Opportunities and Benefits

Share this page:

Working on new projects not only brings rewards in the short term, but can open up a series of networks and pathways that can lead to new levels of possibility and potential.

Thoughts on opportunities and benefits...

Choose a participant on the left to hear their individual thoughts on the subject in relation to their Beacon Project

Alexan Bouaguireu

Alexan Bouaguireu

Community Participant

Download audio

My name is Alexan Bouaguiran, I’m from Ivory Coast. I’m in the UK as an Asylum Seeker. I have a teacher, Padron, and I have been here one and a half years. The benefit, it’s from the fact that you get this scientific approach of the issue and also you share very important information- every idea, every perception, every approach is well taking in account and that’s very important.

Anthony Kollie

Anthony Kollie

Step Up

Download audio

The Step Up programme, which was done in partnership with Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations or Padron or a training programme and in this programme we’ll learn about different techniques or becoming influential and developing a leadership role and gaining a positive light of yourself and maybe stepping up and that’s why I think it’s called Step Up- it gives you an opportunity to realise your potential, to know your direction, your focus and then think about where to go next. Prior to coming to this Step Up project, I think I felt I had barriers. I felt that I didn’t have that confidence. When I gone into the Step Up programme, looked at the training programme, the opportunity, the level of mentoring and support that was provided, I then realised that I had the potential and I had the focus and the support and after the training I then was put on a trial to meet my mentor and we had a couple of discussions to say, ‘What would you like to do?’ and I said I would like to work on the ethics committee of the university of Manchester and then I was also given another mentor who is already on the ethics committee and so I then I attented a first training on how to work on the ethics committee and what to do, how to assess application forms and I had to attend a couple of my meetings. I’ve had reflective feedback of my involvement, my performance so I can say that Step Up is an open door for the opportunity that I made use of and it has helped me to grow in confidence.

Antonio Benitez

Antonio Benitez

Museum of Science & Industry

Download audio

I think that the main benefit for the, for example, Manchester Science Festival, one of the priorities is how to engage young people in science so I think that the best way to do that is to go and to talk to young people and for them to decide what kind of science they want see during the Manchester Science Festival. At the same time, I think this is a really good way to make the links between academics from the universities and the young people who live in Manchester and Salford much stronger So the young people have an idea of what is happening at the University but at the same time the people from the University, those academics, they know and they build some links with young people from around Universities.

James Smith

Alice Laferrere

The University of Manchester

Download audio

I think it’s definitely a lot of work, you’re right, and you’re expected to the preparation, and the event and the post event and the evaluation. It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding. The bigger the success the more work you have to put in it before but so rewarding and when actually people said 'why does it transfer!?' and you went, ‘Oh my god, you’re right,’ that’s amazing, they actually understand the story and they actually can kind of predict what will happen and then when you say, ‘Ok, now, instead of Mr Copper we have Mr Gold- what will happen?’ And they were interesting in knowing that actually corrosion can fix the price of the rings and that’s why platinum is expensive or everything. They were actually amazed to see how corrosion influenced their lives on a day to day basis and to see that they understand that was actually our goal in the beginning and so we kind of fulfilled our goal by making them sure to know that corrosion is actually part of your everyday life and that’s why materials are so expensive.

Emily Crompton

Emily Crompton

Institute of Cultural Affairs

Download audio

I think that the barriers that we faced are a little bit to do with the capacity of the University. They’re obviously very busy people but also there is a sort of stigma attached to community engagement, that it’ll take loads of time and they’ll have to spend loads of time doing really pointless tasks but I think the scientists that have got involved really see the benefit that they can have on their own teaching and it’ll make them sort of better academics for it as well. I’ve really enjoyed the project and I’ve enjoyed talking to scientists and getting them excited about their own projects because I know that everyone’s got something they’re excited about so for me it was really great to talk to people who wanted to show what their work was about in a different way.

