1 May 2018 to 31 Jan 2024
1 May 2018 to 31 Jan 2024
Since 2018, for two days in the autumn, FUTURES has been an opportunity for people to discover more about the research that is shaping our future with researchers from the region’s universities. FUTURES received funding from the European Commission under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions as part of European Researchers' Night (2018-2021) and UK Research and Innovation as part of the Horizon Europe Guarantee (2022 & 2023).
Originating as part of European Researchers' Night, FUTURES continues today to display the diversity of science and its impact on citizens' daily lives in fun, inspiring ways and takes place annually over the last weekend in September.
Working together each partner in the consortium works with organisations such as museums, libraries, sports centres and cultural venues to develop engagement activities for researchers to engage people in their city and region.
FUTURES aims to:
help researchers develop their public engagement skills and expertise
build on the rich legacy of innovation and cultural heritage in the South West region to showcase current research and the advances brought about by the universities
create opportunities for public groups to engage with research
facilitate greater interaction amongst different areas of research and break down disciplinary barriers
FUTURES takes research directly to the people. Researchers have been heading out across five counties of the South West into shopping centres, botanic gardens, museums, cathedrals, naval vessels, and the streets to share their work and develop their skill and expertise in public engagement.
The FUTURES team of public engagement professionals from across the consortium have been working with researchers and partner organisations such as museums, libraries, sports centres and cultural venues to develop engagement activities.
Since 2018 the team have been pushing the boundaries of programming for public engagement with research, producing a range of experimental and innovative activity formats online and in-person. These have included participatory workshops, hands-on experiments, theatre performance, community radio, science shows, games, quizzes, talks, competitions, and exhibitions.
Find out more about the previous editions of FUTURES:
90,000 people have participated in FUTURES activities meeting over 1,000 researchers since 2018 and have explored diverse research topics including medieval manuscripts, artificial intelligence, microplastics, climate change, and microbial resistance.
These engagement activities have been opportunities for researchers to develop their and expertise in engaging public groups with their research and public engagement skills.
Working with researchers we created a programme of training and professional development opportunities to build their skills and expertise in public engagement with research. This involved:
co-produced and delivered workshops and masterclasses on science comedy, storytelling, science busking, presentation skills and social media with professional trainers
paired researchers with experience cultural programme producers and creative professionals to develop engagement activities
Detailed descriptions of the work to develop and deliver FUTURES each year can be found in the reports produced as part of the reporting to the European Commission. These reports cover details and outcomes of the awareness-raising campaign, descriptions of the activities that took place and an evaluation and impact assessment of each edition of FUTURES.
The FUTURES research engagement festival is back for another year and we have lots of ways for you to get involved and share your research with festival-goers.
Blog sharing some of the FUTURES team's thoughts on running a large scale research engagement festival during a global health emergency.
Community groups and researchers worked together to co-create radio programmes that were broadcast across community radio in the South-West of England.