Research at the Heart of Brum

The University of Birmingham has been doing research that matters to Birmingham for over 100 years, but it’s not always easy to know about the amazing work that’s happening. If fact, in a recent poll in New Street Station, we found that around 50% of the public didn’t know any research even happened here! Research at the Heart of Brum wants to change that by bringing researchers and their incredible work out into communities.

The events take the form of a pop-up research market; essentially stalls where visitors and passers-by can shop for the research that matters to them and be surprised by the research they didn’t expect to be interested in. Most of the activities are table-top demos, games, crafts and displays through which the core research ideas can be communicated in a few minutes. And interestingly, we found that the simpler the initial interaction, the more likely people are to want to find out more, so don’t think that a simple, lo-fi demo will lead to lower quality engagement.

The aim of Research at the Heart of Brum is to tour around different locations and types of event to provide opportunities to reach different audiences and have different types of interaction.

Our first event took place on 6th October in New Street Station and included research engagement from across all 5 Colleges delivered by 42 researchers, students and staff. The 4 hour event saw more than 1,300 interactions with the public and was amazingly well received. When asked what could be improved the top answer was ‘do this more often’! Therefore, we’re thrilled to announce our next two dates:

6th July – CoCoMad, Cotteridge Park
26th September – Green Heart, University of Birmingham

We’d love to bring as much of our research activity as possible to the public through these events so please get involved. Even super simple activities work brilliantly so get in touch to register your interest today. We need to have a clear idea of numbers groups by mid March so don’t miss out and get in touch now!

We’ve chosen these locations and dates to make the most of British Summer (!!), but more importantly to engage key audiences like local communities and to maximise our exposure. For example, tens of thousands of people pass through the Centenary Square each Saturday and CoCoMad is expected to attract over 6,000 people from communities close the campus, like Strichley and Cotteridge, but who rarely attend events on campus. In the Autumn we’ll be looking for new venues/locations so let us know if you have an idea for where we should pop up.

Want to get a feel for the event? Take a look at some of our pictures below: