Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Jane Perrone.
Ideas about a scholarship of engagement are increasingly generating interest among academics, across the higher education sector, and within stakeholder groups and user communities. New challenges and opportunities are being addressed as academics work with peers, and sometimes also with user communities, to envisage, theorise and instantiate new places, spaces and methods for public engagement.
In so doing, scholars are connecting with the engagement agenda as they work to identify, and increasingly to assess, more effective ways of generating, representing, circulating and debating knowledge in the public sphere.
In exploring this changing culture colleagues and I at the Open University organised an Engaging Research seminar series (for further details, see below). You can view the archived recordings of the 12 seminars in this series at the following location: http://weblab.open.ac.uk/catalyst/per-seminars
To this end, I have been a science communications consultant across Africa and Asia, North America and the UK for many years, developing knowledge, skills and expertise that I’m planning to integrate into my postgraduate research.
Clare Kemp (far left), with a film crew, working with a scientist, extension workers and farmers.
We’ve recently completed the work of the OU’s RCUK-funded Public Engagement with Research (PER) Catalyst, An Open Research University, publishing our final report (Holliman, et al. 2015). As such, members of the OU’s PER Catalyst project team and I have spent recent months consolidating the learning from our project with the aim of sharing lessons learned and resources with other universities, including the RCUK Catalyst Seed Funded universities.
Elizabeth Chappell, The Open University, and interviewees
‘We live in an era of the witness’, wrote Annette Wienorka in her 2006 book, The Era of the Witness. I recently gave a talk on witnessing the survivors of Hiroshima for the English department of the Open University Post Graduate Research conference held on 22 November 2014 at the OU’s Camden Centre. I spent the last part of my travel grant, provided by the Great British Sasakawa Foundation, on a trip to Hiroshima in September this year. During this trip I interviewed about a dozen witnesses — known as hibakusha in Japanese — as well as those who work with or study the history of the hibakusha, (from hibaku, explosion, and sha, person, in Japanese).
Back in July this year, we were part of a group of ten students selected to participate in a week long attachment at the Open University. Our aim at the start of the week was to produce two short films, exploring how scientists have been represented in popular culture. To do this, we split into two groups; each group produced one film.
Students from Denbigh Teaching School: l-r Tom Andrews, Jamie Buckingham, Cameron Edwardson, Michael O’Brien, Hashim Diriye, Yolanda Etrata, Jodie Wilkinson, Francesca Brooking, Nicole Luwaca and Lauren Billings
In spring 1931, the BBC transmitted six weekly radio programmes, under the title Science in the Making, as part of its adult education provision.
Each week a different scientist outlined his area of research, and in five cases invited listeners to report their observations of phenomena described in the programme.
Topics included the factors affecting the start of breeding season of birds, the advance of the grey squirrel in Britain, the perception of sound, and the pervasiveness of certain types of dream.
Science in the Making was thus an early venture into ‘citizen science’ and one broadcast led to an academic-journal article. This presentation gives the story of Science in the Making, and looks at a second series the following year that concentrated on social science.
Allan Jones is a Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications, part of the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing & Technology in the Open University.
Four teams of six year 9 students, each representing a different Milton Keynes school competed on the day to build two successful rockets 2 litre plastic bottles and simple craft materials.
I was working on the competition as one of the organisers, working with a team that included: Richard Holliman, Ben Dryer, Vic Pearson, and Diane Ford from the Open University, Mark Russell and Val Hawthorne from Denbigh Teaching School, and Jessica Carr who was working as an intern.
Earlier this year members of the Religious Studies department – Dr John Maiden, Professor John Wolffe and Dr Gavin Moorhead – were awarded an ‘Engaging Research’ award by the Open University for their work on the ‘Building on History: Religion in London’ project. With this in mind, now seemed a good moment to reflect on the project.
The project was a knowledge exchange initiative, running between January 2012 and January 2013, which engaged religious publics in London with recent scholarship on the the city’s modern religious history.
Andy Squires, Director of Denbigh Teaching School.
In this post Andy Squires (Director of Denbigh Teaching School) and Helen Brown (Assistant Headteacher – Denbigh Teaching School) talk about partnering with the Open University on their SUPI Project: ‘Engaging Opportunities’.
It was with great enthusiasm that we partnered with the Open University to submit our Engaging Opportunities SUPI project bid, some 21 months ago, and we have accomplished so much in this time.
Week 3 of my internship on the OU’s PER Catalyst was a bit quieter, but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t busy!
I spent this day working from home. For a 21 year old this is a very novel idea and it meant that I had to have some serious self control. I have to say that it went very well though, as I hope can be seen in my previous blog.
I also got to comment on the media training film made by OU postgraduate researchers. The piece of OU research they focused on, the field network system, is a collaboration between the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute and the Field Studies Council. The videos was very high quality. I have to say the presenter, Frazer Bird, was very impressive.