MyBody MyLife is an award-winning, multi-media travelling exhibition and website. Together, the exhibition and website aim to break open silences by using real-life stories of abortion. The stories in the exhibition show how easily an unplanned pregnancy can become part of women’s lives, how different women have taken their decision to have an abortion, and what the process was like for them.
Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Jane Perrone.
Digital media are changing researchers’ roles and simultaneously providing a route for a more engaging relationship with stakeholders throughout the research process. But are they work?
Over the last couple of years I’ve been working with colleagues at the Open University (Ann Grand, now at the University of Western Australia, Trevor Collins and Anne Adams) to explore this issue and how it relates to questions of strategy, operational practices, training, support, and reward and recognition (Holliman et al., 2015).
In attempting to address the overarching question of whether social media are work, we recently published a paper arising from one aspect of a project exploring how university research and professional practices are evolving as researchers engage with stakeholders via digital media to create, share and represent knowledge together (Grand et al., 2016).
In that paper we review the extent to which they are developing multiple identities and functions in their engaged research through digital media. You can access the paper from the following link:
Nick Mahony and Hilde Stephansen, The Open University
A case study of the Participation Now project
If you are reading this blog, you’ll no doubt be aware that public engagement is high on the agenda within higher education and many other domains. You’ll also probably be aware that researchers face increasing pressures – from their institutions, funders and colleagues – to engage publics and produce evidence of the ‘impact’ and ‘relevance’ of their research. However, little systematic attention has so far been paid to what precisely is meant by the ‘public’ in public engagement.
What happens if we put the ‘public’ at the centre of our efforts to conceptualise, conduct and evaluate publicly engaged research? This question formed the starting point for a presentation that we gave at the Open University on 9th June as part of the Engaging Research seminar series.
The potentials and pitfalls of social networking and blogging about research
Over the last few years I’ve developed a number of blogs to accompany my various academic/research projects and have become a big advocate of using social media in conjunction with research. Along with wordpress – which is a really easy way for non-technical folk to put up a website or blog – I’ve also used prezi to ensure that my presentations are publicly available, youtube for filmed clips, facebook and twitter for discussion and sharing relevant links, and storify to record online conversations such as livetweeting from conferences and other events. Continue reading →