Sunday, 4 January 2015

Public engagement

Although this blog is called Storyboards and Tricky Topics, it started because we are interested in exploring public engagement with the JuxtaLearn research that uses storyboards to learn tricky topics through performance.  Hence, the blogging team's occasional foray into definitions and literature about engagement.  As Andrew made clear here, our interest in engagement is not students engaged with learning, not customers engaged with a product, but is particular to public engagement with research.  Nick Mahoney has written a paper relevant to public engagement available at
Mahoney explores the work needed to engage the public in current research - he calls it 'contemporary'. From the work arise three perspectives on publics:
  1. "emergence-oriented" that attends to mediated and reflexive qualities of publics. He cites work of "art and performance theorist Shannon Jackson", which I find interesting in the context of JuxtaLearn's performance aspect.  Is a community based theatre the sort of thing he means, like
  2. a perspective that is more philosophical & normative in approach and emphasis
  3. a perspective that takes the public as a real and pre-existing entity - I see that as a difficulty - define the public (see earlier discussion on public), but if you know who you are targeting then you can quantify, calculate and survey.
All three bodies of work linked to these perspectives offer resources to use to explore public engagement and therefore Mahoney's paper and related research are relevant. 

MAHONEY, N. (2013) The work of public engagement. Comunicazioni sociali, 3, 349-358.

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