It is the start of a new year – and the UK is once again in lockdown, following the spread of Coronavirus. In these uncertain times, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves and others as we adjust to changes in our lives.
It therefore may feel strange that I am inviting you to do something extra in your week – something that I hope will make a real difference in how we navigate the future for public engagement. That something is the PEP Insights Research Survey.
As we say at Engage, this is made by the community, for the community. This survey is no different. Part of our PEP Insights Research study, we need your collective wisdom to gain a nuanced and robust understanding of the past, present and future impacts of COVID-19 on public engagement. Every story matters because every voice matters. We hope that together we can turn your experiences into actions that benefit the whole sector and strengthen the community.
So why contribute to the survey?
1. To effect change: We have designed this research in partnership with public engagement professionals, and we are committed to seeing this research contribute to positive change.
The research aims to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 on people in public engagement-related roles and their higher education organisations. This will enable public engagement professionals, the NCCPE, and funders to understand the short and long term implications of Covid-19, and to take action based on the findings.
- It will provide evidence to enable public engagement professionals to make a case for public engagement within their own institutions, departments and contexts.
- It will inform how the NCCPE advocates for engagement, the support we offer to the sector, and the work we do with senior leaders and funders.
- It will provide evidence for funders, influencing how they recognise the value of the engagement ecosystem, and their role in effecting change.
2. Your perspective matters: We are keen to ensure that the research reflects the diversity of the engagement ecosystem, including roles, experiences, types of institution, type of employments, etc. So if you have a role relating to public engagement and higher education, whether you call yourself a public engagement professional or wear a different title, we are keen to hear from you.
You have so much to contribute to the research – including ideas, insights, and experiences. We all have our own story to tell about living through these times, and it has affected how we work, our institutions, and our lives in so many ways – it would be great to ensure your perspective forms part of the research.
We long to hear from:
- Those who are new to engagement, as well as those who have some or lots of experience
- People whose roles have come to an end over the last 12 months, those for whom the role has changed dramatically, those who have experienced furlough, and those whose roles have remained the same
- Those who work part time or full time, who are employed by a university, or another organisation, or working as a freelancer
- Those whose role is all about engagement, or those for whom it plays a small part of what they do
- People working across all forms of engagement including patient engagement, public engagement, outreach, impact, community engagement, civic engagement, evaluation etc.
If you are unsure, then do get in touch, but the survey has been designed to cater for a diversity of people, roles and experiences. If you are interested, then we encourage you to get involved.
3. To ensure that the research has value: This is the first attempt to gather a clear picture of how Covid-19 has impacted people in public engagement roles within higher education. For this to have any value we need to attract a significant number of people to complete the survey. The PEP Insight Research team have worked hard to ensure that the research is ethical, and robust – but without contributions we won’t capitalise on all this hard work. With over 450 people now members of the PEP network and many others working in PEP related roles across the UK, we are keen to gather insights from you all.
I hope this will entice you to get involved in doing the survey, and to share the opportunity with others you know. Whilst you can complete it in 15 minutes, we encourage you to set aside more time to add more texture to your responses. You can find out more about what it means to get involved in our participant information sheet, and you can complete the survey here. Please note, the deadline for contributions is 20th January 2021.
So do get involved and contribute to something we hope will change the engagement landscape for the better.