Bath Spa University
Why we’ve signed the Manifesto
"Research has to be explicable to everyone, as it is usually funded by the taxpayer or through charitable donations. The NCCPE's Manifesto for public engagement is an important commitment, which we are proud to support. At Bath Spa University we are continuously developing our approach to public engagement with research. We do this with the aim to inspire and enable our researchers to communicate with non-academic audiences, and to collaborate with and learn from community groups, local schools, industry partners, and the general public."
Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor, Bath Spa University
Our approach to public engagement
Bath Spa University has a creative and inquisitive culture, in which practice-based research is commonplace. Our research staff span disciplines within art, design, teaching and education, and the wider humanities and social science. This gives our research a great diversity and inspires a natural culture of engaged research, in which it is commonplace for academics to collaborate with external stakeholders throughout all stages of their projects.
We are committed to developing our institutional support for public engagement, as demonstrated by our 2018 Strategy. This sets out four strategic commitments for public engagement with research: to explore, to celebrate, to coordinate, and to build.
Our public engagement hallmark
Strategic institutional support for public engagement at Bath Spa University is still in its early stages. We are proud to have developed an institutional strategy for public engagement with research, the implementation of which is coordinated by professional skills staff who are expert in supporting our academics in public engagement. Most of all, we are endorsing a culture of celebration - of shouting about the amazing ways in which so many of our staff are already engaging with non-academic audiences.
Our public engagement talking point
While working to develop our institutional-wide strategy for public engagement, we were aware that engagement begins at an internal level. We must have a strong platform for internal communication and discussion, which will support our endeavour to communicate externally with community and industry partners.
To this aim, we have a set of University-wide Public Engagement Champions. Between them, this group spans the many interdisciplinary-research groups that exist at Bath Spa. The Champions provide peer-level support, and aim to increase and promote internal discussion around public engagement. Research staff wishing to seek support from the University for their engagement activities are encouraged to first consult with their ‘local’ Champion - a system which allows colleagues to network and learn from one another.
Our public engagement people
Within Bath Spa University there are many researchers who engage with non-academic audiences as standard practice, and do so with co-creation and collaborative aims. A great example of such is the Centre for Media Research, namely researchers Claire Levy, Matt Freeman and Charlie Tweed, who have developed a series of workshops named We Make Stuff, which invite public audiences to explore, discuss and engage with the various research projects within the Centre for Media Research.
We would also like to highlight the Shextreme Film Festival, which is directed by Dr Ruth Farrar. Shextreme is a long-term research project which gives a voice to a seldom-heard audience. It engages with publics to explore how to improve the representation of Women in Adventure on screen and behind the lens. A BFI-funded film tour in UK cinemas, a French Alps film tour, four film festivals, three film schools and several pop up workshops, as well as screenings with industry partners, have so far been a part of this ever-growing project.
Claire, Matt, Charlie and Ruth, amongst other colleagues, have been great supporters in raising the profile of public engagement at the University, and in providing regular copy, examples, and opinions for internal consumption. Their thoughts and ideas, as well the experience they have gained, are a valuable information source for staff across the University.
Lindsay Endean, Public Engagement Manager