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Engage Awards: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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Laura Steele, Project Officer at the NCCPE, blogs about the Engage Competition and Awards.

With almost one week to go until our Engage Conference 2016, we’re busy getting everything ready for what is always a brilliantly uplifting two days – this year even better for the fact they incorporate our second biannual Engage Awards.

In my last blog I talked about why the conference and the awards are so important, not only to us here at the NCCPE but also to the wider academic community across the UK.

We’ve been really excited by the quality and standard of the projects which have been shortlisted this year. All of them are inspiring in different ways and in my next few blog posts I’m going to take a quick look at each of them by category.

There are six competition categories in all, with three projects nominated in each. As with all the categories, the competition in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is fierce.

Around The Toilet

Up first is a project that investigates whether our public toilets are fit for purpose in modern society. To quote project lead Dr Jenny Slater, “peeing is now political”.  After engaging with disabled, gay and trans people, people with religious beliefs that affect their toilet experiences, parents, lorry drivers, and school children, the project has communicated its findings to architects in order to foster the development of more inclusive toilet spaces.

City Witness

In contrast, the next project created insights into medieval Swansea, drawing on 13th century testimonies about a hanged local man who then (reputedly) came miraculously back to life. The fascinating work included an exhibition and a website which presented the research materials, as well as an interactive, GPS-enabled tour map linked to pavement markers and a game.

The Lived Experience of Climate Change

The final project, saw Dr Joanne Jordan travel to Dhaka in Bangladesh to interview more than 600 people living on the frontline of climate change. Her findings were explored through a traditional folk performance, helping the city to reflect on the realities of living with climate change, and to consider what actions might be taken.

It goes without saying that they all deserve their place on the shortlist - but there can only be one winner. That choice is still to be made, but all will be revealed on the 29th. If you can’t join us for the Awards ceremony – you can follow us on Twitter live.

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