Storytelling Researcher Engaging Posters Workshop

 

On July 4th, 2016 the Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) ran a special interactive workshop for researchers keen to develop an understanding of infographics/visual communication to enhance their public engagement skills.

Researchers were joined by Lulu Pinney, an infographics expert, for a hands-on workshop which helped them to develop the skills and thinking to transform their existing academic poster into a ‘public engagement’-friendly version well-suited to non-specialist audiences.

PERC believes being able to engage the public with your research is an important part of being a well-rounded researcher. This workshop was aimed at researchers committed to the professional development of their public engagement and science communication skills. Whilst this session focused on posters, we believe that the principles learned can be applied to presentations, talks and other public engagement events which involve communicating data and aspects of the research process to non-academics. Indeed, it is worth noting that PERC recommend that posters be used as an engagement tool to facilitate direct conversations, rather than being the main method of engagement per se.

We especially encouraged those struggling to simplify the ‘story of their research’ to join us for this workshop. The workshop ran for 3.5 hours and researchers brought along their laptop with a copy of their poster to work on this in-session. Physical posters were also displayed in the room for peer feedback and friendly critique.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES WERE:

  • Develop infographic skills to help you make your future posters more creative and engaging
  • Enhance your science communication skills aimed at non-academic audiences
  • Embrace constructive criticism to improve your research message, working alongside others
Feedback from attendees was very positive and we hope to run similar workshops in the future. Funding was provided by the RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund for public engagement culture change. Slides from the workshop are available to all attendees of the workshop and to others dependent on permission from Lulu, email engage@contacts.bham.ac.uk to check if this is possible. See our gallery below for images taken on the day.
Useful resource: Wellcome Trust’s ‘Poster Design: A practical guide for researchers’ document