Beacon North East
Bright Club is a unique and innovative variety night, offering an opportunity for researchers to talk about their work in a light-hearted and entertaining way, without sacrificing any of its quality, or ridiculing it. Born out of a collaborative project at Beacon for Public Engagement, University College London, the format has since spread around the country. The Newcastle Bright Club, funded by Beacon NE, regularly attracts large public audiences in pubs and clubs around the city and for one very special night, will come to Newcastle University Students’ Union on Wednesday 26 October, celebrating the research of Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences.
The event starts with a drinks reception at 5pm, is expected to last until 6.30pm and you should book in advance.
Beacon NE is one of six Beacons for Public Engagement, university-based partnerships that are working to support, recognise, reward and build capacity for public engagement. They are a partnership between Newcastle University, Durham University and the Centre for Life – other partners include schools, businesses, museums, voluntary organisations, charities, community groups and other public sector organisations.
Beacon North East have just launched their new website which includes information about events, projects, resources and opportunities to be involved in public engagement. I’d encourage all researchers to find out more about this organisation and think about how your involvement could benefit your research and your professional development.
Beacon North East is offering the right person (either a member of research staff or a completing research student working on the broad topic of ‘money’) the opportunity to disseminate their work and increase its impact in a unique and innovative way, namely at a stand-up comedy venue, the Bright Club in London. Once a month, Bright Club (in collaboration with One Green Firework, music promoters Duel in the Deep and the Beacon for Public Engagement at University College London) hosts a variety night. The evening provides researchers with the opportunity to perform alongside professional comedians and musicians, and since it began in May 2009, over 1000 members of the public have seen more than 70 researchers ‘doing their thing’. The event is hosted by a professional stand-up comedian who presents a number of researchers and prompts them to talk about their subject in a light-hearted and entertaining way, without sacrificing any of its quality, or ridiculing it.
THE OPPORTUNITY On the evening of December 7th, Bright Club is bringing its format to a conference hosted by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). One researcher from each of the six Beacon areas (of which BeaconNE is one) will be performing sets on the theme of ‘Money’. The topic is deliberately broad and the organisers are looking for researchers from any academic discipline who are able and willing to disseminate research related to this topic through the comedy medium. Training will be given in how to tailor material for an audience of comedy enthusiasts. You will be able to see a previous ‘gig’ in London on October 26th, followed by a one-hour training session the following morning in how best to tailor your research material for an audience of comedy enthusiasts. Then there will be a two-hour rehearsal session on December 6th. All expenses will be covered, both for the training and the event itself.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE The event is part of the NCCPE’s first national conference on 7th and 8th December 2010, with the broad theme of why and how universities should engage with the public. The conference aims to bring together people who are passionate about public engagement to share effective practice and to explore how to embed public engagement within HEIs.
Beacon North East (Beacon NE) is a partnership between Newcastle University, Durham University and the Centre for Life; for more information, see www.beaconnortheast.com. It is dedicated to:
• Improving the quality of research by bringing together academic experts with ‘experts by experience’ from outside the academic world • Working with local communities on research which solves real problems and makes a difference to people in the North East and beyond • Supporting and promoting public engagement at Durham and Newcastle universities
If you are interested in the possibility of enhancing the impact of your research in a most unusual way, please contact Kate Hudson Kate.Hudson@newcastle.ac.uk as soon as you can.
The aim of the survey is to establish how the sector currently supports and values public engagement, and to help understand the triggers and barriers to involving personnel in public engagement activity. The findings will help inform the Beacons for Public Engagement (BPE) initiative (funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust), which has been set up to encourage the sector to embrace this activity in both strategy and culture.
They are interested in the views of staff within both BPE institutions and those who are not in BPE institutions because they want to see what sort of public engagement activity is happening across the sector.
If you want to influence funders and have your views about public engagement heard, then complete the survey by Friday 9th April.
If you have any queries regarding the completion of the e-survey, please contact Zeb Nash at Oakleigh (firstname.lastname@example.org).