activities in previous years, and for more information and guidance on this round, and information on previous projects, please visit our project page.Train and Engage – Deadline Midnight, Sunday 3rd June 2018The aim of the Train and Engage grant scheme is to increase activity, skills and understanding of public engagement among postgraduate research students across UCL. Only those who have attended training delivered by the PEU are able to apply for the funding of up to £1,000. If you have been funded through this scheme in the past, you are not eligible for this round.In 2017, Train and Engage funding supported postgraduate research students to work on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. This funding is a valuable public engagement development opportunity, and for information and guidance for this round, please visit our project page.*With all of our funding schemes, it is essential that applicants read the guidance, and we recommend that they also contact the unit to discuss their proposals.For any help or questions about applying for funding, please email publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk. 
Audiences with interactive game
Public Engagement funding rounds now open
8th Jan 2018
This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the UCL Public Engagaement Unit. We'll be looking at some of their highlights in the weeks and months to come, but right now we want to talk about funding opportunities which open today. The Public Engagement Unit offers two funding programmes: Beacon Bursaries – Deadline 17th June 2018Beacon Bursaries are designed to support staff and postgraduate research students at UCL to engage with public groups. This scheme funds public engagement activities that increase staff and postgraduate research students’ activity, skills, and understanding of public engagement. Up to £2,000 is available through this fund.In 2017, Beacon Bursaries supported staff and students to create a participatory photography exhibition in Rwanda, host workshops with young people with chronic rheumatic conditions, create storytelling maps in Cornwall, and to run a beatboxing workshop with patients who have had laryngectomies. The bursaries have funded a host of activities in previous years, and for more information and guidance on this round, and information on previous projects, please visit our project page.Train and Engage – Deadline 3rd June 2018The aim of the Train and Engage grant scheme is to increase activity, skills and understanding of public engagement among postgraduate research students across UCL. Only those who have attended training delivered by the PEU are able to apply for the funding of up to £1,000. If you have been funded through this scheme in the past, you are not eligible for this round.In 2017, Train and Engage funding supported postgraduate research students to work on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. This funding is a valuable public engagement development opportunity, and for information and guidance for this round, please visit our project page. With all of our funding schemes, it is essential that applicants read the guidance, and we recommend that they also contact the unit to discuss their proposals.For any help or questions about applying for funding, please email publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk. Good luck! 
Stoke Newington Methodist church
Provost's Award Spotlight: 200 Years of Methodism in Stoke Newington
9th Oct 2017
One of the highlights in the UCL public engagement year is the Provost's Awards for Public Engagement. This takes place every year in the spring and recognises the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here – but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL.  With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing.   So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify.[[{"fid":"5575","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Ruth Slatter","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Ruth Slatter","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"400","width":"400","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]This month we’re featuring Ruth Slatter, who has just completed her PhD in the UCL Department of Geography. Her research focuses on the material design of Methodist practices in London from 1851 to 1932 and the everyday experiences of their congregations.Ruth’s project, 200 Years of Methodism in Stoke Newington celebrated the anniversary of the first Methodist church built in Stoke Newington, and the opening of a brand new church on the original site. She told us, “The project aimed to engage both the church’s congregation and the local community in the history of Methodism in Stoke Newington and introduce them to the new church building, which was specifically designed to be a flexible space for community use”.[[{"fid":"5579","view_mode":"xl","fields":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"©Tim Crocker","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"xl","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"©Tim Crocker","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"580","width":"870","class":"media-element file-xl"}}]]Ruth helped the church's launch by working with members of the church's community, local historians and a photographer to run events, produce a podcast, and host an exhibition of the area's historical geography.  Julian Cowie, architect of the new development said of the church's opening ceremony, “the youngest member of the church unveiled the foundation stone which has been laid in the entrance foyer space and is inscribed with an excerpt from scripture that is important to the ethos of the church. The service was a joyous occasion filled with music and blessings for the new church and the Methodist community in Stoke Newington.”The words committed to stone like this seemed an appropriate symbol for the wider context of Ruth’s research. The idea of personal reflection being built into the fabric of the building is an interesting parallel to some of the questions Ruth was asking the congregation.“Part of my research is interested in exploring how the physical design of church buildings affects how people engage with their religious practices. For example, I ask questions like how does the arrangement of the seats affect what congregation members can see, how does the position of the windows and the light conditions influence the mood of the space?”[[{"fid":"5587","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church stained glass","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church stained glass","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"580","width":"712","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Ruth commissioned photographer Susanne Hakuba to capture members of the congregation in the new church, in poses reflective of their faith. She displayed the photos with short testimonies - an idea we loved.[[{"fid":"5599","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2000","width":"2000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]][[{"fid":"5603","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2000","width":"2000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]][[{"fid":"5607","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2000","width":"2000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]][[{"fid":"5611","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EPhotography%20by%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Congregation members","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EPhotography%20by%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"2000","width":"2000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]“The portraits are much more than representations of congregation members in physical spaces and they begin to reveal how church spaces are 'metaphysical' spaces, spaces created by individuals' lived experience in, and memories of, these places. When these portraits were taken each congregation member was asked to stand in a pose that reflected their approach to worship and in the exhibition these portraits were accompanied by a short biography. These biographies included quotes from each congregation member about their experience of church, religion and faith".One congregation member said,"I like the Methodist Church, which is like a second home to me. If I don't come to church I feel very unhappy. I look forward to coming to church. I look forward to meeting people. I look forward to worshiping. I like the Methodist Church and their style of worshiping and I like their method of Christianity. The method is: 'All are welcome".Ruth’s inquisitive approach to public engagement has had a lasting impact on the church and its visitors. She told us, “The exhibition and events arranged to celebrate the church’s opening encouraged members of the local community to come into the church and they now host a community activity on nearly every day of the week!”[[{"fid":"5615","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Stoke Newington Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3E%26copy%3BTim%20Crocker%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"580","width":"870","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Her work also leaves us with some really interesting questions to ponder, whether we are religious or not. How do the spaces you use each day affect your mentality? Do you have favourite places to go and think? How can we use spaces more effectively to create community?We’d love to hear your thoughts as we continue the conversation on Twitter @UCLCulture.
