Public and community engagement
Public and community engagement is the name given to the dialogue between the University and the non-academic outside world.
There are four principal elements of our engagement: Community Engagement, Public Engagement, Civic Engagement and Business Engagement. However, engagement also encompasses our work with schools and colleges and widening participation.
Engagement, exchange and partnership
As a civic organisation of long-standing, UWE Bristol has a formidable record of engagement, exchange and partnership that spans the widest range of activities with over a thousand external collaborators, partners and stakeholders.
UWE Bristol works closely with the professions, business, industry and the wider community to ensure that teaching and research have direct relevance to society and the environment.
In parallel with traditional values of academic excellence, the University uses academic knowledge and skills to find practical solutions to problems, often through collaboration with others.
What does it actually mean?
At UWE Bristol, public and community engagement takes the following forms:
- provision of direct services – student volunteers, student placements/internships, provision of specialist advice (eg legal advice) by academics, provision of specialist skills (animation, ICT, group work), mentoring, life-long learning, free consultancy and other support, contribution to governance via board membership, trusteeships, etc.
- development work – contributing to capacity building work with neighbourhood, faith and other communities, business and social enterprise, work with service user and special interest groups, civic partnerships with schools and voluntary organisations.
- engagement in policy and product development and social innovation – through research and KE contributing to policy development in local and national government, public services, social enterprises.
- collaboration with people who are not on campus in defining research questions and developing research projects.
- discharging ethical responsibilities – to inform the public about socially sensitive research bearing upon, for example, developments in nanotechnologies, bioengineering, new management technologies, climate science, human trafficking, etc.
- disseminating information and knowledge to non-specialist audiences, such as public lectures, science cafes, public conferences and debates as well as more informal two-way interactions through public events such as the Festival of Nature, Festival of Ideas etc.
- producing works to be seen by large audiences, such as Centre for Music concerts, visual art, performance and digital media outputs
- mobilizing the university’s physical infrastructure as a public resource – Spike Island, Centre for Sport, Transport, plans for the new campus
- supporting government agendas, such as engaging young people with STEM subjects, widening participation and enterprise.
UWE Bristol was one of the first UK universities to sign the Public Engagement Manifesto.