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Public Engagement

Engagement Blog

The Engagement Blog gives a space for those involved in public engagement to discuss their projects, comment on learning from specific elements of public engagement, and explore the broader themes emerging in the field.

Engaging the Latinx diaspora with ecofeminist struggles in Latin America
26 January 2024

One year on, we share Dr Paula Serafini's blog about working with the Feminist Assembly of Latin Americans (FALA) on a series of events on ecofeminisms. Dr Serafini is Lecturer in Creative and Cultural Industries in the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary.  

The Alliance for Recovery Research in Music Therapy
19 January 2024

In this blog, a group of three music therapy and mental health researcher-practitioners who work in in different countries, write about their CPE Small Grant project. Catherine works at Queen Mary University of London (UK), Tríona works at the University of Limerick (Ireland) and Hans Petter at the Norwegian Academy of Music (Norway). 

Talking Trauma Part 2: Malta
3 November 2023

In a second post James Piercy, the Involvement and Engagement lead in the Centre for Trauma Sciences at Queen Mary, describes how he took his team's outreach work to Malta. 

Two beakers labelled Blood Does Clot and Blood Does No Clot are filled with yellow, white and red balls. Talking Trauma Part 1: Centre for Trauma Sciences visit Cheltenham
20 October 2023

We're kicking off our Engagement Blog for the 2023-24 academic year with two posts from James Piercy, the Involvement and Engagement lead in the Centre for Trauma Sciences at Queen Mary. In the first post, James writes about taking an activity to the Cheltenham Science Festival 2023, supported by a CPE Small Grant.

Alexander Gould, a white man with curly brown hair, presenting to the tour group on the bank of the Thames next to the Tower of London. In the background is the river, buildings including the Shard, large trees and blue sky. ‘Early Modern Latin in London’ Walking Tours
25 July 2023

Rebecca Menmuir, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, writes about a walking tour she co-developed with the Society for Neo-Latin Studies, supported by a Centre for Public Engagement Small Grant.

The cover of the book 'Our Stories Told by Us: Celbrating the African contribution to the UK HIV response'. The cover includes an outline of Africa in red on a blue and yellow swirled patterned cover. Reigniting the HIV conversation
14 July 2023

A piece written by Rebecca Mbewe - research assistant with the SHARE collaborative at Wolfson Institute of Population Health, QMUL. Rebecca comes from a community engagement background and brings with her a wealth of experience into the research field. She writes about some of the more recent work that she has been involved in – a book which she co-authored with four other Black African Women ‘Our Stories Told By Us’

‘Secular Celebrations: Then & Now’ Being Human Festival 2022
19 June 2023

Clare Stainthorp writes about creating an event for last year's Being Human Festival. If you're feeling inspired, find out more about taking part in Being Human 2023.

Two actors stand on a stage in front of a projected image saying 'Secrets of the London Yiddish Stage'. One wears a top hat, waistcoat and bow tie, whilst the other wears a shawl, headscarf and apron. Secrets of the London Yiddish Stage
24 March 2023

Vivi Lachs writes about creating an event for last year's Being Human Festival. If you're feeling inspired, find out more about taking part in Being Human 2023.

Children's drawings representing their feelings about mental health. Felt tip pen drawings on white paper showing pictures of trees, sunshine, hearts, smiling and unhappy emojis, clouds and rainbows accompanied by words like, mental health, calm, happy, joy, take a walk. What colour are you feeling today? Using the arts to explore mental health in the classroom
3 March 2023

In this blog, Small Grant recipient Caitlin Aspinall writes about a workshop QMUL researchers ran with local school children to design a logo for the Youth Resilience Unit.

Children playing a card matching game with researchers at the Festival of Communities Happy Healthy Minds: a public engagement activity at the Festival of Communities
3 February 2023

In this blog, Giorgia Michelini and students from QMUL write about the activity they ran at the Festival of Communities in 2022. If you would like to get involved in this year's Festival the call for activities is now open.

Students sitting in groups at tables watching a live-stream presentation on a projector screen. Wild-Live Streaming Makes A Splash! A CPE Large Grant Project
5 January 2023

In this blog, find out more about the Wild-Live Streaming project funded by the CPE's 2021-22 Large Grants scheme.

