The Community Engagement Team
Who are we?
As part of Cardiff University's ongoing commitment to engaging more effectively with the public, the Community Engagement Team was established in November 2006. The Community Engagement Team (CET) is based in the International and Marketing Department and is comprised of four members of staff.
The principle aims of the Team are to work closely with academic staff to disseminate effectively the University's research and knowledge, and to increase public awareness of and engagement with Cardiff's academic specialisms and expertise.
The Team works to support the engagement activities of the University’s Schools and Divisions, manage partnerships in engagement and co-ordinate multi-discipline or corporate-level engagement events.
What is public/community engagement?
In a nutshell, public engagement can be described as ‘specialists listening to, working with and learning from non-specialists’.
This definition, provided by RCUK, makes it implicit that public engagement should be a two-way dialogue wherever possible, and isn’t just about universities telling the community what they know. A wide range of activities can be described as public engagement. Examples that can include some form of dialogue include:
• Question and Answer sessions after talks
• Informal talks/discussions
• Web chats
• Collaborative research projects
You don’t need to do all of these things – start where you feel most comfortable and ask for advice if you want to try something new.
What do we do?
The Community Engagement Team aims to help academic colleagues increase the quality and range of engagement activity across the University, in order to contribute to the University’s Vision:
‘To be recognised for the quality of our research work and its impact’
Public engagement helps to raise that recognition, and can be a pathway to impact, so is central to the University’s strategy.
How do we do this?
The Community Engagement Team aims to make it as easy as possible for academic colleagues to take part in engagement activity. Some examples of how we do this include:
• Providing platforms for public engagement
By co-ordinating festivals and other events, the team provides opportunities for academic staff to take part in outreach activities in a supported environment. Informal engagement opportunities include Bright Club (an academic comedy night), Science Cafés and a variety of festivals.
• Offering support and advice
By assisting academic colleagues in managing their own engagement events, providing advice on event management and helping to promote events to the public.
• Finding funding
By assisting academic colleagues in developing funding bids, and bidding for cross-institutional funding where possible. The team supported the bid that brought the Beacon for Wales to a partnership led by Cardiff, and with it £1.2million of funding.
• Managing partnerships
By managing partnerships with public-facing organisations such as Techniquest and the National Museum of Wales, and working to reach new audiences together. The team also contributed to the Beacon for Wales and supports a range of professional networks that aim to bring academics and engagement practitioners together.