2022 Beacon Bursaries awarded
UCL Engagement is excited to announce 2022’s successful Beacon Bursaries

Following receipt of the largest number of applications ever received, UCL Engagement is funding 11 projects from across UCL that will engage with public groups as part of research and teaching. The projects represent different methods of engagement; from using art-based practices to co-create knowledge, to participatory workshops and place-based intervention. In all cases these projects are bringing people together to exchange knowledge, skills and perspectives.

The successful projects are working with communities across London, the UK and beyond, many of whom are not often heard in academia. Over the 2022-2023 academic year, UCL Engagement will support these projects, ensuring that learning is captured along with beneficial impacts on both research and teaching within UCL and on the people and communities we engage with.

This year saw many postgraduate students both applying for and being awarded a Beacon Bursary. This enthusiasm from those starting out on their research careers helps make a reality of UCL Engagement's ambitions to enable brighter ideas through deeper connections.

2022/23 Group of funded Beacon Bursaries with UCL Engagement Staff

Below are our projects. For additional information, please contact UCL Engagement on:  publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk

  • London Ladino: Co-creating Judeo-Spanish voices with local Sephardic Jews
    Dr Carlos Yebra Lopez, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies
    Co-Applicants: Tamara Gleason Freidberg, Alejandro Acero Ayuda 

    The main aim of this project is to reconnect Sephardic Jews living in London with Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), i.e., the language of their ancestors, which is currently classified by UNESCO as severely endangered. Sephardim in London will have the chance to acquire the fundamentals about the language of their ancestors (Ladino), thus granting them access to a fundamental part of their ethnic background, culture, and religion, plus the possibility to communicate with many other Sephardim around the world. Additionally, the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies will have the chance to expand its research and teaching portfolio on Sephardic Jews and Ladino.
  • Offensive BSL (British Sign Language) Signs in the UK Deaf Community
    Indie Beedie, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
    Co-Applicant: Sannah Gulamani    

    This project aims to address the use of offensive signs in BSL and provide an opportunity for Deaf BSL signers who are Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities to discuss their views and feelings about what BSL signs are offensive. Offensive BSL signs are signs that perpetuate racist, ableist and other oppressive ideologies which cause emotional and social harm. We hope to improve engagement with these groups who have been routinely oppressed in white-dominated public discourse about BSL as well as improve the impact of our BSL research for these groups, particularly when asked to research or comment on topics related BSL preservation, which the community have tied up with debate on offensive signs, sign language variation, and language attitudes. Finally, we aim to comment with more knowledge and gain further understanding of the issue.
  • Ethnic Health Inequities and Data Justice – A Conversation with Young People     
    Joseph Lam, Department of Population, Policy and Practice, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
    Co-Applicants: Amy Spiller, Professor Katie Harron

    We aim to explore how ethnicity is understood, experienced, asked and recorded for young people from refugees and migrant backgrounds, and how ethnic identity belongingness may change over time and across settings. Through this project, we hope to empower Young Leaders with knowledge of ethnic health inequalities as an outcome of the exclusion of minoritised ethnic communities in health research and promote awareness of what they can do about health data hesitancy. Lastly, as part of this project, we will inform researchers about young people's views on the use of ethnicity category clusters and the meaning of such categories to young people from minoritized ethnic communities in their analytical practices.
  • Shaping future research for Better Conversations with Parkinson’s    
    Philippa Clay, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences    
    Co-Applicant: Professor Steven Bloch

    Better Conversations with Parkinson’s (BCP) is a speech and language therapy intervention, co-produced at UCL, that aims to improve the success and enjoyment of everyday conversations for people living with Parkinson’s. We aim to identify clear priorities for future research into BCP from the perspective of key stakeholders. We will engage in particular with people with communication difficulties resulting from Parkinson’s – voices seldom heard in research. The BCP intervention is currently undergoing a feasibility study. Through public engagement we will ensure future BCP research addresses the key priorities of those providing and receiving this novel therapy approach. 
  • Maths Attitudes, Truths and Happy/Horror Stories (MATHS)
    Donna-Lynn Shepherd, IOE - Psychology and Human Development
    Co-Applicants: Dr Jo Van Herwegen, Dr Laura Outhwaite, Dr Liz Herbert

    This project aims to raise awareness, recognition and understanding of dyscalculia, mathematical learning difficulties and maths anxiety with the general public and create a better understanding of the of lived experiences of dyscalculia and mathematical learning difficulties in the wider public through the co-creation of novel materials for our ADD UPP awareness campaign.
  • Paths to Public History    
    Dr Anna Maguire, Department of History
    Co-Applicant: Vicky Price