CPE Small Grant: Bengali Resistance in the East End
5 December 2022

In this blog Small Grant recipient Ansar Ahmed Ullah writes about his project on 1970s anti-racist activism; ‘Bengali Resistance in the East End’. 

How can researchers better engage with people from minoritised communities in health research?
14 October 2022

The CPE Small Grants scheme has reopened for the academic year so we wanted to share reflections from previous recipients of the grants. 

The following reflection is written by Ratna Sohanpal from the INCLUDED study who was awarded a Public Engagement Small Grant in February 2022.

5 members of the centre for public engagement and vice principal Philippa Lloyd standing with the Watermark plaque Queen Mary receives Platinum - so what's next?
8 December 2021

On Thursday 2nd December, Queen Mary University of London became the first university to receive a Platinum Engage Watermark. This recognises our continued commitment to, and support for, engaging people with the work we do at Queen Mary. 

In Review: Engagement and Impact Awards 2021
6 July 2021

“After such a challenging 18 months, it is heartening to see that engaging with the outside world and making contributions to society continues to be a priority for staff and students”—Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal

Contributing to life in east London together
3 June 2021

Ever since Queen Mary’s founding institutions were dedicated to improving local health and education, our university has been a part of east London. Even today, thousands of our staff and students come from and live in the local area. 

Members of the Stories from Home team having a conversation with young children about their heritage and languages Preserving a generation of stories from home
14 May 2021

Tower Hamlets is home to one of the largest Bangladeshi communities in the UK, with families speaking different languages between generations. Emily Burns, Director of Queen Mary’s Centre for Public Engagement, caught up with the team behind Stories from Home to find out how this unique project aimed at ensuring stories and heritage languages are passed on to the next generation – a key part of cultural history and identity – came to be.  

Particle physics, puzzles, and the public
28 April 2021

Seth Zenz, a Lecturer at Queen Mary’s Particle Physics Research Centre in the School of Physics and Astronomy, recently won the South East Physics Network’s 2021 Public Engagement Champion Award. Emily Burns, Director of the Centre for Public Engagement, caught up with the Higgs boson expert intent on colliding CERN with schools. 

From end-users to co-designers: exploring the use of assistive technology amongst wheelchair users
27 April 2021

Ildar Farkhatdinov, Lecturer in Robotics from the Centre for Advanced Robotics, and Stuart Miller, Lecturer in Biomechanics from the Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre tell us the story of their Large Grant project engaging with the wheelchair community.

Engaged Topics Network: Engagement in the age of social distancing
23 February 2021

Many of our engagement projects rely on being able to interact face-to-face with our audiences to spark conversation; so how do we engage when these in-person interactions are no longer an option? At our latest Engaged Topics Network meeting, we explored how those at Queen Mary have adapted their work to engage online and the lessons they've learnt along the way

Running a creative film festival based around space science
4 January 2021

Martin Archer, a UKRI Stephen Hawking Fellow in Space Physics and Public Engagement, tells the story of his Large Grant project 'Space Sound Effects'

Reflecting on 2020
17 December 2020

Before we say goodbye to 2020, the CPE team thought it would be good to reflect on what has been a challenging year for many,  and take some time to send thanks to all across Queen Mary who have continued to share knowledge and work collaboratively with the public throughout.

A Bit of CS4FN: Mini computing magazines for primary schools
9 December 2020

Jo Brodie, the Public Engagement Co-ordinator for Computer Science for Fun (CS4FN) tells us the story of their Large Grant project 'A bit of CS4FN'

"Engaging with society has never been more vital"
17 November 2020

In our latest blog, the Director of the Centre for Public Engagement Emily Burns reflects and shares her opinion on why now, more than ever before, it's vital to engage with society.

CPExplores: Should we be taking our engagement projects online?
1 May 2020

The current situation has been raising lots of questions for all our public engagement work. In our latest blog series 'CPExplores', the Centre for Public Engagement will be setting out to explore the lay of the engagement land answer some of your most pressing engagement questions.

Being Human in Ice Age Hackney
17 December 2018

As part of last month's Being Human Festival, Claire Harris and Rob Davis, School of Geography, ran family workshops at Hackney Museum. Find out what they learnt-including the importance of a lie in! 

qLegal: free legal advice and the entrepreneurship community
10 December 2018

qLegal is a law clinic based at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. Its mission is to provide free legal advice to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses across the UK. Clemence Tanzi, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, explains how it works.