Train and Engage
Winners of Train and Engage funding announced
8th Sep 2017
UCL Culture is committed to the development of UCL staff and students, and firmly believes that Public Engagement can be a major contributor to this development. Train and Engage is a program designed to do just this, giving UCL research students training in the theory of public engagement, along with practical tips for running a project. Upon completing the training, students have the opportunity to bid for up to £1,000 to make these projects happen.In the past, the program has funded over 50 project leaders, who have gone on to continue their career in research, gain promotion, and use their new skills to work on other projects in a variety of contexts.[[{"fid":"5627","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Women of Methodist church","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20at%20Ruth%20Slatter%26rsquo%3Bs%20%26lsquo%3B200%20Years%20of%20Methodism%20in%20Stoke%20Newington%26rsquo%3B%20project.%20%26copy%3B%20Susanne%20Hakuba%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"667","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We are proud to announce the winners of 2016/17 grants and to welcome our newest cohort of funded PhD students. Nine project leaders have been funded, and will be working with public groups on projects linked to festivals, playgrounds, infant development, herbal medicine, photosynthesis and much more. The information on each of the project leaders and a summary of their project is available to download.[[{"fid":"5635","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Train and Engage","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EMaddison%20Coke%20and%20team%20at%20Green%20Man%20Festival%202016%2C%20with%20%23challengeMartha%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"720","width":"960","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]The next training sessions for Train and Engage will be in the spring term and the next funding deadline will be in June 2018. You can find more information on Train and Engage here. For announcements and information about Train and Engage and other funding opportunities for public engagement projects you can also sign up to our newsletter.
Liz Pellicano
Provost's Awards Spotlight: Promoting wellbeing of autistic young people
7th Sep 2017
One of the highlights in the UCL public engagement year is the Provost's Awards for Public Engagement. This takes place every year in the spring and recognises the fantastic work that UCL's staff and students do to open up research and teaching at UCL to the wider world by engaging with communities.There were seven winners earlier in the year – which you can read about here but we had over fifty nominations from across UCL.  With such a wealth of projects, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to shout about this work – which is all amazing.   So we decided to run this new news feature - the Provost Awards Spotlight.  This feature will run throughout the rest of the year in the run up to the next Awards, and will tell the stories of these individuals using their platform at UCL to mobilise, inspire and amplify.[[{"fid":"5459","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Everyone's normal is different","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]What would you define as normal behaviour? And if someone described you as being normal would you think that was a good or a bad thing anyway? Everyone’s definition is unique, and it was exactly this idea behind a brilliant public engagement project to help young autistic people with their mental health.Know Your Normal was the result of the partnership between Professor Liz Pellicano of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) and charity Ambitious about Autism. Their research project set out to help promote an understanding of what wellbeing looks like for autistic children and young people. [[{"fid":"5487","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CRAE and Ambitious about Autism","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EProfessor%20Liz%20Pellicano%20and%26nbsp%3BDr%20Laura%20Crane%20of%20CRAE%2C%20Jack%20and%20Georgia%20from%20Ambitious%20about%20Autism%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"771","width":"1878","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]“We worked with a team of young autistic people, from the charity Ambitious about Autism, to carry out an important piece of research on mental health in young autistic adults (16-25 years). The young people selected the topic of the research, decided how they wanted to research it, and took an active role in analysing and reporting the findings – all under the guidance of the CRAE team. The resulting report, co-authored by CRAE and the young people themselves, highlighted high levels of mental health problems in young autistic adults. It also called for better support for young autistic people, to help them identify that they are experiencing mental health problems, as well as more initiatives to reduce stigma associated with autism and mental health, and greater autistic involvement in service design and delivery.” – Liz Pellicano[[{"fid":"5479","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Crisps in size order","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"right","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"281","width":"500","class":"media-element file-medium"}}]]Autism is not a mental health condition, yet a staggering 70-80% of children and adults on the autism spectrum have experienced mental health problems. Liz and her team conducted interviews with young autistic adults to try to identify why that connection exists. Liz found, “Many young people felt that these problems stemmed from the pressure to act “normal” in a “neurotypical” world (the world of non-autistic people). As one young person told us: “If somebody who wasn’t autistic grew up being excluded, bullied, and pressured to be something that they are not, they would very likely develop the same conditions.”At a presentation event earlier this year, Fern from the charity explained how confusing even professionals can find diagnosis, “Many of us have experiences of our ‘normal’ being mistaken for mental health issues, while many of us have had mental health issues and have been told it’s just part of being autistic, and it’s been dismissed”.Since the Provost Awards in February for which Liz’s project was nominated, the collaboration between CRAE and Ambitious about Autism has gone on to create a digital toolkit to identify mental health issues. This video explains how to use it.