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Public Engagement

The Centre for Public Engagement

The Centre for Public Engagement was first established in 2012 to help support Queen Mary staff and students integrate public engagement into their work. Today we remain committed to supporting our staff, students, and the local community throughout their public engagement journey.

You can contact us at any point to discuss all aspects of engagement and to receive further information on how to access our support services. The CPE has a core team of four members of staff who are here to help.

Contact Us:

+44 (0)20 7882 6115

This line is monitored between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

This mailbox is monitored between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Please allow up to 48 hours for responses. 

The Centre for Public Engagement
Office of the Principal,
Queen Mary University of London
CB100, Queens' Building
327 Mile End Road,
E1 4NS

The CPE Team:

Sarah Barnes

Sarah Barnes
Public Engagement Manager

Sarah is the Public Engagement Manager and leads on public engagement training, funding advice and external opportunities, and manages the CPE team.

She runs training for all staff and students, starting with a basic introduction to public engagement as well as training focussed on specific audiences and engagement methods.

Sarah has worked at the University of Surrey and the Institute of Physics, leading on their science engagement activities at events ranging from small school workshops to national music festivals. She has also spent the past 8 years working at the Science Museum in London, presenting science shows to visitors of all ages.

Sarah also has a background in theatre production, and has worked on a number of productions across the UK, including 3 years as Company and Stage Manager for a theatre company based at the Roundhouse, Camden.

Sarah has a degree in physics from Queen Mary, and is a member of the Institute of Physics. 

Sarah Gifford
Community Engagement Manager

Sarah is the Community Engagement Manager and leads on Queen Mary's local community engagement. She works with a wide range of community groups, organisations and charities in Tower Hamlets and east London, to connect them to the breadth of projects, research and teaching taking place at Queen Mary. She connects Queen Mary staff and students to the wealth of knowledge, expertise and opportunities in our local communities with the aim of generating new connections, partnerships and mutually beneficial working.

Sarah also leads on the annual Festival of Communities, a leading event in Tower Hamlets which brings residents, community organisations and Queen Mary staff and students together to explore living and learning in the borough.

Sarah previously managed the student volunteering programme at Queen Mary Students' Union for 7 years.

Sarah has a degree in history from Queen Mary.

Daisy Payling
Public Engagement Officer

As Public Engagement Officer Daisy is the first point of contact for enquiries about the CPE's services. She is responsible for the management of the CPE's Small and Large Grant schemes, providing advice and guidance for public engagement projects, developing methods to celebrate and share best engagement practice, and management of all the CPE's communication channels. 

Previously Daisy worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of History at the University of Essex and, before that, in the Centre for History in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she developed and ran a number of public engagement projects based her research.

She has a PhD in History from the University of Birmingham. 

Kimberley Freeman
Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow
On secondment from the Centre for Public Engagement

Kimberley Freeman is currently on secondment as a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow. During this secondment, she will be exploring ways to overcome current challenges facing Universities and the public engagement sector. She will be using a think-tank style approach to redress the balance of power between research institutitions and publics beyond academia during engagement. She will also be creating networks of empowered public engagement professionals who have the skills, support and opportunities to change things

In memoriam: Professor Peter McOwan

Queen Mary’s Vice Principal for Public Engagement and Student Enterprise, Professor Peter McOwan passed away in 2019. Peter was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Public Engagement and his leadership and guidance led to Queen Mary being the first institution to be awarded a Gold Engage Watermark for Public Engagement in 2016.

Peter was posthumously awarded the Queen Mary Medal for his exceptional contribution to Queen Mary and his legacy is reflected in the outstanding public engagement projects delivered by staff and students, as well as the work of the Centre for Public Engagement.

In 2021, the 'McOwan Award for Leadership in Public Engagement' was introduced as one of the categories in the Engagement and Impact Awards to commemorate Peter's qualities of inspirational and transformational leadership and his passion for engagement. 

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