Cardiff University

Why we've signed the Manifesto

“We put our communities at the heart of everything we do. It’s what we call our civic mission. We have been directly responding to major societal challenges and undertaking work for public good for well over 130 years. We are not only committed to improving health, wealth and wellbeing on a local, national and international level but take seriously our role to promote environmental sustainability and diversity.

We have chosen to sign up to the manifesto to demonstrate our commitment to public engagement. We want our communities and partners to know we are a force for public good and that we are making a positive difference by working together on common goals. We are pleased to be able to sign the manifesto to commit to sharing and celebrating public engagement good practice.”

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor

Our approach to public engagement

Our commitment to the communities we serve is at the centre of our strategy alongside research, education, innovation and our international impact. The current social and health crisis of coronavirus has caused us to rethink how we can better use our expertise for the benefit of our diverse communities. We are determined to play our part in rescuing, reviving and renewing the economic, cultural and social hopes of Wales as we build back better and fairer from the pandemic. We will take an active role in tackling social inequalities and the global climate emergency, but also on reaching out to young people and excluded communities locally, and across Wales, who are in most need of help and support.

Public engagement with research to create impact

Training and professional development is an important and valued part of our public engagement with research. We work with diverse researchers, staff and students to boost capacity in public engagement approaches, enabling effective monitoring to evidence the impacts of engagement activities. Engaging underserved communities with research to co-design activities, allows us to increase the relevance, reach and impact of our work.

The availability of small-scale proof-of-concept funds has empowered our public engagement with research communities (particularly early career researchers) and their teams to explore new approaches to engage with varied public groups beyond academia.  This includes working alongside families and children with experiences of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to co-develop resources, co-designing workshops with artists and Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups to explore perceptions of clinical trials and getting creative with young carers to understand experiences of mental health during a pandemic through the development of lyrics and songs with musicians. Listening, interacting and working together with a variety of public groups in innovative ways has supported us to build trust, sustain engagement and deliver meaningful, transformative impact.

Our public engagement hallmark

Our public engagement programme is wide and varied, cross-cutting across many disciplines. We have several long-running, award-winning projects that directly engage with and are co-created alongside the communities we serve.

Community Gateway

Our flagship Community Gateway project, is a long-term partnership with Grangetown residents and businesses in the south of Cardiff, creating opportunities to facilitate and co-produce a range of mutually beneficial projects.

We helped the community raise over £2million to build a high quality, accessible resident-led space in the heart of Grangetown. The Grange Pavillion provides affordable space for hire, a community-led café, coworking spaces, and a biodiverse garden and green for play, health and wellbeing and seasonal growing.

Community Gateway has supported over 67 projects to help bring community-led ideas to life, including the award-winning Grangetown Youth Forum, a Grangetown Business Forum, the Grangetown Safe Play Lanes pilot in partnership with Cardiff Council, and a Pharmabees Citizen Science programme to name but a few.

The project team will continue to work with the community to identify new, sustained and impactful opportunities for long term anchor partnerships, locally and internationally, with government, industry, and communities.

 Grange Pavilion 

CAER Heritage Project

Developed by community partners and local schools, this project explores the history and archaeology of Caerau Hillfort in the west suburbs of Cardiff. 

From the very beginning, the guiding principle of this project has been to actively involve Ely and Caerau community members, groups and heritage professionals - from the co-production of archaeological and historical research to creating engaging educational opportunities.  This project has also helped to break down barriers to educational progression, promote skills development and challenge the perceptions of these communities.

CAER activities are wide-ranging and have included geophysics, excavations, artefact analyses, exhibitions, art installations, films, heritage trails, performances, accredited courses and experimental archaeology.

CAER Family Activities

Our public engagement people

We value the efforts of staff, students, volunteers and community partners who are contributing to our objectives in this important area of work. We involve and firmly embed public engagement in our research and teaching so that we all benefit. We have a varied programme of engagement projects involving all our academic schools as well as professional services colleagues. Much of our work is local but we also engage communities and share the impact of our broad-ranging work regionally, nationally and internationally.

Our public engagement networks connect our internal community to share ideas, knowledge and best practice. Our networks also provide a platform to recognise the people, projects and processes that develop, deliver and evaluate quality public engagement with research and our impact on the diverse communities we serve.

Contact details:

Ed Bridges, Public Affairs & Civic Mission Manager

Carl Smith, Public Engagement Manager