Kelly Gleason, Lead Nurse at the Cancer Research UK Imperial Centre shares her reflections on starting and running a Science Café; a safe space to bring together researchers, clinicians and members of the public to learn and share knowledge about cancer research
How it all started?
In 2010 I attended the International Association of Clinical Research Conference in the USA. That year, the keynote speaker, Mr Charles Sabine, gave a very powerful and emotive talk about Huntington’s disease and the importance of research in this area.
Mr Sabine had lost his father to Huntington’s disease; his brother was in the advanced stages of the illness and he himself had chosen to have genetic testing to find that he too carried the gene for Huntington’s.
Dr Ali Abbara and Dr Chioma Izzi-Engbeaya from Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, Section of Investigative Medicine discuss their public engagement work with the Society for Endocrinology.
The Society for Endocrinology has a long-standing mission to inform the public about hormones and hormone-related conditions. In order to meet this aim, it has formed a ‘Public Engagement Committee’, of which, we are both members. The committee regularly organises outreach activities, including at schools and science communication events, to engage with the public and amplify knowledge about hormones.
In this age of ‘post-truth’ news, the Society for Endocrinology has made a significant investment to provide a reliable and accessible source of information for the public about hormones and the conditions that can transpire when they are not functioning normally.
Calls are now open for contributions to the 2018 Engage Conference. We hear from Nathan Green and Denise Sime who presented at last year’s conference. They discuss their experience of sharing their learnings on LoL-Lab, a co-created comedy event between Imperial researchers and the public. If you would like to apply to be part of this year’s conference, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support with an application.
What is the Engage conference?
Nathan: The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) annual conference, Engage 2017, was held over two days in December in Bristol. We saw presenting at this workshop as a fantastic opportunity to share lessons from our own public engagement experience.
In this guest blog, Imperial‘s Cathy Thomas offers advice on how to use social media to engage (and involve!) the public in your research. What have your experiences with using social media for engagement been? Share your experiences in the comments.
Why bother with social media?
There are over one billion active users on Facebook and over 100 million monthly Instagram users – which means that if you’re looking to connect with members of the public, it’s worth considering how social media and other digital tools could support or enhance your engagement activity.
The useful thing about social media is that it’s a discursive medium that encourages sharing and participation, so rather than simply using it as a tool to promote what you’re doing, there will be ways in which it can support two-way engagement.
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Case studies
In conversation with: Alice Halliday, Research Associate
Working within: HPRU in Respiratory Infections
What did you do?
We secured a £1,000 grant from the British Society for Immunology to develop an animated film about latent tuberculosis (TB) infection, which was matched by funding from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Respiratory Infections. So together with my colleagues, Mica Tolosa-Wright and Ishita Marwah, we developed the script and initial version of the film over a period of about 3 months (Feb–April 2017).