Erinma Bell

Erinma Bell

CARISMA

Download audio

The project itself, Guns into Goods, is an idea that we as Carisma had about 3, 4 years ago, to be able to change something negative into something positive, but again, we just had the idea, we did not have the expertise of how to do it, so hence we were approached by Salford University when we put it out there as to who can help us do this, and having Salford University come on board with their expertise, with their design students, it’s been absolutely tremendous because that has really helped this Guns into Goods project to take off because without their expertise it would still be just an idea on paper and they have actually helped it come to fruition with their students who have taken it on board as a project and we have also got a positive fashion label called ‘Wear Peace and that fashion label has been created out of recycled gun metal which is something positive.

Ernesto Hernandez

Ernesto Hernandez

The University of Manchester

Download audio

There will be new humans in the future that can take over and modify the things that we did wrong. We have hope and hope is the best weapon that we have to cope in moments of extreme danger.

Gillian Mawson

Gillian Mawson

The University of Manchester

Download audio
Joanne Fitton

Joanne Fitton

Bury Archive Service

Download audio

The project’s definitely raising our profile and making us seem more important in the community. We are now going to get the project published into the local magazine, the council magazine Our Voice; there’ll be an article in the next edition, which goes out to all the households in the borough. This type of story is something that is not normal for the archives to be able to explore in any depth. Doing this project, really, I think is the tip of the iceberg in the potential of Gill’s research and how it can engage the public and we really want to use this as a stepping stone then to applying to Heritage Lottery for more funding to be able to do more in depth research and to do the public engagement side of things as well.

Dr Joanne Pennock

Dr Joanne Pennock

The University of Manchester

Download audio

There was one lady particularly who, people in her village have had roundworm, askertrisk infection and they’ve become very sick because of it and she said that even though there are, these worm infections are endemic, they don’t always treat them in the way they should. But a lot of people think that the worms proliferate inside you so you get more and more and more and actually every egg that you take produces one worm it’s just that the worm gets bigger so that’s a very common misconception and it means that when you do get treated they won’t come back unless you get re-infected with eggs.

John Helier

John Helier

Community Participant

Download audio

It started off with Gillian putting an advert in the local paper in Guernsey and there have been others which I’ve never responded to because it was really something that you blocked from your mind. I wrote to her and gave her a brief thing about we were evacuated, that there was 300 children in a cargo boat, of a boat that would normally have, well, did have, 3 crew and was built to carry cargo, not children. There was no lifejackets and there was one lifeboat but did have a gun. And then she came over to Guernsey and interviewed myself and two women that are actually on a photograph as you enter the building now, of us on a train, leaving Bury and I’ve had that photograph. I sent it to her and from that she wrote back and said she’d been wanting to get hold of me so I thought, ‘Well, how on earth could she know who I was?’ But it turned out that she had a copy of that photograph- I think from, would it be the Manchester Evening Post, with my name and the other two girls’ names on it and they had responded as well so she came over to Guernsey and she interviewed and videoed us there which I believe is going to be, eventually get into, the archives.

Kate Clanchy

Kate Clanchy

Fiction Writer

Download audio

I’m doing this radio play and so I’m looking at climate change and it’s about Arctic ice and about all the, because there’s a whole world of science blogs and very unscientific blogs actually, deniers and warmists, there’s a kind of furious debate going on about the size of the Arctic ice. I think it’s quite an interesting world and that whole way of communicating via blogs, and through messaging, is always quite interesting and so it’s a play that’s set in the world of climate blogs and it’s got a young girl in the middle of it being influenced by different bloggers. I think she drowns at the end, but anyway we’ll find out.