[[{"fid":"5463","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Know Your Normal","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1005","width":"1860","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Finding solutions like this would not be possible without such close collaboration with the users themselves. Liz told us, “We have worked towards making sure that autistic people and their families are more involved in the decisions that shape their lives – including the type of research that gets done. My own belief is that we need to listen more to the people that we ‘study’ and that we need to work together to make the research that we do really count. Persuading all of my scientific colleagues to reach out in this way can sometimes be difficult. But I’ll keep trying.”[[{"fid":"5467","view_mode":"small","fields":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"small","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Liz Pellicano","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"left","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1500","width":"1000","class":"media-element file-small"}}]]It’s also a question of sharing those unique findings with a wider community. Since research of this type and quality is in short supply, spreading the word becomes important too.“Our aim at CRAE is to make sure that people on the ground - autistic people, their families and friends, educators, clinicians, and the wider public - hear about the results of studies just like this one. To this end, we give talks to professionals and parents, highlighting the results - in this case, the alarmingly high rates of mental health problems in young autistic adults and their negative experiences of the (mental) healthcare system. For example, I gave a talk last week to the Hackney Autism Alliance Board, a partnership board consisting of stakeholder representatives (autistic adults, parents, local councillors, professionals) set up by Hackney Council and City and Hackney CCG in response to the Autism Act 2009. They are developing an Autism Strategy for children, young people and adults in Hackney - and so they were keen to the Know your Normal findings and how they might better serve the mental health needs of young people in their borough”.This sense of urgency was emphasized by Fern from Ambitious about Autism, who said “What autistic people deserve needs to become something we don’t just talk about here, or something that’s only tweeted about tonight, or something that is just presented in research findings to show what we’re not achieving. Instead what young autistic people deserve is for active changes to take place so that we can identify mental health issues when they occur, be taken seriously by professionals in mental health services and get support that works and helps us return to our normal”.You can read a full report of the Know Your Normal project here, and listen to a conversation about the project between Professor Liz Pellicano, Dr Laura Crane (also of CRAE) and Georgia and Jack from Ambitious about Autism here.Finally, if you are a young person with autism and want to join the discussion with Ambitious about Autism, you can find out about their Youth Council events here. 
Beacon Bursary
Beacon Bursaries
29th Aug 2017
Our Public Engagement Unit is delighted to announce the awardees in the latest round of Beacon Bursaries. After another very competitive round, the unit is proud to have funded 13 projects at the end of 2016/17.Activities we have supported in this round include promoting access to health information and services in the Chinese community in the UK, addressing sewage management on canal boats, creating a photo exhibition on parental leave for fathers, and a host of other projects that will connect with a variety of public groups.[[{"fid":"5419","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Beacon Bursaries","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20from%20%26lsquo%3BBeat%20Boxing%20after%20laryngectomy%26rsquo%3B%2C%20a%20Beacon%20Bursary%20project%20led%20by%20Dr%20Evangelos%20Himonides%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Beacon Bursaries","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"%3Cp%3EParticipants%20from%20%26lsquo%3BBeat%20Boxing%20after%20laryngectomy%26rsquo%3B%2C%20a%20Beacon%20Bursary%20project%20led%20by%20Dr%20Evangelos%20Himonides%3C%2Fp%3E","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"920","width":"1379","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]Previous Beacon Bursary winners have run workshops in remote communities around the world. Energy mapping and photography skills were shared with off-grid solar home users in Rwanda to assess the technology and its impact in the communities. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, mapping skills were used to gather data on urban water access. The data collected increased the negotiating power of local residents when appealing to their governments for service improvements. These skills mobilised individuals who might previously have felt powerless, and effected real change in the community.[[{"fid":"5495","view_mode":"large","fields":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Mapping workshops Iwona Bisaga","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"large","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Mapping workshops Iwona Bisaga","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][title]":"","field_caption_heading[und][0][url]":"","field_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_caption[und][0][format]":"limited_html","field_float_left_right[und]":"none","field_file_image_decorative[und]":"0"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"1880","width":"2816","class":"media-element file-large"}}]]We’re really excited to see how this year’s projects develop with the support of the Beacon Bursaries, and will invite project leaders to update on their progress throughout the year.Beacon Bursaries are available to UCL staff and postgraduate research students looking to connect their research or teaching with people outside UCL in a new way. The next deadline for the fund is in June 2018, and the round will be open in January 2018. Sign up to our newsletter for further announcements and information.To read more about the Beacon Bursaries, please visit our project page here. 
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