Engage 2019: Call for contributions now open

We are now inviting expressions of interest to contribute to this year's Engage Conference, which will be held in Bristol on the Wednesday 4th - Thursday 5th December 2019. The call is open until 18th June 2019.

Find out more & apply

Engage 2019: Disruption

For many public engagement is an opportunity to disrupt current ways of thinking and doing. However, as engagement becomes an increasingly familiar part of the higher education landscape, is it really delivering its potential?

Join us at Engage 2019 where we will open up a discussion about disruption, in our universities, our research, our futures and our lives.  

Engage 2019 will reflect on the current contexts for engagement in a world that is increasingly fragmented; where social inequality deepens; where we are facing the consequences of our collective activity on the planet; and where we need to find more effective ways to address the challenges that face us all. All of this in a setting where the future of university funding is increasingly unpredictable, and where traditional paradigms of knowledge and knowledge production are being challenged from all sides.

Is our current approach to ‘public engagement’ adequate to meet these challenges, or do we need a step change in how we understand, lead and deliver a truly ‘engaged’ higher education sector?

Engage 2019 will pose these questions:

  • What is the role of universities in 21st century society? What do these profound changes mean for how universities work and who they work with? Should they reimagine their societal role, being open to disrupt and be disrupted?

  • To what extent do universities truly understand their people and their place? How can they gain deeper understandings that would foster more intelligent ways of engaging? What are the barriers to participation and whose responsibility is it to remove them? How open are they to learn to work differently?

  • What can we learn from different cultures, contexts and approaches? Where has disruption led to better outcomes, and how has this happened? Can disruption be a useful force for change, or are there more effective ways to see change happen?

Call for contributions

If you would like to contribute to one or more of the above themes, have transformational stories to share, tricky issues to explore, or would like to stimulate discussion, debate and reflection, we invite you to share your ideas. Break-out sessions could include the following formats:

  • Interactive workshops: Host a 60 or 90 minute workshop exploring the practice, principles or prospects of public engagement. Please make sure you tell us how you will ensure the session is tailored to the needs of delegates, and how you will use interactivity to encourage participation.

  • Debates or panel discussions: Convene a 60 or 90 minute debate, or panel discussion. Sessions will provide opportunities to hear a range of perspectives relating to the conference theme. We welcome creative approaches to managing these discussions.

  • Storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful engagement tool, and we are keen to hear your disruptive tales. We invite you to contribute a 7 minute story followed by Q&A. These sessions will bring together several story tellers to weave their magic.

  • Thinking spaces: Thinking spaces are hour-long hosted discussions aimed at delegates who want a different type of conversation. Would you like to host a thinking space, providing a relaxed, informal space to explore particular issues in a more open format?

  • Taster case study table hosts: People relish the chance to learn from other's experience. Taster case studies are a chance to host a table of up to 10 people, and to use a 30 minute slot to engage them (without powerpoint or audio-visual aids - but hopefully with interesting props) in a focused conversation about an aspect of your work.

  • Contribution wildcard: Do you have a great idea for a 30 minute or 60 minute session, but it doesn’t fit the categories above? We want to encourage our contributors to pilot, develop and share new approaches to engaging in conference settings and invite you to use the wildcard option to contribute something really different.

In addition to this we are also inviting contributions to our popular poster party and encounters session on the evening of the 4th of December.

Find out more & apply