Public engagement beyond public lectures!

October 5, 2015 @ 9:30 am – October 6, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
to be confirmed
Varies - please see event description
Sarah Anderson
0131 650 4874

Public DialogueThe latest version of Beltane’s dialogue course, this training is delivered by Wendy Faulkner and Oliver Escobar. It lasts two full days and is aimed at those just starting out.

Researchers are now expected to do some form of ‘public engagement’ – to interact with particular stakeholder groups and/or wider ‘publics’ over aspects of their work – so as to increase the impact of university research in the wider world.

Public engagement takes many different forms across different disciplines.  It can mean working closely with decision makers in government or business to provide evidence to improve practice or policy; enlisting would be users in the development of new products or systems; promoting public understanding and appreciation of the field; consulting citizens about a controversial area of policy.  In all these areas, the impact is strongest where there has been two way conversations – where researchers talk with people, rather than at people, and where they are open to hearing what others have to say.

This course is designed to strengthen your skills in having such conversations.  It will introduce you to the principles of ‘dialogue’ (to increase understanding) and of ‘deliberation’ (to come to a decision or conclusion), and equip you to recognise the communication patterns of each. It will help you facilitate conversations so everyone is heard and so people feel safe to speak openly.

Throughout the course, you will experience a range of techniques; and on the second day you will have the opportunity to practice choosing which techniques to use for which kind of groups and purposes, by designing a public engagement process.


PhD students and staff (academic and professional) who are just starting to think about public engagement with research.


Will be confirmed shortly. (Will be no more than a 10-15 bus ride from central Edinburgh.)

Booking and cost

There is a cost to attend this course, but bursaries are available to cover the full cost.

Prices are:

  • Students and staff from universities in Edinburgh: £87
  • Everyone else: £175.50

Bursaries are primarily for PhD students and are only open to people studying or working at one of the four universities in Edinburgh.

More about the trainers

  • Wendy Faulkner

Wendy is a freelance dialogue practitioner, offering services in designing and facilitating dialogic conversations where the aim is to create a genuinely collaborative process of inquiry and/or deliberation. Prior to her current career, Wendy worked for thirty years as an academic researcher.

More about Wendy

  • Oliver Escobar

Oliver is  Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh and Co-Director of What Works Scotland. His main areas of research are citizen participation, communication, and policy practice. Oliver has experience in acting as a facilitator in a variety of contexts.

More about Oliver

Both Wendy and Oliver are Beltane Public Engagement Fellows