Beltane Public Engagement Network

Public Engagement Beyond Public Lectures!

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June 6, 2017 @ 9:00 am – June 7, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
1.18 Paterson's Land
Old Moray House
Holyrood Rd, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
Free/£190 depending on affiliation
Beltane Network (Sarah Anderson)
0131 650 4874

This session of the course is FREE to staff and students from universities in Edinburgh! Individuals from other organisations are welcome, but a charge applies.

dialogue-handbookTarget audience

  • Postgraduate research students
  • Staff (academic and professional) who are new to the principles of dialogic communication and facilitation

Open to all academic disciplines and members of any university, and to people working in other types of organisation.

Why take this course?

Researchers are now expected to do some form of public engagement – to interact with particular stakeholder groups and/or wider ‘publics’ – in order to to increase the impact of their research. The impact of public engagement is strongest when researchers talk with people rather than at them, and researchers are open to hearing what members of the public have to say. Come to this course to:

  • Get an introduction to the principles of two-way ‘dialogic’ communication
  • Build your skills in facilitating dialogic communication
  • Think strategically about how to design dialogic public engagement activities, including how to communicate with your research’s audience from the very start of your research project (instead of just telling them what you’ve done when it’s over)
  • Understand the difference between ‘dialogue’ (to increase understanding) and ‘deliberation’ (to come to a decision), and why both are needed
  • Develop the skills needed to reflect and improve upon your engagement practice and wider communication techniques long after the course has ended

Whether you’re planning to work with government, business, product and service end-users, or citizens, this course could help you make your engagement more effective. You’ll leave with a toolbox of skills that you can use in a range of different settings where two-way communication is beneficial, including (but not only) public engagement with research.

Feedback on the October 2015 session

 “Thank you for a wonderful course”

“Absolutely fantastic. Went above and beyond my expectations”

“I was impressed with how the content was delivered and pleased to learn that we would apply our learning as we went along”

“It was a welcoming environment where I felt confident and comfortable to learn”

“A brilliant starting point for public engagement”

“I came out knowing more about myself and how I communicate, and how to improve my communication”


This course is FREE for staff and students from universities in Edinburgh! This is a trial, and we may need to revert to charging if the no-show rate is high.

If you are not a member of staff or a student from a university in Edinburgh, the cost is £190. This includes lunch and refreshments on both days, and the course handbooks in hard copy.

Your trainers

Wendy Faulkner is passionate about people participating in decisions that affect them, and about the benefits of dialogue. New understandings and possibilities can emerge when people think and work together in a spirit of deep listening and learning, and where difference is respected. A former academic, she now works freelance designing and facilitating collaborative conversations, be they exploratory or deliberative, single events or staged processes.
 Her experience covers public engagement in research, community engagement, and collaboration with stakeholders. 
She has trained some 300 people in these areas, largely with Oliver Escobar, for the Edinburgh Beltane Network and other community and third sector bodies. Wendy has an enduring love of Scottish tweeds – hence her trading name Talking Tweed.


Oliver Escobar is Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of What Works Scotland, a large research programme to improve public services and policy innovation. His areas of research, teaching and practice are democracy, politics, policy, participation and collaboration. He is on the Board of Democratic Audit UK, Beltane Public Engagement Fellow, member of the Scottish Government’s Participatory Budgeting Reference Group, Director of ClimateXChange’s Citizens’ Juries, non-executive member of the Scottish Government’s Digital Communications Board, and advisor to DRILL –the world’s largest research programme led by disable people. He coordinates the Citizen Participation Network, has trained and worked with hundreds of public engagement practitioners, and is involved in developing democratic innovations across various policy arenas in Scotland and beyond. He has led or co-led over a dozen research projects. His most recent research focuses on the interface between citizen participation and social inequalities (e.g.

What Works Scotland:

Oliver’s blog:

Twitter: @OliverEscobar

Contact Us

The Beltane Public Engagement Network
The Institute for Academic Development
1 Morgan Lane, Edinburgh, EH8 8FP

Phone: 0131 650 4874/4875

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