Pay-it-Fwd: BIG newsletter article

The Pay-it-Fwd cohort has written a short piece for the January 2016 BIG newsletter describing their experience of the training they received at the ‘How to Train Researchers in Public Engagement’ workshop held in Newcastle in November 2015.

Read the full article here: http://www.big.uk.com/enews34

 

How to Train Researchers Workshop: Reflections from University of Birmingham’s Pay-it-Fwd cohort! 

Caroline Gillett, University of Birmingham 

The University was recently awarded the RCUK Catalyst Seed Fund to create momentum for culture change around PE at the institution. Our bid placed a clear emphasis on training and workshops for our researchers and as part of this I’ve decided to pilot a small-scale project that was a little different. Having already been impressed by the Little Event 2014, when I heard about the How to Train Researchers Workshop in Newcastle I knew I wanted to go, but I wanted to give others the opportunity to come too! This is how the ‘Pay-it-Forward with Public Engagement Programme’ was born.

A callout for five researchers enthusiastic about PE was sent out across the University and we received lots of interest, making it a hard task for the University’s Public Engagement with Research Committee (PERC) to select our cohort. However, I am really happy with the researchers we selected as together they span the breadth of our University’s research disciplines from arts and humanities through to social, medical, physical and life sciences.

Also joining us on this venture is colleague and sci-comm maverick Jon Wood whose involvement with the pilot has been real asset thanks to his vast PE experience and can-do attitude. The Pay-it-Forward programme has two stages.:

  • Stage 1: Training – All seven of us got trained at the BIG How to Train Researchers Workshop!
  • Stage 2: Paying-it-Fwd – Our researchers will bring back the activities and training learned to together develop a practical public engagement workshop for UoB staff and students in early 2016, putting the training they have received at the BIG workshop in to real world practice and paying-it-forward to fellow colleagues and students.

Personally, I found the training day incredibly useful and it was a fantastic opportunity to meet other practitioners. More importantly though here’s what our researchers had to say:

Ruth Wareham: “I approached the BIG event with a modicum of trepidation; as someone whose science education ended some time ago, and with a background firmly rooted in the arts and humanities, I wasn’t entirely sure how well I’d fit in with a room full of self-professed ‘STEM Communicators’!  I needn’t have worried – the event was informative, interesting and lots of fun. Perhaps more importantly, all of the activities suggested could be used in a range of disciplinary contexts. The presenters had clearly thought carefully about the sessions and adapted them to suit the experience level and needs of the delegates.”

Elizabeth Randall: “I came to the BIG workshop with no experience of training researchers in public engagement…I felt somewhat lacking in confidence at the start of the day but after talking to a number of people about what makes a good trainer I now feel well-equipped to design and deliver a workshop to researchers at my university.

Sophie Cox: “At the start of the training session I put myself at the bottom of the cohort when asked our levels of confidence to train others in public engagement. By lunch I’d taken some steps forward and at the end of the day I’d leapfrogged my way to the top and was bursting with enthusiasm to get started with bringing loads of inspiring ideas back to the University” 

Katherine Eales: “As a doctoral researcher I am still at an early stage in my career and so it was great to get the opportunity to network with such a diverse range of experienced PE communicators. I also am thankful for the Pay-it-Forward scheme as I got to meet and work with some great and diverse researchers from UoB whom I wouldn’t necessarily have got to engage with! I am really looking forward to using the skills I gained at the BIG workshop to develop and deliver our introductory workshop to a wide range of graduate and early career researchers!

So there you have it! To find out how we get on in Stage 2 check out our blog and follow us on Twitter @UOBengage. Big thanks to BIG, all those who shared tips and tricks at the event and the others we met there.

Win a B.I.G bursary & 1 year membership (Deadline Dec 18th)

BIG is delighted to able to offer 10 bursaries to attend this year’s Little Event on Wednesday 13th January in Birmingham.

Each bursary worth £100 covers an annual BIG membership, registration fees for the Little Event and £25 towards travel expenses. 

The Little Event is for people who are relatively new to STEM communication, whether they work in a science centre or museum, volunteer for a festival, are involved in university outreach, or do anything else to engage people with sciences. It’s a lot like the BIG Event, but a bit smaller, and all crammed into one busy day. There will be several sessions, each focusing on developing a different skill, delivered by experienced science communicators following our usual hands-on approach.

But of course it isn’t just about the sessions, it’s the people you meet there too. The Little Event presents a great opportunity to meet people from across the UK working in similar roles and sharing similar experiences. The programme for the day will include sessions on Learning & evaluation, Interacting with the public, Managing your engagement project, Presenting and careers. 

If you wish to apply for one of the 10 free places, applying is simple.  Just email admin@big.uk.com by noon on Friday 18th December with the subject line “Bursary application Little Event” to tell us in no more than 200 words why you would like the opportunity to come to the Little Event and how you think it will benefit your personal and professional development. If you have already registered for the Event you can still apply for the bursary and we will refund your registration if you are successful.

Successful applicants will be notified by 23rd December by email.

For more information or to book click here 

Sarah Vining, Administrator

 admin@big.uk.com

British Interactive Group ‘Josh Award’ – Nominate yourself now!

For how to apply go HERE

The Josh Award 2014

The Josh Award is an award established to recognise and support up-and-coming talent in science communication. The award recognises a defining moment in the career of a science communicator; a person who is a practicing scientist or someone who has chosen science communication as their profession. This defining moment could be a game changing project, piece of work, way of working or a key moment of change, creativity, innovation or passion. A defining moment in a career that has transformed science communication practice, inspired others or changed the landscape of science communication.The award provides the opportunity to become the science communicator in residence at the Manchester Science Festival 2014, developing and delivering a new project or event while show-casing best practise in the field of science communication.The winner will receive support to nurture their development in the field and their involvement in the Manchester Science Festival from both the Festival team and the British Interactive Group (BIG), the skills sharing network for individuals involved in the communication of science, technology, engineering and maths.