Our future plans and goals for public engagement
Bath Spa University is an ambitious, enterprising and supportive institution. We have a responsibility to contribute to and learn from society through public engagement with research.
This strategy therefore confirms a commitment at the University to embed a culture of engagement, and to continue to work on connecting external audiences with our research through collaboration, conversation, and partnership in all of our engaged practice.
- Professor John Strachan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
Where we are now
Our staff have been working with organisations across Bath, Bristol and the UK for over 70 years. Our Institute for Education works with over 670 school partners across the region. The Bath School of Art and Design is linked with galleries and museums that serve not just national, but international audiences. In the 2016/7 academic year, staff within our College of Liberal Arts, the largest school within the University, were involved in over 50 engagement activities and events.
Many of our staff complete practice-based research projects - a simple term for which is ‘thinking through making’. This includes
- curating exhibitions
- writing and performing plays
- sculpting ceramics
- filming movies
- conducting new music.
Audience is at the heart of what these researchers do, and engaging with stakeholders at the start of a project is often essential. This collaborative approach gives Bath Spa University a natural culture of engaged research, in which non-academics are involved at every stage of the research process.
How we aim to learn and improve
In order to better support staff across the University working on public engagement projects, we aim for greater coordination.
This means developing our approach to managing, supporting and delivering public engagement. This will allow us to build our institutional support and to fully conceptualise the strategic value which well-planned and conducted engagement can bring to a research project.
We therefore aim not only to foster a continued community of engagement, but also to coordinate our achievements more strategically.
We will nurture our connections with local businesses and organisations, allowing opportunities for co-creation and collaboration. We will continue to include non-academic audiences in our research projects from the planning stages right through to the end.
Above all else, as befits our University culture of curiosity and creativity, we will be open to discussion and ideas.
A commitment to understanding the distinct features of public engagement with research at Bath Spa University.
Determining how our strong emphasis on practice-based research might make our engagement opportunities distinct, and linking our understanding to other areas across the University, such as widening participation and REF Impact.
A commitment to celebrating our successes and learning from the challenges we have faced.
This aim to raise the profile of our research will enable us to add value to our staff’s research, and help to communicate our successes to some of the audiences which we may wish to work with in future.
A commitment to developing institutional support for engagement with research.
Aiming to coordinate activities across the University, and work with both internal and external stakeholders to maximise our impact. To empower staff to gain training, advice and support where needed to enhance their engagement activities.
A commitment to learn from our activities and their evaluation, and to develop our engagement offering.
We must ensure that best practice is at the heart of our public engagement development, and that our interactions are partner-focused and meaningful, providing safe spaces for knowledge exchange and two-way learning.
Looking to the future
In order to pursue the commitments set out above, we will invest appropriate resource into public engagement.
A staff-level operational plan, supporting this document, will allow us to measure our successes against defined metrics and at regular intervals. This will ensure that any efforts made to meet the above strategic commitments are recorded and evaluated appropriately and regularly.
If you have any comments or questions about our strategy, please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.