Discourses in Public Engagement


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Insights and lessons learned with regards public engagement from the Catalyst Research Project which has the public embedded as part of the Research process. This powerpoint was presented at the Discourses in Public Engagement Symposium hosted by the Digital Economy Communities and Culture Network+, investigating digital transformations of communities and culture at The University of Leeds on Thurs 20th September 2012.

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  • Catalyst is citizen-led – work together to set research agenda and to devise and build innovative solutions – important to have wide networks…
  • //no need to explain the tech details of this! Just say...extensive use of social network – fast growing community [if asked later: this is a snapshot of twitter conversation over two weeks between @catalystproj and its followers and tweeps – done in Nodexl] The extended community.... a healthy network Catalyst has formed a network of academics and non-academics (or Catalystas) interested in citizen-led innovation. To date, Catalyst has involved over 10 academic departments and over 20 community organisations.Selection of Catalyst sub-projects is via an application process, mediated by procedures to match-make academics and non- academics. All projects must satisfy the Catalyst criteria: (i) the project must be genuinely citizen-led and address a problem identified by specific community group(s); (ii) the project must involve academics from multiple disciplines; (iii) the project must result in a digital innovation which addresses a real citizen need.
  • To reflect upon the ways of working, we apply PROTEE , a management process designed to ensure that projects learn from failure as well as success. PROTEE involves a series of dialogues with Sprint and Launchpad project teams to articulate insights to support innovation, project management and interdisciplinarity. Duret, M., Latour, B. Martin, S. Bischof, H., Sondermann, K., Orobengoa, Ai., Bijker, W., Hommels, A., Peters, P., Laredo, P., Woolgar, S., McNally, R. PROTEE: Procedures dans les transportes d’évaluation et de suivi des innovations considerées comme des experimentations collectives. Final Report EC Transport RTD. 4th F’work Programme. Contract No ST-97-SC.2093.
  • Patchworks as an example: Research Sprint – 8 Months Is it possible to co-design, with homeless communities, a simple and cheap health monitoring and communication tool using the methods and materials of ‘personal manufacturing’ (DIY-Bio/garage science)? Working with Madlab & Signposts We briefly describe current Catalyst projects, to give a flavour of the research. # patchworks involves Lancaster’s School of Healthand Medicine, Lancaster Environment Centre, Signposts (a community resource centre in Morecambe), and MadLab, a Manchester-based not-for-profit community of hackers and innovators. In the project, Signposts volunteers are co-designing a prototype tool using cheap, open source technology that can help to improve support services for the homeless Intro to Patchworks and Ref to the SRA abstract ‘routine chaos’ http://vimeo.com/43110132 Good refs to Chaotic Lives Cornes, M., Joly, L., Manthorpe, J., O'Halloran, S. and Smyth, R. (2011). Working Together to Address Multiple Exclusion Homelessness. Social Policy and Society , 10, pp 513-522 doi:10.1017/S1474746411000261 Brown, P., Morris, G., Scullion, L. and Somerville, P. (2012) Losing and Finding a Home: Homelessness, Multiple Exclusion and Everyday Lives . University of Salford. Accessed via http://www.homelesspages.org.uk/node/24491 Fitzpatrick, S., Johnsen, S. and White, M. (2011). Multiple Exclusion Homelessness in the UK: Key Patterns and Intersections. Social Policy and Society , 10, pp 501-512 doi:10.1017/S147474641100025X Rogers, R., (2009).  The End of the Virtual: Digital Methods , Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009. Young, S. D. and Rice, E. (2011). Online Social Networking Technologies, HIV Knowledge, and Sexual Risk and Testing Behaviors Among Homeless Youth. AIDS and Behavior , 2011, Volume 15, Number 2, Pages 253-260
  • The video was shot in May 2012 {for FE} July’s dilemma: two prototypes, only one can be developed What to chose? An inexpensive, portable, personal communication device that allows access to general infromation (food drop-ins) and personal appointments Or... A bio-monitoring system that can visualise the presence of harmful concentrations of bacteria/fungi in accommodations offered to people of no fixed abode (‘I lived in houses you woul not put a dog in it’)?
  • ....Users Study to start next week with three CW and their service users
  • ‘ Idea’ quote from de Bono ‘Later thinking’ 1977 Values + {handle ppl with care => mutually beneficial partnerships} {tension between genuine ‘social mandate’ and ‘institutional pressures’ ref to frames and value work if appropriate /Shawrtz circumplex} An early realization in Catalyst was the need to embed values emphasizing that the research be mutually beneficial and achieves both academic and community impact. An explicit values statement can overcome many of the misunderstandings and confusion that arise in multidisciplinary, citizen-led projects but these values can often differ from standard University procedures. Disciplinarirty/Method {always start from what (methods) you know well but then measure their limits by entering into dialogue with other methods/disciplinary apporaches} Although academics within a discipline have developed standard methods, methods can vary enormously when different disciplines and non-academic groups are involved. Constant attention must be taken to ensure that citizen-led principles apply throughout a project; otherwise, there may be a danger that people default to their former roles and defer to those considered ‘expert’ on a particular issue. Time & capacity Catalyst started at a time of significant budget cuts for such groups. Although Catalyst does fund its community partners, the university is always going to have the upper hand financially which introduces issues in terms of the balance of power and authority. We are now looking at how to support community organisations beyond Catalyst funding. Catalyst was deliberately designed around short (6-9 month) research sprints to maximize the number of community groups and academic disciplines that could participate. It is clearly challenging, however, to carry out in-depth research in understanding social issues and to design prototype solutions within such a time frame. With Catalyst, there are three sources of tension related to time: (i) different disciplinary timescales, for example, a tendency towards agile, rapid prototyping in computer science versus the time needed for a thorough analysis in social science; (ii) the length of time required to make lasting, trusting relationships between academics and community groups; (iii) additional time needed to put in place procedures for working with partners external to an academic department with limited experience in engaging with community groups.
  • Discourses in Public Engagement

    1. 1. #catalystas@catalystproj www.catalystproject.org.uk
    2. 2. Interdisciplinary Team• Computing• Management• Sociology• Community & Public Engagement
    3. 3. Research Questions• Understanding behaviour – Why do people participate (or not) in society/civic actions?• Tools for change – Next generation {digital} technologies for social change
    4. 4. Citizen-Led Research
    5. 5. #Catalystas
    6. 6. Projects: Launch pads & Sprints
    7. 7. Protee • Project dialogues • Learn from failure and success • Insights: – innovation – management – interdisciplinarity
    8. 8. #Patchworks
    9. 9. July: Turning Point...#1? #2? m on Syste Ho usi formati ng S ta on al In n da Pers rds Bio -M o nito r
    10. 10. #Pathttp://youtu.be/rqGw0kWhXB0
    11. 11. #Pat Major ComponentsLED Indicator Powered USB Hub RFID Tag Reader Thermal Printer The Internet
    12. 12. Catalyst / Lessons Learned• Values before outputs• Handle people with care• Know your methods• Time may not be on your side• Get (net)working• Let it go! (Spin-offs)• ‘No idea is too ridiculous to be put forward’•