SOLARNET Public Engagement Training Workshop


To support SOLARNET outreach and public engagement efforts we’re organising two training workshops. Aimed at both early career and senior researchers, the workshops will build confidence, skills and perspective for a wide range of communication activities and situations. In addition, the first workshop (in 2020) will be loosely themed around engagement with schools, with the second workshop (in 2021) having elements of collaboration masterclass.

While researchers are welcome to attend either workshop, we hope that some activities developed at (or in response to) the first workshop will be shared for discussion and further development in the second.

The workshops will be facilitated by highly experienced and award-winning public engagement professionals, who’ve worked with researchers of all levels, internationally. Their combined expertise spans primary school teaching, science broadcast, education leadership, and public engagement project management. They’ve run children’s film competitions and summer camps, built media strategies for learned institutions, and coached hundreds of academics in performance skills.

Workshop 1: 31st March – 1st April 2020, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

 This workshop will introduce the range of opportunities through which public engagement can occur, and some of the key issues:

- Why do we want to ‘engage the public with science?’
- Designing for evaluation, pathways to impact, and writing engagement into research bids.
- Contexts & approaches: the range of opportunities available for science communication.
- How to talk to people. Understanding your audience, and the ‘communication’ part of ’science communication’.
- Unconscious bias: implications and mitigations.
- Empty vessels to science capital and co-creation: developments and trends within public engagement.

 Workshop 1 will also step through several worked examples, with a particular emphasis on working with schools. We’ll discuss in detail the how we go about understanding the needs of teachers; structuring workshops and activities for classroom use; and techniques for engaging young people. The lessons will be applicable in a wider range of engagement contexts, however we also expect the workshop will spark the development of new classroom activities.

Workshop 2: Details to be confirmed.

The second workshop will welcome newcomers to the group while also continuing and building on the ideas introduced in workshop 1. We’ll cover some more advanced aspects of practice, present further examples of best practice, and delve more deeply into evaluation, writing engagement into grant proposals, and building strategies for impact.

The second workshop can also be steered to meet the interests of the group. It could focus to a greater or lesser extent on media skills (including interviews and video production), performance and presentation, formal education support, or even deeper into impact and evaluation. We also hope to draw on examples from across the community, sharing practice and building collaborations - perhaps those initiated by the first workshop.

 Attendance of the workshop is free and open to anyone who considers themselves a member of the Solar Physics research community.

If you would like to attend the first workshop, please register your interest here: https://forms.gle/C5w8Hbw9HY6Wbrrg6

While there is no current limit on places, depending on the level of interest we may have to cap attendance. 

Information about accommodation and reaching the venue will be available shortly.

Any questions please email Richard Morton: richard.morton@northumbria.ac.uk