A record number of entries from across the University helped to celebrate a decade of Images of Research – the popular public engagement initiative which challenge researchers to explain the significance of their work with a captivating image and compelling and concise description.
For its tenth year, our Public Engagement Unit, who run the competition, received more entries than ever before – 61 from across 15 academic departments – requiring entries to be whittled down in advance of last week’s final. Entries came from right across the academic spectrum from postgraduate researchers to professors.
This year’s judging panel included Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research); Jamie Eastman (Director, The Edge); Luke Salkeld (Commissioning Editor, The Conversation); and Katrina Kelly (Research Marketing Manager).
Professor Knight explained: “Images of Research is a fantastic public engagement initiative which really challenges our research community to explain their research and why it matters in a captivating and compelling way.
“The University was one of the first universities in the UK to run a competition like this and it is fitting that, 10 years after it first began, we should receive more entries than ever before. Each year the quality of entries gets better and better. The competition is a fascinating way to get an overview of the broad range of research projects underway here at Bath.”
Dr Helen Featherstone, Head of Public Engagement, added: “In 10 years we have judged over 550 posters from researchers throughout the University each showcasing a different area of research and presenting it in plain English. Thinking through research in this way is a really useful skill for any researcher, whatever stage they are in their career, and it’s no surprise that this year’s entries were some of the best yet.
It’s particularly rewarding that off the back of the success of our competition, 'Images of Research' has gone on to inspire a similar national initiative through the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement."
And the winner of ‘Best Overall Entry’ is…
'Group Selfie' from Professor Mark Brosnan, Director of our Centre for Applied Autism Research within the Department of Psychology, won best overall entry. Judges were in full praise for the image, of students from last year’s Autism Summer School, and the description of autism research at the University and in particular the summer school initiative.
'Where is my arm?' from Monika Halicka and Dr Janet Bultitude was highly-commended, giving the Department of Psychology a clean sweep for the category. Their image, depicting research into visual awareness, the brain’s mental representation of your body and nearby space and the condition chronic pain, was described by the judges as really helping to understand both the research and the condition.
For this category judges assessed how well an image and description worked together to illustrate clearly why the research matters, how it makes a difference to society, economy, other research or global challenges.
The prize for ‘Best Image’
'Cold hands, warm…gloves' from Dr Jo Daniels in the Department of Psychology took the 'best image' crown. Depicting aspects of Jo’s research into Raynaud’s Phenomenon, the judges were impressed with the striking image that really showed the discomfort caused by the condition.
'Victims of English' from Dr Harry Kuchah, Department of Education was highly commended. Judges said his image drew the viewer in and presented his work on the education challenges faced by children in sub-Saharan Africa in a particularly effective way.
For this category judges were asked to assess the quality and composition of the entry and whether it enticed viewers to want to know more.
Prize for ‘Best Description’
'Unleashing the Human Potential' at work from Rweyemamu Ndibalema in our School of Management won ‘Best Description’. Judges said the personal story about his young daughter stood alone as taking the reader on a real journey from something commonly understood to talking about the research directly.
'My Objects and Me' from Dr James Gregory, Department of Psychology, was highly commended. The judges said that James used his description – all about his research into hoarding – to help the audience really understand and connect with the research.
For this category, judges were assessing how clear a description was, how well it enticed the reader through analogies, humour or an engaging title, and how well the relevance of the research to society was described.
A special prize
This year an Edge Arts Prize was also awarded to one entrant.
- 'Linking minds with flooding' from Niall McLoughlin in the Department of Psychology focusing on risk (of flooding) and people’s awareness of the problem won over judges for this special prize. Niall will now work in collaboration with the Edge artist in residence Aowen Jin on a larger piece to highlight the research.
For this prize the judges were asked to assess the creative and artistic merits of the entry and also how the entrant may benefit from working with The Edge Arts Team.