Beltane Public Engagement Network

Beltane Training

The Beltane core team has run the following training. The great majority of our courses are delivered by high-quality external consultants.


Introductory public engagement skills

The core Beltane team can deliver workshops suitable for PhD students and others new to public engagement with research. These include the NCCPE’s Research in Context, a basic communications toolkit (covering topics like jargon), and the experiential Research in Context programme.

Dialogue skills

We offer a range of courses which help researchers and public engagement professionals to work with members of the public instead of talking ‘at’ them. Examples include Public Engagement Beyond Public Lectures (runs each autumn) and How to Design a Public Engagement Process (ad hoc).

Social media and blogs

We have commissioned training on social media for public engagement and blogging (including video blogs) on an as-needs basis. Barbara Melville (formerly of Illicit Ink and former Writer in Residence at the MRC Regenerative Medicine) has delivered much of our blogging training.


We’ve worked with the Scottish Storytelling Centre to develop courses that help researchers speak about their work in a more engaging, less bullet-pointed way. We run an introductory course each September, with additional sessions on an as-needs basis.

We can also support a softer version of Pecha Kucha that the wonderful Lisa Thompson has branded ‘snappy storytelling’; the final competition is integral to the training.

Edinburgh Fringe training

Performers in our Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas shows are invited to intend three bootcamps in the run-up to the Edinburgh Fringe. These cover everything from finding a publicity-friendly hook for your show to stagecraft and publicity stunts. Bootcamps run in January, April and June.

Impact and influence

We have commission VOX training to deliver training on impact and influence skills. This training is especially useful for those who need to drive culture change (in public engagement, or any other field) while wielding little formal authority.


We have offered evaluation surgeries, and also host Eric Jensen’s rigorous evaluation training.

Traditional science communication

We recognise that more traditional science communication still has a place, and is often still the way into public engagement for researchers in STEM subjects. We’ve run training on science busking and gamification (both on an as-needs basis) and running successful science festival workshops and drop-ins (usually runs in March).

Working with schools

We are currently helping to develop a best-practice workshop that we hope will start running on a regular basis.

Voice and presentation skills

Public speaking is a type of public engagement that many researchers will end up doing. We want to ensure that they can do it well! We have worked with Michael Hargreaves and Mel Sherwood to deliver this training. Some of our training has prepared competitors for FameLab and TEDxUniversity of Edinburgh.

Media training

We offer a limited number of places on the intensive Research, Researchers and the Media course which is run in Edinburgh by the Institute for Academic Development. This course runs each spring.

Creative writing

We have worked with writer Barbara Melville to deliver training on creative nonfiction writing and creating nonfiction comics to communicate your research.

How to access our training

We offer training for research students, academic and research staff and public engagement support staff. Our target audience is universities in Edinburgh, but we welcome participants from other universities and other types of organisation altogether, as long as it is appropriate for the course.

To stay informed about our upcoming training, please sign up for our opportunities alerts or for our general mailing list, follow our Facebook page or Twitter account, or keep an eye on the opportunities calendar of this website.

We do not currently offer accreditation for our training, as this would make it harder for us to launch new courses when needed. We can offer certificates of participation (workload allowing).

We are currently (early 2017) piloting not charging attendance fees for staff and students from universities in Edinburgh. Individuals from other organisations will still need to pay. Our charges cover costs – trainers, venues, catering and administration – and are not for profit.

You may also find that relevant training is run by our partner universities, so do check with your local researcher development and public engagement office.


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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