Recharging your batteries at the Science Museum
3 December 2018

As part of the Year of Engineering, Dr Ana Jorge Sobrido was given the opportunity to delivery na activity related to her research at the family festival We Are Engineers at the Science Museum London. Find out what they learnt below: 


Finding a venue for your public engagement event
26 November 2018

Digesting Science is a set of educational and interactive activities, run as an event, to explain multiple sclerosis to children aged 6-12. It was developed by the Barts-MS team at Queen Mary University. Below, they share their tips for finding a suitable venue for your event:

Languages in our Lives
19 November 2018

Devyani Sharma, Department of Linguistics, shares her experiences running Community workshops as part of the Languages in our Lives. 

East London Speaks: East London Listens
13 November 2018

East London Speaks : East London Listens was an event run by Amy Corcoran, a PhD student in the Law School, and funded by the ESRC as part of their Festival of Social Science. The festival aimed to bring social science research out of the academy and to new audiences. Amy used sound as a way of collecting and disseminating social science information to the public in a manner more accessible than academic reports, articles or conferences.


Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar
12 November 2018

At the 2018 Engagement and Enterprise Awards, the International State Crime Initiative, School of Law, were awarded an Influence Public Engagement Award. The Influence Award recognises activity where research has been used to influence a shift in attitudes or the way that things are done, whether this be organisational change, influencing policy or how people think about a topic and their actions. We caught up with them to find out what winning meant to them. 

The science-policy interface
5 November 2018

In a survey of QMUL researchers that revealed that were ‘slightly’ knowledgeable about science-policy but ‘not at all’ aware of how they could get involved, Elly Tyler, Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Blizard Institute, took it into her own hands to organise 'The science-policy interface' event, bringing together science-policy professionals and researchers in order to ask the questions: How researchers can contribute and why we should. Below, she shares her insights. 

Diabetes Lay Panel: Our nomination for the Engagement & Enterprise Awards
5 November 2018

As we open nominations for the 2019 Engagement and Enterprise Awards, showcasing outstanding contributions to pPublic Engagement, Media Relations, Academic Innovation and Student Enterprise, we catch up with a previous finalist to find out, when there's so much else going on, why you should nominate yourself for the Awards. 

Visual Reflections of Mental Health: Realities of Severe Mental Illness for Ethnic Minority People
29 October 2018

Kristoffer Halvorsrud, Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine, successfully applied for a 2017 Large Grant to work with patients from ethnic minority backgrounds with severe mental illness to create a series of photographic exhibitions showcasing the realities of severe mental illness. As a new display opnes in the foyer of the Queen's Building, he reflects on his experience working with the patients. 

Case closed: Legal Advice Centre and community engagement
15 October 2018

With the 2018 Community Engagement Awards ceremony just around the corner, we catch up with Frances Ridout from the Legal Advice Centre about their winning projects from 2017. 

Arthritis in the CiTI
8 October 2018

For Arthritis Awareness Week, we caught up with Annabelle Scott, Centre Manager for Centre for Inflammation and Therapeutic Innovation, about their Arthritis in the CiTI event, supported through our Community Engagement Grants scheme. 

Work experience at William Harvey Research Institute
1 October 2018

In Spring 2017, the Centre for Public Engagement piloted a new Community Engagement Grants scheme, for QMUL staff and stduents to develop community initiatives responding to the needs of the local community. The team at William Harvey Research Insitute piloted a work experience programme. Below, Adewale Kukoyi, Brampton Manor Academy, London shares his experience being aprt of the programme. 

What do universities have to learn from Museums?
27 September 2018

Our Public Engagement Officer, Katherine McAlpine, is part of the Museums Association Transformers scheme. Not a robot in disguise, but a changemaker. Below she reflects on her first day, and what universities might have to learn from museums. 

Hidden maths: Talking numbers at the Science Museum
24 September 2018

As the Science Museum prepares to celebrate ten years of Lates, Emily Pickett (Marketing and Communications Officer) shares her experience taking a team of students from Queen Mary’s School of Mathematical Sciences to August’s Lates to share the Maths behind magic tricks and a mysterious plastic computer. 

