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Creating Publics

Creating Publics aims to innovate new ways of engaging publics in the on-going processes of social science research and public life.
November 2011 - October 2014

The project emerges out work undertaken under the auspices of CCIG’s Publics Research Programme and the recognition that there is a need to bring contemporary research on public mediation to bear on the public engagement agenda.

Acknowledging that opportunities to perform publicly are both increasingly diverse as well as more and more unevenly available, the project investigates the current drive for publicly engaging social science research by exploring what is at stake in different contexts and experimenting with new approaches to practice.

The starting point of the project is that publics are entities that must be summoned, mediated, assembled and performed; entities that require resources, infrastructure and platforms to be developed and sustained; and, entities that are heterogeneous and always in a process of becoming.

Running until the summer of 2014, the project has three main strands:

Public creation pilots

A range of public creation pilots will run each year in collaboration with pre-existing and new social science research projects based in CCIG. The pilots will explore and test-out new collaborative approaches to the design of publicly engaging research. By learning more about, and attempting to negotiate the obstacles to and opportunities for public engagement in particular contexts of practice, we will research and develop the Creating Publics approach.

Public events

We are convening a series of public events to broaden the debate about what is at stake in the move towards publicly engaging research  - whether this comes 'top-down' from funders, or 'bottom-up' from NGO activists, or publicly-engaged social science scholars.

Public resources  

To document, promote and widen the appeal of the Creating Publics perspective, we are also producing a range of public resources, including publications, web and learning resources.

The Creating Publics project is led by Dr Nick Mahony, who is a Research Fellow located in the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG). If you have any questions about this project or would like to be put on the mailing list for regular updates, please email nick.mahony@open.ac.uk.

For further information, news and updates, visit the Creating Publics blog and website or follow @CreatingPublics on Twitter.