I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to a celebration day with an organisation that previously funded me in some poetry and creative projects. The event happened last Sunday, so I thought I’d gather some thoughts on it here (prompted by Hasmita’s reflections elsewhere).
In some ways, I was a fish out of water since the recent direction of Ignite! has been focused on STEM subjects. I don’t usually have ghost particles, brown’s gas or sustainable business models explained to me on a Sunday morning. The Sparks, old and new, are an inspirational bunch with so much to offer. It is a somewhat overwhelming privilege to share and learn with them. I spoke at some length with Jake from We Movement about his burgeoning campaign to bring together climate change organisations. In the afternoon Sian Prime from Goldsmiths gave some proactive advice about getting projects underway which is just the kick I need as Michaelmas approaches fast.
It became more clear to me as the day went on that as ‘impact’ and ‘public engagement’ become more central concerns for the Arts and Humanities, our field could take some direction from how scientists are communicating their research. In some ways it seems easier for scientists to communicate – after all their research generally gets more news headlines and potentially makes more of a difference to people’s lives. However, with fresh calls for the public to get something back from public funding in research in the past few weeks, it seems important to think about how my research could have ‘impact’ for people other than myself, my supervisor and my examiners!