Centre for Public and Policy Engagement

We believe universities should be inspirational places which have a transformational impact on visitors and the wider public.

We want people to understand the value of universities and how our work directly benefits them in their day-to-day lives.

We also want to celebrate and investigate the best ways to connect with people.

We’re doing this through a programme of events, interventions and research with the aim of establishing Essex as a national centre for expertise in methods, capacity-building and leadership in public engagement.

Our aims

We’re helping establish a culture of public engagement across the University and helping staff understand the value of public engagement and the partnerships we can build  beyond the University through public engagement.

We’re creating a programme to explore concepts and methods of public engagement.

We’re creating capacity across the University to engage with the public.

The first five years

Our first five-year-plan aims to deliver:

  • A web platform for promoting public engagement
  • A vibrant blog written by members of academic staff from a wide range of disciplines reflecting on public engagement, sharing experiences and promoting best practice
  • The appointment of public engagement professors in each of our three faculties to provide leadership and support on this issue. This will include leading annual research council events and supporting an enhanced University of Essex component to the Essex Book Festival.
  • An annual University-wide Public Engagement Forum to showcase activities and inspire further work by academics and professional services staff. This will feed into and be informed by the emerging national Knowledge Exchange Framework.

The centre is also looking to develop the concepts of public engagement around epistemic learning communities, contemplative learning and behaviour change, ethically-driven actions, and the fostering of novel social capital platforms for co-creation of knowledge that leads to transformative actions.

Bringing people together

Our centre will play a coordinating role across the University working in close partnership with the Communications and External Relations team and the Research and Enterprise Office to ensure links to the impact agenda of the University. We will establish an Advisory Group bringing together external expertise, University academics and Professional Service staff.