Friday, 12 April 2013

'Cultivating Comunity?' public engagement project call for participants

Cultivating Community? A Case Study of Lord Armstrong and the Victorian North East

 Applications are sought for an AHRC-funded public engagement training project
What is 'public engagement'? What importance might public engagement projects have for the local community or the region? How can we create research with partners outside academia? How can we ensure that the knowledge generated is genuinely meaningful to the public we seek to reach out to? What can we do to ensure public engagement initiates two-way conversations that enhance our research as well as deepening public understanding and interest? This AHRC-funded project seeks to address these questions and more through offering postgraduate participants a comprehensive training programme and the opportunity to design, plan and run a public exhibition exploring local industrialist Lord Armstrong's role as a philanthropist and civic figure in the North East.
 Engaging with the wider community opens up exciting opportunities to acquire and share skills, and to create innovative new research. This training project will provide postgraduate students with a programme of workshops, field trips and practical experience, with the twin aims of encouraging participants to think about how to make public engagement as meaningful as possible for both researchers and the public, and providing a 'tool-kit' of useful information and ideas. By the project's end, participants will have successfully undertaken local archival research for the purpose of staging a public exhibition and documented their experiences and thoughts on the project blog, which will then remain as an online resource.
 Participation is free and involves:
  • Two full-day training workshops to be held on 20 May and 3 June (refreshments and lunch included). These will be open to all and will feature panels comprising representatives from Newcastle and Durham universities in dialogue with a wide range of local culture and heritage institutions, including The Laing Gallery, Durham World Heritage Site, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Great North Museum: Hancock, TUSK music, and Durham Palace Green Library, with more to be confirmed
  • A full-day field trip and behind-the-scenes tour to Cragside, Lord Armstrong's family home
  • Two catered half-day exhibition planning meetings (late May and mid-June)
  • Independent research at the archive or institution of your choice
  • Curation of material for the public exhibition (opening in late July), which will be launched with a wine reception for all participants and partners
Up to twelve participants will be selected. The successful applicants must be able to commit to attend the workshops, planning meetings and field trip, as well as undertaking approximately 10 hours of independent work on their contribution to the exhibition and the project blog. Travel to and from the workshops will be subsidised.
How to apply:
Applicants must be current postgraduate students working at either Master’s or PhD level. We will also consider applications from people who will be commencing a postgraduate degree in the 2013/2014 academic year.
Please send a one-page document to the organisers detailing:
  • Name and institutional affiliation
  • Degree programme and discipline
  • Thesis title and year (PhD students only)
  • A statement of up to 400 words, detailing why you would like to be considered, and how this programme would benefit your academic development
Applications should be sent to,, and by 5pm on 13 May 2013.
For more information, please email the organisers or visit the website:


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