Dr Catherine Lawrence

Dr Catherine Lawrence

The University of Manchester

Download audio

The reason we came up with the pitch is because we thought there’s a real problem with lifestyle at the moment and problems with not just your heart and the brain and we thought this was a way of really engaging young population into finding out, eating a high fat diet for example is really bad for your brain. I think the beneficial thing is that it makes you think about your work in real basic terms, it’s like we do in any public engagement and you’re trying to convey a message in simple terms. It really makes you think about the bigger picture as well and also why you’re actually doing the research you’re doing as well because sometimes I think you can lose sight into the reason why you’re actually working on a particular minute detail project or something.

Dr Kim Linton

Dr Kim Linton

The University of Manchester

Download audio

In terms of, ‘Will I personally go out and do these kind of seminars?’ I think there probably will be some opportunities and I have already been asked by a few groups to sort of give talks to, say, patient representative groups, and I’m very happy to do that. But I think what’s going to be more valuable is that this is taken on by people who have the time and expertise to do this and learn from what the mistakes we’ve made, I suppose, to make this better and better and to incorporate the feedback from these sessions to build on the content of what we’re delivering as well.

Kooj Chuhan

Kooj Chuhan

Virtual Migrants

Download audio

I think for me what stood out the most was that the participants in the projects, in the research and the videoing and the training, and the training sessions that we did, that we weren’t expecting them to really get as interested in and want to be part of the group as much as they have done and I think that’s told us, probably more than this event, that’s told us that actually amongst migrant people that they instinctively know that the environment and the way things are changing is quite dramatic- it affects lives in a way which, to be honest, it affects lives in a way that it doesn’t here. Not only that but our parents, our ancestors, the way they talk has got so many, whether it’s in songs or just poetry or just talking generally, there’s so many things to do with trees and seeds and all kinds of metaphors, it’s kind of a part of our culture in a big way. And then being able to for a moment, because often people don’t have the chance to think about those things, especially in this country because you’ve got more consciously urgent things to deal with in your life, you know, getting a job, associating yourself with community of some kind that you can identify with, dealing with discrimination, getting your papers, you’re just… and so on, dealing with money and so on, so suddenly the space to think about environment and I think people think, ‘You know, this is really important, this is what the world is about, this is affecting where I’m from. I’m here, you know, I feel something for what’s going on in my country even though I’m, you know, I haven’t turned my back on it but I’m over here because of issues or economics,’ and I think that group of participants have just instinctively wanted to get involved in this project and I think that’s a big, big surprise, I wasn’t expecting that to the extent that it’s happened.

Linda Kirstein

Linda Kirstein

University of Edinburgh

Download audio

Well, certainly I mean I’m more open to potential science literature collaborations in the future and every year for my funder, which is the Natural Environmental Research Council I have to fill in an OPM, an Output Performance Measure, and one of those is for explaining science to the public and so it means I can tick a nice box for them and I think it’s good, I mean, Edinburgh University will probably write a little note saying that we did this interaction which is also good, can only be positive.

Professor Nancy Rothwell

Professor Nancy Rothwell

The University of Manchester

Download audio

There are numerous benefits to Universities of public engagement, both to the staff and those communities with which we engage and, obviously, our interest is in ensuring that communities around the University understand what we do, have an interest in what we do and find it accessible. But actually some of the key benefits are to our own staff who learn better means of communication, who find such experiences enormously rewarding and then of course interactions with potential future students, perhaps some who would not have previously thought about coming to university. I can give one example of an individual benefit which is actually very close to my heart because our research is on stroke and quite a number of people who work with me go out and talk about stroke and what it means to patients who suffer a stroke and as a result get some very interesting ideas for the research programmes, get people who are sufferers or their carers involved in describing and designing projects and actually have them specifically involved as lay members of ethics committees and so on, so that’s direct benefit to the research. For the teaching, I think one of the problems in Universities is as the more we train, the more we forget how to use plain language and that’s particularly for scientists who, given a simple word will always find a more complicated one to use. When they talk to non- specialists, they’re forced to use simple English and I think they get used to it and they become better teachers as a result of it.

