From Public Engagement to Policy Impact: The Landscapes of Secrecy Project


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AHRC Workshop, 12 July 2013, University of Birmingham

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From Public Engagement to Policy Impact: The Landscapes of Secrecy Project

  1. 1. From Public Engagement to Policy Impact The Landscapes of Secrecy Project AHRC RES-451-26-0480
  2. 2. Landscapes project Richard J. Aldrich: Press Matthew Jones: Press Kaeten Mistry: Press Christopher Moran: Memoirs Paul McGarr: Declassification - FRUS Simon Willmetts: Film and Fiction Funders: AHRC and Leverhulme Trust Richard J. Aldrich: Press Matthew Jones: Press Kaeten Mistry: Covert Action Christopher Moran: Memoirs Paul McGarr: Declassification and History Simon Willmetts: Film and Fiction Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
  3. 3. So Why the CIA project? CIA is a public symbol of key issues in US policy Interventionism vs. Isolationism Presidential vs. Congressional control National Security vs. Core Values
  4. 4. Part 1: From Public Engagement... Initially, we were thinking PE not impact • A project on Public Engagement naturally gave us PE • But we did not design impact in from the start • Interdisciplinary : IR, Econ, History, English, Film, American Studies gave us more options • Comparison would have given us even more traction • Impact and “policy” pushed us towards UK comparison
  5. 5. Public Engagement and the Press • Most news is written by us not by journalists • Reuters and AP are the best ones to write for X 20 • July and August is springtime for impact • They love personal narratives • Things are “new” if not many people know them
  6. 6. Media is fairly easy - but they will “lock on” • 30 min Radio 4 programme “Document” Aug 2011 • 30 min Radio 4 programme “Document” Aug 2012 • Then trailed: BBC 24 News, Today programme, Guardian • Radio is less time consuming than TV - skill sets? • Personal relations with media are everything - buddies • Hooking in current events is crucial - Bond • Trade publishers are PE machines?
  7. 7. Web: The best money we spent – £3k • You can do your own broadcasting • A conference can be broadcasting and can be broadcasted • Primary source interviews can be broadcasted • Conference crisis need to cover costs • 4.51 million hits • 34,000 downloads of audio • Public can go to conference forever • Wikipedia and web resources – and your cites
  8. 8. Museums and exhibitions but they all want your help for free !!!! • Dr Chris Moran – Consultant on Bond Villains • The tariff : how much time on public engagement? • Will it help me in the promotion round? • Do we need different career paths? • AHRC PE or Policy Engagment Fellows • PE and Policy events on campus – Book Festivals !!!!
  9. 9. Part 2 Making a Policy Impact: AHRC Follow-on Funding Enhancing Openness and Explaining Secrecy: Policy Lessons from the Declassification and Management of US Intelligence and Security Records AH/J001856/1
  10. 10. Intelligence and Secrecy in the Twitter Age: Core Claims (I) • Secrecy: often counter-productive. Failure to communicate leads to misunderstanding; conspiracy theories harden into fact. • Complex New Ecology: Intelligence no longer owned exclusively by specialist high-level government agencies working against a foreign enemy. • Corporations (airlines, Facebook, Tesco?) • Public confidence is key if system is to work. Eg. In an era of “Contest”, citizens now expected to report suspicious behaviour.
  11. 11. Intelligence and Secrecy in the Twitter Age: Core Claims (II) • Nature abhors a vacuum: if secret services don’t write their own history, someone else will write it for them. Might not like it - sensationalism, lopsided? • Oversight of intelligence goes beyond political committees and the judiciary – well-informed journalists = “shock troops” of accountability. • Recognising that it is too dangerous for secret services to leave their history solely to private hands, they should proactively engage with musuems and other forms of cultural production (official histories) • The IT Age – Governments are struggling.
  12. 12. What did we propose to AHRC? • Draft policy briefs and web-site by an RA • 8 workshops – co-production of knowledge • Europe – EU – Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces; asked to write chapters for security reform handbook. • Cabinet Office, MoD, GCHQ, SOCA, DA Notice • Impact training for early career researchers
  13. 13. What did we learn? – impact buddies • “Working for the Man” • involve them from the start • “impact buddies” – better to have 3 or 4 close buddies than, a wallet full of business cards. Invest time in relationships. • Museums: have executive boards with important people • Think tanks and third sector bodies always looking for new ideas • Industry and Parliament Trust - impact by the yard? • I wish I was at the LSE – £ x location = impact??