Manifesto Signatory

University of Brighton

updated on 22 Sep 2023
3 minutes
Brighton Access to Art - outdoor forest activity
Image from University of Brighton's inclusive arts programme

Why we've signed the Manifesto

"The University of Brighton considers its public and community engagement to be a fundamental part of the organisation’s core purpose. This activity provides benefit to our locality (and beyond) as well as enriching our research and curriculum.

"Our staff and students engage with communities via volunteering, community based learning, public events and research partnerships. They combine work and experiences in the community with teaching and research in areas that have immeasurable value such as citizenship, equality, diversity and sustainability. We are delighted to sign the Manifesto for Public Engagement as an important step forward in developing progressive and dynamic thinking and expectations about how universities can work with their communities."

Professor Tara Dean, Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise

Our approach to public engagement

Whilst we can make a strong economic case for public and community engagement, many of the things we do live outside the economic sphere in areas that improve the lives of disadvantaged communities. The Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) has been an active part of the University of Brighton since 2003 and is central to the university's corporate mission. We have many years experience of creating, developing and nurturing partnerships between the university and its local communities. Working with communities is crucial to many aspects of our teaching, research and volunteering, all interlinking to develop significant long term and mutually beneficial relationships with community partners, see our website for further information. We have developed an international award, in honour of Professor Sir David Watson to help inspire others to develop excellent community university partnerships.

Our public engagement hallmark

Ignite: fostering community-university partnerships

We have recently developed the Ignite programme, a 12 month community-university partnership incubator programme, delivered by the University's Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) team who secured funding from UK Research and Innovation. For the first time, the University will combine seed funding, a ‘community of practice’, along with tailored partnership support as one development programme.

Our public engagement talking point

We believe that seeking mutual benefit in working with communities is the best approach. Our communities have much to teach us in terms of lived and practical experience and this needs to be valued. We think that the university approach to working with communities should be characterised by partnership rather than ‘sharing of our expertise’ - the input of community partners should be respected and resourced.

Our public engagement people

The Community University Partnership Programme at the University of Brighton has been established since 2003 and has enabled hundreds of community university partnership projects and many thousands of community based learning experiences for students. It is currently running up a 12 month incubator programme, called Ignite, that captures the learning on how to develop and sustain community university partnerships.


David Wolff, Director, Community University Partnership Programme