UEA ENGAGEMENT AWARDS
for outstanding contribution to Public & Community Engagement
UEA Engagement Award winners for 2015/16
Dr Jessica Johnson – Lecturer in Solid Earth Geophysics, School of Environmental Sciences
The Norwich Cathedral inaugural Science Festival in March 2016 saw a team from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences deliver a suite of volcanology-related activities. The festival’s drop-in family day attracted around 10,000 visitors to the Cathedral site. As part of the team, Dr Jessica Johnson developed a novel activity giving visitors a chance to engage with an expensive, and normally inaccessible, seismometer. Jessica’s presentation was pitched perfectly to the audience, generating curiosity and enthusiasm. When a fellow expert had to pull out from a Bin Bang display, Jessica, undaunted, carried on with a demonstration creating a controlled explosion using liquid nitrogen in front of huge crowds of children and adults - with only the support of students and non-specialist colleagues. Despite being inundated with curious visitors for almost six hours without respite, Jessica displayed exceptional professionalism, ensuring every interaction was a positive and meaningful one and that attendees left with a genuine insight into her area of research and its impact outside academia.
Dr Tom Licence– Senior Lecturer, School of History
Dr Tom Licence, Director of the Centre of East Anglia Studies and Senior Lecturer in the School of History, established “What East Anglia Threw Away” in 2015. This innovative, multidisciplinary project brings together academics, students, local authorities, community groups and members of the public in order to study and explore the delights of historic rubbish dumps. In sampling landfill sites originating between 1870 and 1960, “Garbology” combines with methodology to enhance knowledge about how our ancestors lived and forge important links between UEA and regional research partners. In parallel to this, the “Historical Landfill’ strand of the project involves consultation with local authorities on the issue of contaminated land. In Norfolk alone, the project has increased the Environment Agency’s database of historic landfill sites by approximately 70%. “What East Anglia Threw Away” has, so far, engaged with up to 23.9 million people globally, with media appearances, public lectures, school workshops and community excavations.
Dr Tom Phillips – Tutor in Humanities, Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities and Dean Bowman – Student, School of Art, Media and American Studies (Joint Award)
The Norwich Gaming Festival, now in its 3rd year, is a major celebration of the cultural importance of videogames and highlights the local creative sector as part of this growing industry. This year the festival saw an official partnership with UEA and, as part of a week of activities, Dr Tom Phillips and postgraduate researcher Dean Bowman organised two days of public talks and workshops. Tom and Dean presented on key areas of games studies; showcasing current research on the subject at UEA. The public talks quickly sold out but were livestreamed on YouTube, extending their public reach beyond the festival. Tom and Dean maximised UEA’s involvement by encouraging staff and PGR participation in the public events. Feedback from an estimated 52,000 visitors indicated that 55% of attendees felt the event to be of educational value. Further UEA involvement is planned for the festival in 2017.
Carl Philpott – Senior Lecturer, Norwich Medical School
There are many different causes for the loss of taste and smell and the condition affects far more people than might be imagined. In 2011 Carl Philpott, a senior lecturer in UEA’s Norwich Medical School and an expert Ear, Nose and Throat consultant, was approached about the possibility of creating a charity to support and inform sufferers of smell and taste disorders. Fifth Sense was born and things have developed rapidly with the charity currently providing 2000 members with support, advice and a signpost to potential diagnosis and treatment. Carl has been centrally involved in the charity’s many public engagement activities, including “Food, Flavour and Fifth Sense” in 2012 and “Get a Whiff of This” in 2013. Future plans include a national survey of sufferers in 2018 which will be the first of its kind and provide statistics to campaign for better patient services and further research. Carl’s enthusiasm, dedication and expertise have been vital to the charity’s development and the connection between the public and ENT clinicians such as Carl is fundamental to its continued success.