Nicola Stone

Nicola Stone

Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Download audio

There’s a lot of negative press about research and I think that there’s so much good that can come out of it. Not only does it help individuals now, but it can help patients in years to come. It’s not exclusive to a certain group of people- it’s out there, it’s for everybody and it’s important that people have the information to empower them to make informed choices. I think when it comes to your health, it’s really hard because you’re scared of questioning doctors, saying, ‘Is this right for me, what are my options?’ and I just think that it’s important to make people aware of what’s available and that it’s not all bad, there’s so good that comes out of it as well and telling people this information is available, we’re not hiding anything.

Peace FM

Peace FM

Peace FM

Download audio

Peace FM is a community radio station and we like to talk about issues that represent our community, real life stories, people’s experiences and they talk about issues that concern them, their children. The radio station is a voice in the community at least that’s what everybody knows what’s going on. The police could come to us, like, if there’s any serious crime in our community. It’s good that we can interact with the police on issues concerning our community and it’s good to see people come here and just talking to each organisation to find out what each is about.

Ra Page

Ra Page

Comma Press

Download audio

One of the consequences of the whole project has been that some of the writers have engaged with the project so much and enjoyed the process of digesting science, that they've actually gone on to write more short stories, and they've actually taken this format. One of them in particular, Sarah Maitland, has taken this format, and is writing an entire book of short stories in her own time, but these short stories will be based on conversations with scientists, where the scientist then writes an afterword. So that's one opportunity which has grown, or legacy which has grown out of the whole project.

Ron Standring

Ron Standring

Community Participant

Download audio

You can read about things but when I think you actually meet someone who’s actually been through it, through the experience then it makes such a difference. And I was talking to someone before and he met his wife through a lady who’d gone to Guernsey and someone mentioned that she lived at Ramsbottom and he’s heard that and, you know, said, ‘I know Ramsbottom,’ and they’re husband and wife now, you know, things like that.

Sally Freeman

Sally Freeman

The University of Manchester

Download audio
Sam Ingleson

Sam Ingleson

University of Salford

Download audio

It was nice to have all the partners here because we’ve not all been together in the same room before this kind of thing. It’s been very much one partner working with another and sometimes mixing it but never having everyone in the same room together. A new partnership, or a new potential partnership has also arisen today through Mines Advisory Group which is an international organisation which works internationally with guns and with mines and with all the issues that come with gun crime around the world, so they’re really keen to get involved as well so that’ll be a really useful one to follow up next week, working with Mines Advisory Group. And yeah, it’s just because sometimes within that space of an event, it’s good to have all the partners here because you do automatically think of new things while it’s happening so we’re working out a new artist residency to support peace week next year and we’ve been talking about other stuff as well.

Sara Maitland

Sara Maitland

Fiction Writer

Download audio

After the bryology story, which is called Moss Witch, did rather well, Lara and I were talking and I’m going to do a whole book based on talking to scientists. So this isn’t actually part of the Eureka project, which Kate Clachy has been working on, this is for my own collection and I’m looking for a sort of broad range of scientists.

