Manifesto Signatory

Royal Holloway, University of London

updated on 03 Nov 2023
3 minutes
Royal Holloway Campus

Why we've signed the Manifesto

"From its origins as a pioneer in women’s education, Royal Holloway has always challenged notions of who can and cannot contribute to and benefit from university. Royal Holloway’s staff and students engage with a wide range of ‘publics’ in research and other activities – publics who bring specific and valued expertise to the process of knowledge production. These people form a vital part of our inclusive community.

We’ve signed the NCCPE Manifesto to make explicit our commitment to public engagement. Signing the manifesto sends a clear message - internally and externally - that all of our public engagement activities contribute to the university’s civic role and that we take that role seriously. Being part of NCCPE enables us to better manage and develop our public engagement and to share good practice, for the benefit of our publics, staff, and students, as well as the wider sector."

Professor Helen Nicholson, Vice-Principal for Research Impact and Interdisciplinarity

Our approach to public engagement

Royal Holloway supports staff and students who engage with relevant publics via their research and in other ways, at department and faculty level as well as centrally via our Marketing & Communications and Research & Enterprise departments. While recognising that public engagement can be an important ‘pathway to impact’ for research, we are careful to not instrumentalise it in the service of REF or UKRI impact but rather see public engagement as valuable in its own right and part of our civic role. We try to refer to publics in the plural - so as to be clear about who we’re engaging with and to maximise benefits - and we try to base engagements on long-term, mutually-beneficial, two-way partnerships. We provide internal training in relevant skills, talks, intranet resources and we develop and share opportunities for colleagues to further their public engagement.

Our public engagement hallmark

The Citizens Project helps young people better understand the relationship between citizen and state in Britain over 800 years.

The Citizens Project is a three-year Heritage Lottery Fund project led by Royal Holloway that helps school and college students better understand how the relationship between the citizen and the state has developed in Britain over the last 800 years. Based on the College’s commitment to partnerships as the basis of successful public engagement, the project works closely with external organisations including the AQA exam board, The National Archives, the People's History Museum, the UK Parliament, History of Parliament and the Historical Association. The project involves a range of activities carefully designed to maximise the benefits to participating publics. The breadth of the ‘citizens’ theme means that multiple academic departments have contributed to activities, making this a project that represents the College as a whole, especially since it also speaks to our specific history (of Suffrage) and locality: the Citizens Project builds on the legacy of an earlier series of public engagement activities relating to the Magna Carta 800 anniversary celebrations at nearby Runnymede, delivered in partnership with a local museum, charities and government.

Our public engagement talking point

Public engagement is an umbrella term applied to a broad range of activity that sometimes takes place without being thought about or framed in terms of ‘public engagement’. What are some of the challenges and opportunities this presents?

Our public engagement people

Louise McGarr

Particularly commendable among the many Royal Holloway colleagues doing great public engagement is Louise McGarr who runs our Community Research Hub - an initiative that partners local charities with research needs with students wanting to apply research skills to the real-world as part of their CV development. With attentiveness, energy and an ever-friendly manner, Louise builds solid and genuinely beneficial partnerships that enable charities and students to thrive. Louise is always glad to share learning with other HEIs keen to create similar initiatives, thereby extending the benefits of her work to publics beyond the Royal Holloway locality. The Community Research Hub is part of Royal Holloway Volunteering, whose team recently received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service on account of the excellent work they do in partnership with local organisations.


Olivia Swift, Impact Manager