Q. What is the Beltane Public Engagement Network?
A. Beltane is a brand which denotes activities that support innovative, high quality public engagement with research at the four universities in Edinburgh.
Physically, Beltane has two dedicated staff who are currently based on Holyrood Road, Edinburgh (in the Institute for Academic Development). These two staff act as shepherds, making sure that things happen. The suite of work delivered under the Beltane brand is much larger than just these two jobs, involving all sorts of stakeholders:
- Researchers from all of Edinburgh’s universities (and beyond)
- University students
- Public engagement support staff in universities
- University management
- Beltane Fellows
- Associates from outside Edinburgh’s universities (e.g. the Scottish Parliament, the NHS, the National Museum of Scotland, the Edinburgh Fringe)
- Members of the public
For this reason, the project is described as the Beltane Public Engagement Network.
Q. Do you have anything to do with the Fire Festival on Calton Hill?
A. No. We are named after the spring festival, when different communities would come together and matchmaking would take place. The Beltane Public Engagement Network is a partnership based on existing collaborations in public engagement (PE) activities amongst its members. Also ‘Beltane’ is a Gaelic word for beacon. The Beltane Public Engagement Network started out as one of six UK Beacons for Public Engagement funded by the Research Councils UK, The Funding Councils and the Wellcome Trust.
Q. Am I part of the Network?
A. The Beltane Public Engagement Network is not a members club. If you are a member of staff or a student at a university in Edinburgh, you are automatically a part of the Network. We would love to see you at Beltane-branded networking events, training courses and being part of our big public engagement initiatives.