Voyage of Discovery, Safely Anchored.

Update (20/08/2015): Full report on the ‘Voyage of Discovery’ now available

Last Tuesday at 1300 hours The Beltane Public Engagement Network and the University of Edinburgh’s Student Experience Project embarked upon a Voyage of Discovery: Celebrating, Inspiring and Exploring Community University Engagement in Edinburgh. Here is a brief report of our annual gathering,  exploration and findings.


We aimed to celebrate projects in which communities and Edinburgh universities collaborated through research and student community engagement. We wished to inspire new approaches to engagement and explore new partnerships through a series of workshops and guest speakers, all within the nautical theme of course…

From the Crow’s Nest..

Lewis Hou’s Science Ceilidh Band adapts simple Scottish ceilidh dances to explain science concepts. Passengers enjoyed taking part in everything from the to the Dashing White Blood Cell to the Orcadian Strip the Helix. More information here.


The Science Ceilidh

Health science students Eilidh Cowan, Scott Smith and Sophie Donaldson took us on a journey through our bodies in a mock interactive school workshop. School pupils are taught about vital organs and nutrition by those studying at Queen Margaret University.

Juliet Millican from Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) and Sophie Duncan from National Co‐ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)  gave insight into what opportunities Universities can have in engaging with communities and how best to do it. They emphaised the value of enabling the higher education sector in making vital, strategic contributions to society and how the combining of resources can make a tangible difference to the effectiveness of projects, the quality of university education and research and the lives of local people.


Juliet Millican shares experiences and useful tips to those entering into a Community University Partnership

Mapping the community with Johanna Holtan saw passengers using pins to map and collect stories of staff and student‐led community initiatives, in and outside of curriculum. Inspired by a recent crowdsourcing activity to capture the University’s presence in the city (Google map can be found here.)


Passengers mapping their presence in the city

Permission to Parely: discussions and activities based on the big questions facing our passengers and the community engagement groups they represent. Some interesting products and plenty of opportunity to talk about best practice.

For a general overview of the event check out our storify from #cuuEd15 tweets:

The Periscope Perspective from Beltane Intern Lucy Gibbons

My first dive into the ocean of public engagement was certainly eye opening. Meeting those participating in all manner of community engagement projects I was struck but the enthusiasm every individual held, not only for their own ventures but the willingness to listen to stories and words of advice from others.  Understanding the challenges to University-Community partnerships, and ways in which to that face them, was a key theme throughout the day and I was inspired by the diversity and potential of all showcased and future projects.

Thanks to all our participants we hope you enjoyed the event. Full report on this event will be published in due course.