Knowledge exchange, public engagement and the University

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Knowledge exchange, public engagement and the University: Insights from the School of Film, Media and Communication

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An online day event on 20th May 2021

Hosted by Professor Deborah Shaw


1000-1100 Tom Sykes: Impact Beyond the Ivory Tower: Converting Your Academic Research into Books and Articles for Popular Readerships

Modern universities recognise the importance of disseminating their research to audiences beyond the academy in discourses that non-specialists can understand. For some years, CCI Senior Lecturer Dr Tom Sykes has led a ‘double life’ as an academic theorist and as a professional author, editor and journalist. In this workshop, he reveals how to use your academic research as a springboard for writing newsworthy and impactful feature articles, op-eds, reviews, reportage and popular non-fiction books. Tom will discuss structure, style, drafting, editing, the all-important journalistic 'angle' and how to devise an eye-catching proposal sure to grab the attention of editors, agents and publishers.

1115-1145 Lucy Shuttleworth: pitching your creative writing for the film industry and the importance of valuing cultural diversity

As a working screenwriter in Film and TV, and a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, Lucy discusses her process; the importance of authentic research, the art of pitching and writing professional ‘decks’ and the changing face of an industry which is finally beginning to value cultural diversity, non-binary voices and female screenwriters.

1200-1230 James Dennis: creating web and social media content for wider audiences: Too Many Twits Might Make a Tw*t"? Disseminating Your Research on Social Media

Disseminating your research on social media can feel incredibly daunting. The process of choosing the right platforms, deciding how and when to engage with your audience, and what to post can feel overwhelming. Drawing on my experiences of managing social media accounts for a range of research groups, I reflect on some examples of best (and worst!) practice to simplify this process and offer guidance on how you can use social media tools to share your work and network with other academics.

1230-1300 Lunch break

1300-1330 Charlie Watts: Lessons from setting up CCITV and partnerships and collaborations in the local community: 'Keeping PSB alive'

The responsibility for major broadcasters to provide localised Public Service Broadcasting is dwindling. Will it become the responsibility of HE (namely local universities) to continue PSB whilst fulfilling a baseline community function, and a university's civic duty?

1330-1400 Alex Sergeant: Podcasting and experiences of working on

In this session, Dr Alexander Sergeant (Lecturer in Film & Media Studies, FMC) will reflect on his experiences producing and co-hosting the Fantasy/Animation podcast. Dedicated to the academic discussion of fantasy storytelling and the medium of animation, Fantasy/Animation regularly features in the Apple Music Top 100 for Film & TV and has amassed download figures in the 10,000s since its launch in August 2018. In this session, Alexander will reflect on his experiences working on Fantasy/Animation, giving his thoughts on the reasons why he is motivated to continue producing the show and the value it adds to his academic career. He will also host a Q&A at the end of the session, helping attendees to develop the ideas and skills needed to become a successful research-led podcaster within whatever subject discipline they might be working. More broadly, he will consider the wider impact academic podcasting can make regardless of subject discipline, sharing examples of best practice within the contemporary field outside his own work and offering some insight into the advantages of working in this medium in terms of knowledge dissemination, impact and public engagement.

1400-1430 Laurel Forster: Researching with the Community: Uncovering a 'Hidden History'

The city of Portsmouth, dominated by the dockyard and Royal Naval bases, has traditionally celebrated and commemorated the achievements of men, with the assumption that the second wave of feminism made little impact. However, Portsmouth, with its status as a city of deprivation, with poor housing stock and few resources for women and families, does, in fact, owe a huge amount to the grass-roots activism of women who have made significant and lasting improvements to life in Portsmouth. This project built a network of women who had been campaigning to improve their lives, and the lives of their communities, in the Portsmouth area since the 1960s, and offered nearly sixty women the opportunity to give their testimonials and narrate their own histories. Part of the project involved offering up this uncovered history to the local and wider interested publics. Laurel Forster will discuss how this joint research was undertaken and disseminated, what worked, what didn't, dealing with ongoing interest, and the lasting legacy.

1430-1500 Break

1500-1700 Roundtable discussion by colleagues with experience of engaging with audiences outside of academia

Each speaker will deliver a short 5-10 minute talk of their own experiences, then a roundtable discussion chaired by Tom Sykes

  • Stephen Harper: writing for a readership beyond academia
  • Deborah Shaw: Turning your specialist research interests into public interest journalistic blogs and articles
  • Evan Pugh – ethical practices within reality TV, talking from personal experience
  • Steve Whitford: How practitioners combine academic work with practice
  • Rubia Dar: How practitioners combine academic work with practice
  • Susana Sampaio-Dias: Reflections from a research project: questioning the Eurocentric notion of ‘training’ journalists
  • Alison Habens and Lincoln Geraghty: Organising public events and bringing our research to Portsmouth communities
  • Catharine Russell and Paul Foster: Entering the ivory tower from industry: reflections on moving from journalism practice to academia
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