Public Engagement

I’m committed to sharing my enthusiasm for learning and love of facts, data, and quirky history with as many people as possible.

From 2013-2017, I worked for UCL Culture* as a Student Engager and then as Student Engagement Coordinator. The Engagers are a group of postgraduate research students who develop innovative and experimental engagement strategies in UCL museums and collections. Our aim is to broaden public awareness of current research by sharing our knowledge with museum audiences, making connections between our own areas of expertise and UCL collections. Coming from a diverse range of disciplines, our individual areas of interest are wide-ranging, and our day-to-day research activities cover a variety of methods from archive research, object-based work and historiography; to ethnography, scientific fieldwork and data analysis. As a group, we share a common desire to bring our research to new audiences, and to make what we do accessible to the wider public. Working as a cross-disciplinary team, we also seek to establish links between our own disciplinary fields and other, apparently unconnected research areas.

While on the team, I was part of launching two exhibits (each with their own series of activities and talks) and three public events. I spearheaded the activity series for Stress: Approaches to the First World War, which included lectures, Bloomsbury tours, and meditation sessions (Distress/Destress).  The exhibit was housed in the UCL North Gatehouse, a 10x10m temporary exhibition space, and attracted 300 visitors, each of whom was given a personal tour and encouraged to share their thoughts with Engagers in the space. Our event Movement used my work on biomechanics to learn kinesthetically, becoming a little bit more interactive than your typical lecture on archaeology.

Within the department, I have also:

  • delivered sessions for Curiosi-tea, a series for pensioners to meet researchers that grew out of Professor Helen Chatterjee’s multidisciplinary Museums on Prescription project
  • taught object-based learning and history of London classes for UCL Summer Sessions
  • discussed biomechanics, anatomy, and history of science for the UCL Art Museum’s Life and Death Drawing
  • led an interactive Cabinet of Curiosities for the Wellcome’s On Light festival
  • gone incognito as a eugenics researcher while measuring visitor’s height and arm span for a project recreating Francis Galton’s 1890 study at the St Bart’s event Museum of the Normal
  • spoke about the collections and engagement for the Royal College of Nursing Away Day

As a researcher committed to independently spreading knowledge, I also give public lectures and plan activities, particularly at community festivals with a science focus.

  • lectured about my research for Welwyn Archaeological Society (twice) and Berkhamsted & District Archaeological Society
  • talked at Ziferblat’s night series Ziferblab
  • organized engagement activities for the Human Library, an Oxford Psychology research project testing festivalgoers’ ethics at Burning Nest in Wales, including connection games where each visitor communicates their own expertise as if they were a book (“Don’t check out a book about bees – check out a beekeeper!”)
  • planned, delivered, and was awarded the Beacon Bursary Fund for The Bone Lab on Tour, a stall at the Green Man Festival to engage visitors in discussions of archaeology, anthropology, and evolution (children are remarkably insightful about Neanderthal behavior!). This grew out of Dig for Diaphyses!, a stall I was part of the previous year
  • lead of Leave No Trace for community festivals, encouraging participants to consider their environmental impact through foraging walks and discussions of landscape use (and planning logistics of waste and recycling)
  • will lecture about ecology, the environment, and Leave No Trace philosophy in a festival context for Southampton University’s Environmental Science program

 

*Previously known as UCL Museums and UCL Public and Cultural Engagement (PACE)

Advertisements