Theory and practice

Considering how to communicate your research or engage others with the latest science, social science or humanities research? This book explores new and emerging approaches to engaging people with research, placing these in the wider context of research communication. Split into three sections, Creative Research Communication explores the historical routes and current drivers for public engagement, before moving on to explore practical approaches and finally discussing ethical issues and the ways in which research communication can contribute to research impact.

Starting from the premise that researchers can and ought to participate in the public sphere, this book provides practical guidance and advice on contributing to political discourse and policymaking, as well as engaging the public where they are (whether that is at the theatre, at a music festival or on social media). By considering the plurality of publics and their diverse needs and interests, it is quite possible to find a communications niche that neither offers up bite-sized chunks of research, nor conceptualises the public as lacking the capacity to consider the myriad of issues raised by research, but explains and considers thoughtfully the value of research endeavours and their potential benefits to society.

It’s time for researchers to move away from one-size fits all, and embrace opportunities for creative approaches to research communication. This book argues for a move away from metrics and tick box approaches and towards approaches that work for you, as an individual researcher, in the context of your own discipline and interests.

Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

Internationally, public engagement and communication has become an important aspect of research and policymaking, allowing research establishments, and their researchers, to explore public perspectives on their work as well as providing access to research findings to wider publics. Alongside this, a considerable research communication and public engagement community has emerged, who are interested not only in the design, techniques and methods for research communication and engagement but also approaches to communicating creatively and evaluating the

in Creative research communication
Marta Iñiguez de Heredia

6 Creative survival as subversion I Solidarities and creative tactics against ‘conditions of death’1 n the DRC, the exercise and consolidation of state authority does not necessarily imply social transformation or a real commitment of the state to impose itself but, rather, the management of state absences and state presences through a plurality of authorities. Still, the patterns of coercion and extraction that have followed from the 20 years of conflict, with the different state-making and peacebuilding processes, determine the conditions for the

in Everyday resistance, peacebuilding and state-making
Creole interventions in Sierra Leone
Richard Philips

contact and exchange. If, for many years, this socially diverse colony was at the cutting edge of a certain kind of black liberation and advancement, then that was not the work entirely of its founders and governors, in the form of companies and foreign governments, but also of the people who lived in and passed through it. Second, as the image of Freetown market makes clear ( figure 7.1 ), colonial contact zones also had the potential to be more anarchic, sites of multiple experiments and everyday creative acts, in which

in Sex, politics and empire
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

communication activities can itself support evidence of the impact of research. This chapter will start with an overview of why and how to evaluate communication and engagement projects, including discussion of different types of evaluation such as formative, process and summative which you might think about in relation to communication activities. This will include consideration of the approaches you might use, such as document analysis, questionnaires, observations, interviewing or focus groups. We will also think about creative evaluation techniques: are there ways

in Creative research communication
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

processes involved in working collaboratively on creative projects. Furthermore, this chapter focuses on live and visual arts, crafts and DIY culture projects, leaving digital arts to Chapters 6 and 7 . What is art? The question of what the ‘arts’ are has been puzzling theorists for generations and the definitions have changed over time. As Belfiore and Bennett ( 2008 ) point out, definitions of the arts are both time and place specific, that is, they changed through time and also through location (geographical/cultural), while Shiner argues that modern

in Creative research communication
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

that research communicators should not see this as a threat; rather, it is an excellent way to learn from others and to create depth and capacity across the field. In this book, whilst we are arguing for creative thinking where research communication is concerned, this should not be mistaken for an assumption that every research communication activity should be novel or unique. There is much that can be learned from the work of others, a further significant reason why disseminating your research communication experiences is important. And finally, for any of

in Creative research communication
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

within the programme (e.g. fading pictures, adding text). Making a digital story is a creative process and ‘where Web 1.0 was all about downloads, Web 2.0 is about uploads too’ (Wheeler, 2012 : 23). The availability of Web 2.0 tools is one of the reasons why ‘people everywhere are using the web to broadcast, publish and share their ideas, opinions and creative works to the rest of the world.’ (Wheeler, 2012 : 23). Making your own digital story or enabling your research participants to share theirs taps into this facet of popular culture. As Wheeler ( 2012

in Creative research communication
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

. Although lectures and presentations are certainly one of the more traditional presentation styles, that doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in making them more novel or creative. For example, you might consider curating a series of presentations which take the format of a Pecha Kucha, a quick-fire presentation style involving twenty slides (often heavily image based) being shown for twenty seconds each. You can see an example of a Pecha Kucha from PechaKucha night, which started in Tokyo and now occurs in over eight hundred cities as a way for designers to showcase

in Creative research communication
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

redress the social inequalities they may (or may not) have … I think that it’s imperative that research with vulnerable groups continues to be a priority.’ Finding older people to talk to was something about which she had to think creatively. By using a network of community groups and ‘lunch clubs’, Helena was able to get to know her participants long before she asked them for their views. Helena talked about her research interests from the outset, shared meals and developed trust with her participants, whilst at the same time making it very clear that they

in Creative research communication