At Queen Mary we realise that in order to create the greatest impact our research needs to be conducted in collaboration with those outside our walls. Our rich culture of engaging the community in our research ensures two-way conversations are had and meaningful partnerships are formed. These lead to benefits for all sides, both enriching the quality of our research and involving those that will be affected by the results to help shape research questions and processes.
Our collaborations with the community take many forms, including providing training for those who wish to partner in research projects, collaborating with cultural institutions, creating joint performances based on shared input and experiences, and designing ways of exploring attitudes towards going to the dentist through drama workshops.
The Centre for Studies of Home was established in 2011 as a partnership between Queen Mary University of London, and The Geffrye Museum of the Home. The partnership provides seminars, exhibitions and learning resources for the public. A key element of it is the provision of joint PhD students, who are co-supervised by the museum and Queen Mary. This partnership lends the richness of the curators experience and archives to the academic process of studying for a PhD, and provides a direct pathway to translating research outcomes into the world outside of academia.
Project Phakama (meaning rise up, elevate and empower yourself) are based at Queen Mary and use an innovative range of applied performance and drama to work with the community and create opportunities to express, challenge and inform ourselves and others through performance.
Examples of their projects include:
Ten in a Bed - A collaboration between Phakama, the Drama Department at Queen Mary, East End Homes, Discover Children's Story Centre (Stratford) and families local to Queen Mary. Ten in a Bed informs audiences (arts, education, local authority) of research into the personal and social benefits of arts practices, and engages directly with 'hard-to-reach' local families to enhance literacy and family learning opportunities through applied theatre, using their input to create a final performance piece.
Edible Garden - In 2014 Phakama was commissioned by Sanctuary to deliver the Edible Garden project in 3 care homes as part of Sanctuary’s Shine! programme – an initiative which promotes the use of arts in residential care homes to shine a light on the people living in Sanctuary’s care homes by highlighting their talents, not their limitations.
To introduce students to community and public engagement, the Institute of Dentistry now requires students to have an element of volunteering as part of their Undergraduate first year, these opportunities are booked through the Queen Mary Student Union volunteering service, who offer a range of opportunities for students to be a part of the community, from litter picks to using their teaching to help children feel less afraid of going to the doctor.
Queen Mary has embarked on its most ambitious project for a generation – a new Life Sciences Initiative (LSI) that, for the first time, brings together our academic expertise in the life sciences spanning all three faculties, and public engagement is one of its three main strands.
We see public engagement activities as a fundamental part of building strong relationships and dialogue with the community and we will build on our existing range of public engagement and patient involvement at all levels of the initiative. The community is part of the LSI, being involved in research and sharing information, experience and knowledge with each other in a two-way exchange.
Visit the LSI website for more information, including: