What does quality mean in public engagement with science?
There is a general trend, particularly in Higher Education Institutions/universities, to increase the frequency and scope of public engagement; not only public engagement with science but with other disciplines. In the UK for example, the Beacons for Public Engagement is a four year project with the aim of embedding a culture of public engagement in Higher Education. The Beacons are funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.
In our role within the Edinburgh Beltane, one of six UK Beacons for Public Engagement, we (Elizabeth Stevenson and Heather Rea) and the other members of the Beltane Evaluation Group) were very interested in considering the issue of quality in public engagement. Our concern was that there is a possibility that staff and students in Higher Education Institutions merely increase the quantity of public engagement being undertaken without regard to the effects on the publics with whom they engage.
We held workshops in Edinburgh, Manchester and London inviting discussion around questions of quality in public engagement throughout 2009-2010. The questions we considered were as follows:
What does quality mean in public engagement (with science)?
What are the characteristics of quality in public engagement?
Can we learn from other areas of practice-led work?
What can we in science learn from other disciplines?
Can we define guiding principles for quality in public engagement?
Workshop participants considered the question of quality in public engagement from three perspectives:
Practitioner
Activity/project
Institution/university
These three perspectives would form the basis for three round table discussions on quality in public engagement with science where we will share our findings as a starting point for discussion.
We would like to share our findings and continue these discussions on an international level to explore different dimensions brought by different cultures, countries and individuals.
Round table discussion 1: What does quality mean for practitioners in public engagement?
Round table discussion 2: What does quality mean for activities/projects in public engagement?
Round table discussion 3: What does an institution with quality public engagement look like?
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What does quality mean in public engagement with science

Elizabeth Stevenson   University of Edinburgh

Heather Rea   Edinburgh Beltane Beacon for Public Engagement

What does quality mean in public engagement with science?
There is a general trend, particularly in Higher Education Institutions/universities, to increase the frequency and scope of public engagement; not only public engagement with science but with other disciplines. In the UK for example, the Beacons for Public Engagement is a four year project with the aim of embedding a culture of public engagement in Higher Education. The Beacons are funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.
In our role within the Edinburgh Beltane, one of six UK Beacons for Public Engagement, we (Elizabeth Stevenson and Heather Rea) and the other members of the Beltane Evaluation Group) were very interested in considering the issue of quality in public engagement. Our concern was that there is a possibility that staff and students in Higher Education Institutions merely increase the quantity of public engagement being undertaken without regard to the effects on the publics with whom they engage.
We held workshops in Edinburgh, Manchester and London inviting discussion around questions of quality in public engagement throughout 2009-2010. The questions we considered were as follows:
What does quality mean in public engagement (with science)?
What are the characteristics of quality in public engagement?
Can we learn from other areas of practice-led work?
What can we in science learn from other disciplines?
Can we define guiding principles for quality in public engagement?
Workshop participants considered the question of quality in public engagement from three perspectives:
Practitioner
Activity/project
Institution/university
These three perspectives would form the basis for three round table discussions on quality in public engagement with science where we will share our findings as a starting point for discussion.
We would like to share our findings and continue these discussions on an international level to explore different dimensions brought by different cultures, countries and individuals.
Round table discussion 1: What does quality mean for practitioners in public engagement?
Round table discussion 2: What does quality mean for activities/projects in public engagement?
Round table discussion 3: What does an institution with quality public engagement look like?

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