More than a meal: telling a different story about migration and refugees
17 September 2018

In May 2018, we supported Olivia Sheringham, School of Geography, through the Small Grants, to deliver an event at Walthamstow Garden Party with chairty, Stories and Supper. Below she reflects on how such events can change the dominant narrative about migration and refugees. 

Centre of the Cell goes into the community
10 September 2018

Earlier this year, the Centre for Public Engagement launched a Community Engagement Funding stream. Centre of the Cell used the money to take their science shows into the local community at the Ideas Store in Whitechapel. Very different from their usual classrooms or their Pod at the Blizard building, what did they learn from the experience? 

Back to school with the Institute of Research in School
3 September 2018

As students head back to school in their droves, we catch up with Dr Lizzie Rushton, Head of Evidence and Evaluation, Institute for Research in Schools and Honorary Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Education, on their innovative public engagement scheme to bring cutting edge research into the classroom. 

Seeing STARS: Public engagement through mentoring and performance
27 August 2018

Through our Small Grants scheme, the CPE supported Mojisola Adebayo, School of English and Drama, to host a staged reading of her play STARS-along with a mentoing week at Ovalhouse Theatre. Below she shares her experiences. 

Mole rats on display
20 August 2018

Chris Faulkes, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and Julie Freeman, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, were invited to take part in the 2018 Royal Society Summer exhibition with their RAT Systems project. As the deadline to be part of 2019 approaches, they share their experiences of the exhibition: 

The Love Machine: Exploring the Neuroscience of Romance at the Science Museum, London
13 August 2018

Do opposites attract? Do the opinions of friends and family matter? Are arguments a healthy part of a relationship? As part of the Science Museum's Pride Late in June, David Saunders, supported by a CPE Small Grant, produced the Love Machine: a series of immersive audio-visual performances to share his research into the history of attempts to answer those questions. 

Europe at all costs- how can researchers visually change the message about migration
5 August 2018

Sarah Wolff, School of Politics and International Relations, has collaborated with an anthropologist, Aziz Hlaoua and film maker Laurent Fontaine Czackzes as part of her research on migration. She tells us about her experience of filming in Calais and the challenges arising from filming a documentary with and by people in exile.


‘The doctor will see you now’
30 July 2018

How do you get teenagers with asthma to take control of their condition? The Centre for Public Engagement awarded the Asthma in Schools project a small grant in November 2016 to develop films to explore how teenagers can communciate with their GPs about their condition. 

Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund Tissue Bank (PCRFTB)
18 July 2018

Earlier this year, we piloted a new PPI Grants scheme support active public involvement in health-related research at QMUL. We supported the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund Tissue Bank at Barts Cancer Institute hosted an interactive discussion-led event with patients and families. Rhiannon Roberts shares her experiences of the day

Fake a knee at the Science Museum
15 July 2018

As part of The Science Museum's recent Women in Engineering Family Festival led by the Science Museum, Dr Tina Chowdhury built a fake knee with families as part of her project The BioEngineering experience. 

London Bound: Being Human Festival Hubs announced
9 July 2018

As Queen Mary University of London is announced as one of only six Being Human hubs across the country, Katherine McAlpine, Public Engagement Officer, shares some of the highlights of the London Bound programme for Being Human Festival.

2 July 2018

In February 2018, Jessica Jacobs, School of Geography, applied for a CPE Small Grant to develop and deliver a workshop with New Orleans residents to map their city. Below she shares her reflections: 

Rhythms of the Heart
26 June 2018

Heart & Music explored the connections between music and heart rhythms. The organisers, Elaine Chew, Professor of Digital Media at QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Pier Lambiase, Professor of Cardiology at UCL and Barts Heart Centre, and Peter Taggart, Emeritus Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology at UCL reflect on the challenges, aims, and highlights of the event: 

RHS A bit of CS4FN - computer science support for primary schools
22 June 2018

QMUL's Computer Science for Fun project uses everyday concepts to help introduce computer science research to young people in a friendly way


Gender in the Contemporary World: reflections from the organisers
18 May 2018

In December 2017, the Centre for Public Engagement awarded Ynda Jas and Elisa Passoni a Small Grant to support their Gender in the contemporary world conference. We caught up with them to get their reflections: 

RHS 250 Do the over 65y want technology to help them take their medication?
15 May 2018

In 2015 Anna De Simoni was awarded a small CPE grant to organise two workshops in two community centres in London with over 65 years old on daily medications.  The topic of discussion was whether they consider technology helpful with their daily medication taking. Her post summarises these conversations, which have informed a successful National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) programme grant application and offer insights to clinicians and policy makers about the potential role of technologies in medicine taking in this patient group.