Sheila Whipp

Sheila Whipp

Community Participant

Download audio

Do you know, I never really thought about it until it started and then I thought well, I’m really glad because, you know, children now, I mean, you know, last two generations have no idea. I mean actually it’s promoted some discussion in my family because my grandchildren have never actually asked me any detail. They know I come from Guernsey, they’ve been to Guernsey, they’ve know they’ve got relatives there and everything and I was an evacuee, but they don’t know the full story and now they’re asking me questions wholesale, saying, ‘Well, what did you do? Why didn’t Nana, why weren’t you with her? Why this, why the other, why Bury?’ I said, well we didn’t choose did we- we got on a train, ‘Where’s it going?’, they said Manchester so I mean it was a culture shock to be honest when we got to Manchester, you can well imagine, and we were, well, you would’ve seen the film, you’ll know., we were , I was in the midst of the bombing pretty quickly after we arrived and everybody was in a panic, you know, ‘This isn’t the place for us,’ so we ended up coming to Bury. So, yes, all these questions they ask and I think it’s good and I feel very sad now because a few, I would think about a year ago, somebody asked me if I’d go and speak at this junior school because they’d been doing something about the war and I couldn’t go because I was going away, I think I was going to Guernsey actually, and I thought, ‘Well I don’t think children would be all that interested or understand it’ and now I think, ‘Of course, I missed that opportunity,’ but I thought small children in a junior school but you see it’s good isn’t it because if in years to come they don’t really know or understand, if you get this information that’s quite personal, I mean, they’ll hopefully be able to understand it which is really good isn’t it, because if it was lost forever, which it’s likely to be in the next, well 20 years, I suppose a maximum of 20, because the people who have got the most knowledge of it now, like in their 70s, 80s, and my mother died 2 years ago at 98 I think she was, so you know, she had a wealth of information.

Dr Stuart Allen

Dr Stuart Allen

The University of Manchester

Download audio

The reason we thought it’d be good to pitch the lifestyle factors and the impact on the brain was just, it was really just to raise awareness of the fact that what you do through your life from an early age can influence you, you know, in early life. Stroke’s not just a disease of the elderly you know, the choices you make earlier will actually impact later on and that’s not just true of stroke, that’s true of many diseases which, you know, more and more so we’re showing in research that things that happen very early, even through development, can impact on the brain later so we just thought it would be important to bring that into an event. Although you know, our pitch was from an event which will run in a couple of weeks you know all the public engagement events we’ve done and try to do it’s not that they’re a one off because I think that’s often if you invest time in an event you should try and give it longevity and make things that can run in other forums and also be used by other people so we try and develop events whereby, you know, anybody could try and pick them up off the shelf effectively and run them if they want to do that, which engages more researchers and scientists in public engagement activities.

Tony Lloyd

Tony Lloyd

MP

Download audio

The science, we have a major challenge in our society. I was, a long time ago, I was a mathematician. I’m not quite sure whether that makes me a scientist. One of the realities is this; that we are, we’re not an anti-scientific nation but we are a nation that’s not learnt to value what science really is. Sometimes it was left in the classroom with Bunsen burners and obscure formulae written on blackboards for whole generations. Of course, actually the reality of science is that it’s what we do everyday and the great thing about having the University involved today is that a practical application of some, that’s quite simple to understand, albeit that the physics behind it may be a little bit complicated, can be seen by people from different backgrounds as being totally relevant and something where most people can say ‘yeah, yeah I can make sense of that’. I mean I learnt something myself today about this, about the process of vaporisation of metals and what that does, so I’m grateful for the scientific aspect of it. I came along to see the nature of modern Manchester where we have had, although we are dealing with it quite well, the issue of guns on our streets. It seems a long way to be talking about vaporisation of metals but of course they’re all connected in this joined up, jumbled up little world of ours and that’s a good reason for having this kind of partnership working.

Challenging perceptions

Sometimes the most exciting insights come from the most unexpected places. Not from using tried and tested methods to build on existing knowledge, but from having to re-examine not just what we know but how we came to know it. Stepping outside the comfort zone of the laboratory or lecture hall, and engaging in dialogue with seemingly unrelated worlds can be a valuable and inspiring experience, enriching and renewing the work we do.

Creative learning partnerships

Collaborating with unlikely groups can broaden horizons and connect with new audiences. Mixing handicrafts with medicine, youth with experience and fiction with scientific breakthrough, for a glorious fusion of genres, ideas and creative pathways.

Engaging new audiences

Building interest with groups outside our own immediate discipline helps inject life and appetite into the subject area as a whole. Reaching new groups and communities can bring renewed energy and enthusiasm, which will in turn create new avenues of development and growth for the future.

Comments

No comments added yet.


Add Comment


Please log in, or provide your name and email to post without an account.



our learning created by Reason Digital and Dovetail