    This project asks what a community access course or module for public historians living and working around UCL East would look like. With the establishment of a new MA in Public History and the Urban Room and Memory Workshop at UCL East, and building on the work of The New Curators Project at UCL Special Collections, we will undertake community-engaged research to think about how we at UCL East can support the ongoing public history work of our surrounding communities and develop our curriculums in response.
  • Social prescribing for female asylum seekers in Camden    
    Dr Joanna Dobbin, Primary Care & Population Health
    Co-Applicants: Dr Fiona Hamilton, Dr Eleanor Turner Moss, Medact Migrant Solidarity Group, Hopscotch Women’s Centre

    The aim of the project is to explore the barriers, utilisation and need for social prescribing for female asylum seekers living in contingency accommodation in Camden through an interdisciplinary workshop. This workshop aims to connect women living in contingency accommodation, community groups, primary care health care professionals, and the social prescribing hub. Through an interactive, exploratory workshop (with an optional group walk), we aim to explore what local community activities that could impact health are available, the role of social medicine, and what community health means to those attending. The work will act as a springboard for future work on social prescribing for marginalised groups at UCL Primary Care & Population Health, and for community integration and health for those seeking asylum.
  • Youth Conference – Amplified Voices
    Dr Toyin Agbetu, Department of Anthropology
    Co-Applicant: Hackney Account

    Many young people in East London, especially those of African heritage, experience unjust, racialised profiling. This results in the excessive use of force and repeated stop and searches by Metropolitan police officers. Hackney Account is a youth-led group that has been challenging this abuse of police powers. This project, resulting in a youth conference between community stakeholders, students and staff based at UCL’s Department of Anthropology is designed to facilitate their working together to identify solutions. They will explore how to give those victimised by such police practices, the support and confidence to record, document, analyse and share their traumatic experiences with rigour, outside any existing police complaint mechanisms. 
  • Special Podcast Series with Teenagers & Young Adults, Radiation Researchers & Therapeutic Radiographers    
    Dr Jamie Dean, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
    Co-Applicants: Dr Catarina Veiga, Dr Lisa Whittaker

    Teenagers and young adults (TYAs) diagnosed with cancer often find themselves too old for children’s services but among the youngest in adult services. This project builds on another public engagement project, Radiation Reveal, which highlighted less is known about radiotherapy compared to other cancer treatments, and that TYAs highly value but often lack peer support. We will bring together TYAs and radiation researchers funded by CRUK RadNet City of London to co-produce a special series of the podcast RadChat. We aim to increase awareness of radiotherapy, TYAs experiences of cancer, impactful PPIE and promote UCL’s cancer research to new audiences outside of the academic domain.

  • Nafasi Kati: A care-centred approach to co-creating narratives with bereaved families of recently-deceased children 
    Callie Daniels-Howell, Institute for Global Health 
    This project supports the work of my doctoral research in Kenya, co-producing family narratives of the space between life and death for nine children who died from cancer within the last six months. The aim of this public engagement project is to understand how best to co-construct knowledge with recently bereaved families in a mutually-beneficial, anti-extractive manner that prioritises care for families and affirms their power as owners of the narrative of this highly sensitive and intimate life experience. This will be explored through three workshops with the family members of these nine children where professional grief support will be provided. Families will conduct open-ended, small-group narrative constructions with one another, and group discussions will be held to learn from families what impact they would like their child’s life to have, who should hear their story, and how they can work together to leverage the space of this research to contribute that change. 
  • Breaking down stigmatization of mental health and breaking barriers to recruiting ethnic minorities individuals into mental health research    
    Dr Harpreet Kaur Sihre, Institute of Epidemiology & Health
    Co-Applicant: William Lammons

    Ethnic minority groups are at higher risk for developing mental disorders but demonstrate lower uptake in mental health research in the UK. There is a need to collaborate with ethnic minority groups to devise innovative and culturally sensitive mental health research recruitment strategies. The aims of this project are to: 1) improve ethnic minority groups' impressions and conceptions of mental health research 2) increase participation of minority groups in UCL's mental health research. We will organise a "community cafe" with members of the public in aim to produce a framework to improve minority groups' participation in mental health research.

Further Information on UCL Engagement:

  • UCL Engagement takes a collaborative approach to enabling brighter ideas through deeper connections. We focus on equipping UCL to listen and respond to community need, locally and globally. We spark ideas of how drawing on community-based experience and assets can lead to collaborative success in solving challenges and creating positive change together. We expand the conversations which inform UCL’s research and teaching, particularly to include those whose voices are heard less often or have been drowned out in the past. Importantly, we are committed to sharing what we learn about how to work with others to achieve more with government (national and local), UKRI and other funders, the Higher Education sector and beyond.
  • UCL Engagement is based in the Office of the UCL Vice-Provost, Research, Innovation & Global Engagement (OVPRIGE) within Library, Culture, Collections & Open Science (LCCOS).
  • The Beacon Bursary funding round is also support by UCL East’s Community Engagement programme supporting projects taking place in east London.
  • UCL Engagement was established in 2008 as the Public Engagement Unit. Since then, UCL Engagement has awarded over £290,000 of funding to 175 projects through the Beacon Bursary scheme. This was the final Beacon Bursary round. 


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