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Public engagement training offer 2021

Below you will find the description and details for all the public engagement courses offered by the CSCT in 2021, facilitated by Science Made Simple.

Complete this form to register for the individual sessions

Note that spaces for these are limited. If your plans change and you cannot attend a session you are registered in, please inform the CSCT Admin so we can accommodate other delegates.

Intro to Public Engagement, Wed 14 April, 1-4pm

Explore the many motivations for researchers to engage with a wider public, with group discussions on the types of motivation and who benefits, and a reflection on the barriers that make it difficult to achieve.

We will analyse what the public thinks about science and who they trust, and discuss the effects the pandemic could have on engagement and public trust and how this might be tackled.

Outcomes and benefits:

  • Self-reflection on what motivates you personally to engage with the publics, so you can use this in your future work
  • Awareness of public attitudes towards research to help you structure your messages for different audiences

Developing an elevator pitch for your research, Fri 16 April, 1-4pm

Using activities and active learning tools, we will support you to create the basis of an engaging sub-60 second presentation, sometimes knowns as an ‘elevator pitch’. This content can help you give a succinct but precise overview of your research, with impact.

We will help you draw out suitable hooks to the core research involved and introduce tools to create this structure. We will also cover the basics of presenting to camera effectively, whether from home, outside or in the lab, and you will be introduced to different video styles you could make.

Outcomes and benefits:

  • Skills to communicate your research in a succinct, engaging way, whether for a public audience in a hurry, at a conference or to a potential funder
  • Tools to capture this script into a video or media content that can be shared widely to raise the profile of what you do

Data visualisation and infographics, Wed 21 April, 1-4pm

Discover how graphs, charts and infographics can be used to tell a compelling story when done well. We will stretch your creativity with dummy data to compare how you can present it in innovative and memorable ways, and explore the ethical decisions around what data is portrayed and whether you can be aware of your own biases by critically assessing some examples from different sectors.

Outcome and benefits:

  • Alternative ways to communicate complex data in a digestible format for the public
  • Skills applicable to the academic and public engagement worlds by questioning and reflecting how we tend to interpret data and present it
  • Ability to identify what makes an image powerful and shareable, which should result in content that can be used equally in conference presentations, traditional media and social media
  • Experience using Tableau for data visualisation and online design templates for creating basic infographics

Graphic design skills for effective posters, Fri 23 April, 1-4pm

This session will be divided roughly into three sections. Initially there will be an illustrated presentation that outlines the basic good practices of graphic design, such as choice of font, colours, layout and images. There will be case studies showing good and bad practice and a chance for the delegates to become critical consumers of graphic design examples. In the second section we will introduce a template of a high-impact simplified research poster which will be used by the delegates to adapt to their own material. There will then be some guided working time where delegates begin to create their own poster to this template using the tips introduced in the first section. Both trainers will remain on hand during this time to help and advise as needed. In the final section we will review the posters made and feedback on suggested improvements for each delegate. This will also allow a process of peer-review and learning amongst the group.

Outcomes and benefits:

  • Better awareness of how to use design, colour and font effectively
  • Understanding of how to give impact to key elements of a visual message
  • Ability to adapt a template for an effective poster to different target audiences

Although we will focus on communicating research work to non-specialist audiences, the skills of effective graphic design gained in this session will also be useful to academic conference situations.

Applying creativity skills in your research, Wed 12 May, 1-4pm

Creativity is at the heart of scientific research and it is usually defined as the use of processes that lead to developing new and useful ideas.

We invite you to be playful in your thinking, exploring unusual approaches to problem-solving and collaborative working to help unlock novel ideas. A series of highly participative activities – mixing individual and group work – will encourage you to try out new ways to approach your work. Be ready to try out something new to help you unlock ideas that will help your public engagement and academic work.

Outcomes and benefits:

  • Confidence to apply new ways of thinking to your research
  • Strategies to approach problems from non-traditional angles

Using humour to communicate your research, Fri 14 May, 1-4pm

Humour can help you connect with your audience, create a relaxed and open environment and help your research be persuasive and accessible. By exploring techniques used in improvisation performance we will help you develop skills to respond to unexpected change.

But many people feel uncomfortable at the prospect of using humour in talking about their work. “What if it makes my research appear frivolous? What if I appear unprofessional? What if I’m not funny?”

In this session, you are not required to be funny and it will not train you to be a comedian. We will use techniques and exercises, you find and express some of the amusing and widely engaging aspects of your work – its methods, findings or aims.

Outcomes and benefits:

  • Confidence to explore what is funny about your work and your connection to it
  • Skills to think on your feet and respond to unexpected situations

Complete this form to register for the individual sessions

By 9 March 2021

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