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University of Leeds

Why we’ve signed the Manifesto

"The University aims to play a positive role in society, and making an impact on local and global communities is a vital part of our strategy. We have a strong history of working with our partners to promote innovation, creativity, enterprise and impact. We collaborate with other universities, the public, industry and third sectors to ensure the transfer of knowledge and skills from across the academic disciplines in both research and student education. We are also keen to play a full part in the development of the Leeds City region and the country as a whole by boosting our engagement with the North of England’s world-class cultural and business communities. The signing of the Manifesto will help to support and recognise the commitment of academics from across the University to maximise the value and coherence of the breadth of public engagement activity that goes on across all disciplines in both research and student education. Our approach is seeking to take this to the next level with an institutionally co-ordinated approach to the development and delivery of a PE strategy, building upon the strength of PEPNET’s contribution and expertise."

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds

Our approach to public engagement

Uniersity of Leeds Campus ImageThe grass-roots growth in appetite for public engagement from our academics resulted in the initiation and development of the Public Engagement Network (Pepnet). This, coupled with senior management support and representation, has provided us with a strong foundation on which the University aims to develop an institutional strategy. Internally, this strategy will underline the value and importance of public engagement within all disciplines and, where appropriate, in policies, procedures and practices. It will also emphasise the importance of building ‘upstream’ public involvement into our research agendas, whereby communities are consulted about how research should be conducted, used and disseminated, and how they can engage with these activities.

Examples of public engagement at the University of Leeds

In March 2015, the University and partners across the city coordinated the 10th year of the annual Leeds Festival of Science, a fortnight of STEM-themed events and workshops for schools and the public. Around 3,500 young people attended the Festival, which involved some 250 academics from six of our faculties. This year’s public programme was the biggest yet; a varied range of activities – ranging from a Science Ceilidh to a lecture from a ‘zombiologist’ – attracting over 3,000 visitors. Feedback from schools and the public was excellent, and the Festival was featured in both local and national media.

The University’s expertise in robotics was brought to a wider public audience, as well as existing and potential research collaborators, when we took part in a Universities UK event at the Natural History Museum in July 2014. Some 28,000 visitors attended the week-long celebration which aimed to highlight how research is improving people’s lives. The same week and venue saw three University initiatives receive recognition in the 2014 Engage competition organised by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The three projects – a graphic novel produced in collaboration with local schools about a low carbon future; a project led by the School of Medicine working with volunteers at charity shops; and a collaboration between the city’s three universities and over 70 charity-sector organisations – demonstrate the range and scope of the University’s public engagement activities. 

Our planned Cultural Institute will work in concert with established bodies, such as the Leeds Humanities Research Institute, to dovetail with the University’s strategic objective of creating opportunities via collaboration. It will focus on the cultural resources of the University – including stage@leeds, the M&S Archive, ULITA (textile archive), and the Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine – and their programmes of events with partner organisations in the cultural sector in Leeds and the region. It will also encompass our three long-term institutional relationships with DARE, Marks and Spencer, and the Leeds International Piano Competition, and number of well-established and newer partnerships in the visual and performing arts and museums sector.  

Contact

Name: Dr Charlotte Haigh

Title: Associate Professor for Human Physiology

Email: c.haigh@leeds.ac.uk

Tel: 0113 34 34277

Website: www.leeds.ac.uk

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