Day 1 of the 2018 International Engagement Workshop is over! This blog is a new output for this year’s workshop, where each day the key take-home messages will be posted for attendees to think about and discuss as the event goes on. Here’s what we got from today’s workshop:
Establishing the field of community and public engagement: why we’re not there yet
Currently, the CPE field has a lack of evidence and learning backing it, which means some people in the research community view it as “fluffy”. The community also lacks a shared language and philosophy, and as such the professional CPE community has not yet been established as it should be.
How do we get there?
We need to build a centre of gravity to attract people. We need to retain a human focus. We need to learn from other sectors. We need to assemble stakeholders to champion CPE.
How do we build sustainable economies of scale?
Engagement practitioners currently bridge the gap between the formal and informal worlds relating to research and communities. This skill set isn’t always recognised or respected. There are currently a lack of formalised structures to support the profession in this way. We need to learn how to build sustainable ecosystems at scale for CPE professionals, but there are questions around this: who do we place at the centre of the ecosystem, for example?
Participatory visual methods of engagement
It was agreed that PVMs break down barriers and are a very useful tool in community engagement. While traditional methods like theatre work well, we need to be open to new methods. It’s important to test and question these though, and understand the vulnerabilities you’re asking participants to open up to.
Integrating CPE with other strategies, such as policy, communications
When working across strategies, it is important to think about the shared interests and potentials, but also the obligations working with others puts on CPE activities. It is important to balance strategy and goals with the practical plans – what you want to achieve vs how you will achieve it.
Let us know at tomorrow’s workshop if you have any more thoughts on any of these issues!


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