Since 2012, the Public Engagement Unit has been working to foster a culture where public engagement with research is recognised, practised and valued across the University of Bath.
Advocating for public engagement with research is not always easy or straightforward, and we wanted to share our experiences.
A Field Guide to Public Engagement and Culture Change is for anyone who is working to raise the profile of public engagement with research within their institution. This could be public engagement professionals, researchers with a departmental responsibility for public engagement, or professionals who have public engagement as part of their broader remit within higher education institutions.
As an established Public Engagement Unit, we often get requests from colleagues in other universities wanting to draw on our expertise in how we support and work with people to embed public engagement. These requests often centre on practical advice and guidance. However, sharing our resources and materials doesn't really reflect the thinking behind our approach, or how we worked with and mobilised people across the University, or how we dealt with challenges and resistance. The Field Guide aims to help colleagues navigate and find their own way through the process of creating a positive culture of public engagement based on our experiences
Collaborating with public engagement consultant David Owen and design agency Boyle&Perks we reflected on our work and approach to culture change and created A Field to Public Engagement and Culture Change. Split into four sections and made up of 25 different exercises, the Field Guide shares our experiences and aims to help colleagues navigate and find their own way through the process of creating a positive culture of public engagement.
Understanding the culture of an institution is an important first step in the culture change process. This section looks at the habits and habitat that make up the culture of a place and the relationship between them and culture change.
Understanding the University
Universities are large and complex institutions with a mix of teaching, research, and public good at their core. This section reflects on the university and the role of public engagement professionals in creating change within these institutions.
Thinking About Your Approach
Over several exercises to help understand their motivations, skills, knowledge and attributes, this section helps public engagement professionals develop their own approach to culture change.
Key Lessons We’ve Learned
This section looks in more depth at some specific approaches the Public Engagement Unit used at the University of Bath to create change. This section is broken down into 11 different lessons covering; Processes, Working with Others and Being Yourself.
A Field Guide to Public Engagement and Culture Change
A digital version of A Field Guide to Public Engagement and Culture Change is available to download.