Dr Marina Prentoulis – Senior Lecturer, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Dr Marina Prentoulis has an outstanding record of interaction with non-academic audiences ranging from local schoolchildren to panel discussion on the BBC Andrew Marr show and speaking at Glastonbury festival. During the Euro crisis of 2015, Marina became the “go to” contact for national media to aid understanding about contemporary European movements and the rise of Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain respectively. Media and public appearances as senior lecturer at UEA have brought enormous credit to the School of Political, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies. No matter who the audience is, Marina presents research and political expertise in an accessible way and her passion and subject knowledge combined with the ability to engage and debate with experts, politicians and hardened journalists is to be highly commended.
UEA School: School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies Twitter: @prentoulis
Dr Jenni Rant – Honorary Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences
Dr Jenni Rant was introduced to the SAW (Science Art and Writing) Trust as a volunteer during her PhD and postdoctorate years at the John Innes Centre and has run the charity full-time since 2012. As a public engagement approach, SAW shatters the notion that science is “difficult” and instead stimulates an interest in and an empathy with science. SAW workshops in schools bring scientists, artists and writers together with teachers and children to explore scientific themes in an accessible, cross-disciplinary way. Jenni runs SAW workshops locally and nationally and makes regular visits to collaborative bases in Shanghai and Boston, USA where SAW is very much part of teacher tool kits. SAW delivers activities at big public events including the Royal Norfolk Show, Science at the Cathedral and (this year) to Latitude Festival. SAW is chosen by many scientists across the Norwich Research Park wishing for support in the design and delivery of accessible public engagement as part of their RCUK Pathways to Impact. Jenni is a passionate, tireless and committed advocate for public engagement.
The unit of Language and Communication Studies – School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies – (Group Award)
The unit of Language and Communication Studies within the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies has together created a thriving and dynamic range of engagement activity to help promote languages and the wider benefits of language learning. Colleagues in Language and Communication Studies are proud to be ‘champions of languages’. Across the unit a vibrant programme of schools activity, such as the language of business project and the language ambassador scheme, use languages to help raise aspirations and attainment of young people. The Language teachers’ Network bring together language teachers’ from across Norfolk to provide curriculum support and further strengthens relationships with local schools. The unit’s French theatre company, “Sacré Théâtre”, has organised plays in French at UEA for over 30 years. The Spanish sector publishes a magazine in Spanish every semester which includes articles from members of the public. The Japanese sector runs the successful “Discover Japan” day on campus, which attracted 160 participants in its first year. This year the unit also hosted the third “Norwich City of Interculture” at the Forum. This event offered free hands-on activities for all ages and an exhibition looking at the challenges involved in communicating in different languages. It featured talks and discussions, which brought together lecturers from across PPL and UEA, the public, and external organisations, to discuss and raise awareness about the diversity of Norwich and Norfolk, through perspectives ranging from language, translation and intercultural communication to migration, citizenship or studies on politics or policy that have an impact on the local and regional communities. Other public engagement activities include a free cinema club, a public lecture series and community radio shows.
Hussam Hussein – Postgraduate Researcher, School of International Development
As the Ethnic Minorities Officer for UEA’s Student Union, Hussam Hussein led campus events throughout October 2015 for Black History Month. Twenty-three student societies were involved in events that drew hundreds of students, staff and the general public to diverse activity from panel debates, seminars and film screenings to exhibitions and music performance. Hussam launched the month at Norwich City Council and widely publicised events via thousands of widely distributed programmes across the city. As a researcher in hydropolitics and an international student ambassador, Hussam has presented at several Rotary events in Norwich and to students from all over the world studying at the English Experience School in Norwich. Hussam was one of 50 world youth delegates to the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development conference in Japan and continues to present his research to policy-makers as well as the public at conferences on a global level.
Engagement Award Winners 2014/15
About the Awards
Nominations are welcome for staff and students across the NRP and University (both academic and support) who have performed particularly effectively with their public engagement work over the past year.Nominations are also invited from community partners who have worked with contacts across NRP/UEA. Why not make a diary note to look out for next year's timetable?
Awards timetable for 2015/16 (for information only)
Awards call opens 14th March 2016
Deadline for nominations 18th April 2016
Formal notification of awards 27th April 2016
Announcement of awards 25th May 2016
Downloadable nomination form and guidance notes - for information only