As part of its public policy fellowship scheme, the AHRC have funded Open University academics to work in partnership with BBC World Service professionals on a collaborative project. The scheme encourages arts, humanities and social science researchers to spend time within a partner organisation to undertake policy relevant research. 'The Art of Intercultural Dialogue: Evaluating the Global Conversation at the BBC World Service' will examine social media and digital diplomacy projects at BBC Arabic Service and the means and methods for evaluating them. It will contribute to the AHRC's emergent research theme 'Translating Cultures'.
The Fellowship aims to:
- facilitate knowledge exchange between BBC World Service (WS) and Open University (OU) researchers on the challenges that multi-lingual, online communication poses for promoting a 'global conversation' - a key public purpose of the WS aimed at intercultural dialogue and diplomacy;
- increase the impact of the AHRC funded project 'Tuning In: Diasporic Contact Zones at the BBC WS' on policy and practice at the WS and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with regard to engaging overseas publics via interactive and social media initiatives;
- identify and delineate the qualities of best practice in deploying interactive media, involving users in shaping news output and promoting participation in ways that have demonstrable cultural and public diplomacy outcomes;
- and offer a measured assessment of progress to date on the design of research methods for evaluating and measuring the impact of interactive and social media initiatives and, in so doing, contribute to policy formation.
The project will run from May 2011 and will involve Prof Marie Gillespie (Principal Investigator), Dr Hugh Mackay (Senior Public Policy Fellow), Dr Ramy Aly and Mina Al Lami (Research Associates).