UCL News


Spotlight on Clio Heslop, Communications and Events Officer, UCL Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) and Dr Olivia Stevenson, Acting Head of UCL Public Policy, Office of Vice-Provost Research (OVPR)

29 April 2015

This week the spotlight is on Clio Heslop, Communications and Events Officer, UCL Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) and Dr Olivia Stevenson, Acting Head of UCL Public Policy, Office of Vice-Provost Research (OVPR) What is your role and what does it involve? OS: I am Acting Head of

Heslop Stevenson ucl.ac.uk/public-policy" target="_self">UCL Public Policy, Office of Vice Provost Research (OVPR). I am responsible for leading, managing and developing a portfolio of activities and engagements aimed at ensuring that UCL research - across all areas of expertise - has an impact on public policy.

I hold an honorary position at the University of Glasgow, have extensive experience in the social geography of missing persons and am the first in the world to publish on the narratives of (returned) missing people. For further details, see my IRIS profile

CH: As Communications and Events Officer (CEO!), I manage all aspects of internal and external communications for STEaPP. It's a very active and varied role, since STEaPP interacts with so many different organisations - the World Bank, Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, and Red Cross Climate Centre to name a few.

Day-to-day, I update the departmental website and social media, work with research projects and organise events such as workshops, seminars, conferences and international visits.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

OS: I have been at UCL since August 2014. Prior to joining, I held mainly research and knowledge exchange posts. My previous role was on the ESRC-funded project 'Geographies of missing people project: Processes, experiences and responses (2011-2014) (rated 4* in the REF, 2014); a complex, multi-stakeholder, collaborative project between the universities of Glasgow and Dundee, MPS, Police Scotland and Missing People Charity.

CH: I joined UCL in 2012 as a Research Assistant, and later Project Coordinator, at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. I moved to STEaPP when it was first formed in late-2013. Before joining UCL, I spent several years managing box offices in live music venues such as Jazz Café and the Forum in Kentish Town, and I worked on the National Science + Engineering Competition.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

At UCL, I am most proud of developing the academic-policy conversation series. Aimed at bringing Early Career Researchers into dialogue with senior academics and policy makers the series wished to provide an understanding of academic and policy approaches to working together across different areas of expertise. Although its early days, the feedback has been positive and I hope conversations will continue.

Previously, as a researcher, I developed a set of creative missing resources intended for educational and operational capacity building for relevant user groups: police officers, families and missing people, the Missing People Charity and the general public.

These stories have been used in police and charity training, included in SOPs, but the highlight has been their use in the annual missing carol service - introducing for the first time the voices of missing persons into a forum 'for' those left behind.

CH: STEaPP is still a very new department, so watching it evolve over the past 18 months has been great. Outside of UCL, working on the National Science + Engineering Competition was such a fun and rewarding experience. However, I'm really enjoying my current projects and I think I'll look back on them very fondly!

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?

OS & CH: Together, we have been putting together a programme for the UK election called UCL's Big Questions. We had the idea earlier in the year to use the election as context to showcase UCL research and how it is relevant (or not) for a changing society.

We have approached academics around UCL to contribute blogs, which discuss the 'big questions' for the next government and how research could answer them. The contributions have been really wide-ranging - so far, the blogs cover planning, energy, devolution, education, climate change and transport.

We hope this will form a wider dialogue around UCL about what research can contribute to public policy. The first few blogs are live now on the new General Election website - you can join the conversation by submitting your comments online, tweeting using #UCLGE2015 or finding us on campus on Thursday 30 April. We're holding a follow-up event UCL's Big Question Time, on Wednesday 27 May, to coincide with the opening of Parliament.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

OS: I love The Royal Tenenbaums and most things by Wes Anderson. A dry and absurdist sense of humour pervades the film and the sets are simply delightful.

CH: This is really difficult! My music tastes change all the time, but I've probably heard a track from A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory every week for the past 10 years. That album has followed me through jobs, friendships, holidays and parties. I mostly read non-fiction, but I recently enjoyed Elena Ferrante's Neopolitan novels. Favourite film… I love The Truman Show and could watch it any time.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

OS: Why did the jellybean go to school…? Because he wanted to become a smarty

CH: I just found this in a 'jokes and trivia pack' on my desk…

What does Moby Dick do on his birthday? He has a whale of a time.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

OS: Mary Portas, Kathy Burke, Louis Theroux, Helen Mirren, Bob Marley, Spike Milligan, Philip Larkin, Michel Palin, … can you see where I'm going with this… ?

CH: David Attenborough, Serena Williams, Louis Theroux, Kelis, Hilary Clinton, Jeff Goldblum, and J Dilla to provide the soundtrack.

What advice would you give your younger self?

OS: The same advice as I'd give to me now: "The world is complicated, so laughter helps!"

CH: I'm still young! I was very shy when I was younger (and sometimes still am) so I'd tell myself to speak out more and not worry so much.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

OS: That I never intended to go to university… Look what happened I did a PhD…!

CH: I'm really into boxing and practise whenever I can.

What is your favourite place?

OS: As a geographer, place is extremely important, but rather than just location, place as a feeling an interaction a relation, an imaginary.… So to be in the company of good friends is what makes my favourite place.

CH: North Norfolk coast - especially the beach at Wells.