UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Recognition for STS public engagement training

28 June 2013

The STS department, in collaboration with UCL's Public Engagement Unit and UCL Outreach, has recently developed a suite of new training courses for postgraduate students relating to public engagement skills.  The courses, run as part of the Graduate School's Skills Development Programme, were piloted for the first time this year, to great acclaim by the participants involved.  Feedback from the courses included:

I thought that the course was overall amazing. We heard from many different people and perspectives and were practically introduced to "what it's all about". Overall this was amazing from the group work to the presentations and idea development.

This course was amazingly fun. It was presented in a lively manner with speakers who are clearly very engaged with their work and strive to enable others to do so. The participants, as well, really gave their all to make the day an enlightening experience.

A very entertaining course with loads of information and resources about planning activities with school students. Even if you don't have any specific idea in mind, join in and get inspired!

The courses were led by Dr Karen Bultitude and Dr Simon Lock in partnership with various specialists within UCL, representing a coherent approach to the overall programme that celebrated the outstanding existing expertise in various forms of public engagement within UCL.  The sessions covered a range of practical and theoretical perspectives, and were explicitly designed to provide participants with appropriate background information and support to be able to directly apply the tools and techniques to communicating their own research topics effectively.  They also tied into Professor Steve Miller's existing research communication workshops.  

The success of the coherent nature of these courses has recently been recognised by The Guardian as a key example of best practice in university public engagement. The new courses were identified as ensuring that "no one learns skills in a vacuum. You don't just learn how to make a podcast (for example), you also get to understand how podcasts fit into a wider public engagement agenda."

The programme will continue in 2013/14 and is likely to incorporate additional key topics such as science festivals, facilitation skills, and broadcast media.  Further information about the 2012/13 courses is available on the Graduate School website at http://courses.grad.ucl.ac.uk/course-details.pht?course_ID=2354.