Talking Trauma at the Big Bang Fair
16 April 2018

The Centre for Trauma Sciences were awarded a Large Grant from the Centre for Public Engagement last year. Below, we catch up with how they're getting on with their project: 

Kiyma Canina: Online self-help programme
7 February 2018

Ozlem Eyelm has created an online self-help programme for managing suicidal thoughts and worries for the Turkish-speaking populations in the UK and in the Netherlands. Nominated for an Public Engagement Award at the Engagement and Enterprise Awards 2018, Ozlem shares her experience.

Syria: A Story of Conflict
1 February 2018

Since September 2016, Chris Phillips has been working with the Imperial War Museum (IWM) as curator for a public exhibition on the Syrian Civil War. Nominated for an Interact Award Public Engagement Award at the Engagement and Enterprise Awards 2018, and the exhibition about to move to IWM North, Chris reflects on his experience. 

Muscling In! Developing Science Shows Collaboratively with Schools
11 January 2018

At the Engagement & Enterprise Awards 2017, Suzanne Eldridge, William Harvey Research Institute and Ameerah Khan, Katie Chambers, Centre of the Cell were finalists for an INTERACT award, celebrating the partnerships that often underpin great public engagement. Below, Suzanne Eldridge shares her experience of being part of the project

Katie's Team - our Engagement and Enterprise Awards nomination
13 December 2017

As nominations close for the Engagement and Enterprise Awards, we asked some of last year's finalists and winners about their projects, and what it means to them.

The Potential of Collaboration between the Arts and Research
4 May 2017

Cathy McIlwaine has collaborated with arts organisations and performance as part of her research into Latin American communities in the UK. Here she discusses how these collaborations can enhance the arts and research while encouraging positive social change.

The Matter of Objects: Putting on an Interdisciplinary Exhibition
20 April 2017

 The Matter of Objects exhibition brought together artists and history students to create a public exhibition exploring the meaning of objects. In their second blog post the organisers discuss bringing the collaborators together and holding the exhibition for the public.

The Matter of Objects: Setting up a collaborative exhibition
6 April 2017

 The Matter of Objects exhibition brought together artists and history students to create a public exhibition exploring the meaning of objects. In their first blog post the organisers discuss their motivations and how they brought the exhibition together.

Are we in Control? Giving Back Control to Audiences in Public Debates
23 March 2017

Public debates are a common means of communicating research, but what goes into these events and how can they be designed to encourage audience engagement? Magda Osman has been involved in the set up and delivery of these panels and shares her insights.

The joy of mobile cinemas: Screening PILI in rural Tanzania
8 March 2017

 Engagement and Enterprise Awards Winner Sophie Harman shares her work producing PILI, a film capturing the real stories behind her research into women living with AIDS/HIV in Africa involving real women living with the condition itself.

Subjectivity: The Next Challenge for Evidence-Based Policymaking?
7 February 2017

Towards the end of last year Helen McCarthy organised a symposium discussing how humanities and social science scholars can contribute to policy making. Her post summarises these conversations and assesses methods for ensuring subjective experience is considered by policymakers.

Pen and ink drawing by Linh Vu depicting the boat she escaped in, as a child, with her father from Vietnam Travelling Vicariously – Child Migrant Journeys
25 March 2016

The Child Migrant Stories project captures the stories of former child migrants as told by them. Eithne Nightingale conceived the project and in her guest post dicusses the journey it's taken her on, how it links to her research and how others can contribute.

The launch of the CPE, in 2012 Goodbye Catalyst
10 April 2015


The Sound of Discovery The Sound of Discovery
10 November 2014


PhD students at aboutflow Observing attitudes to public engagement at aboutflow
15 October 2014

In September I facilitated public engagement training for fifteen PhD students from the aboutflow programme. The purpose of the week was for each student to leave with a plan for a public engagement project and a better understanding of research communication, but more generally I was interested in their attitudes to public engagement and what affects these.

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