The 2009 UK government consultation regarding the future of higher education, the report which resulted in the introduction of the Research Excellence Framework, used the word ‘impact’ no less than 232 times. Impact, according to the report, must be measurable, either by economic gain or a recognisable shift in government policy. These quantifiable results are then used as part of the REF evaluation process. But how do the humanities, research in which is more traditionally assessed on a qualitative basis, fit into this report? Recent work by Stefan Collini and Wendy Brown, amongst others, has begun to question how humanities researchers fit into this kind of science- and technology-centric policy but, like it or not, impact is something that all researchers will need to demonstrate engagement with. But how do humanities researchers even begin to develop the kinds of public engagement relationships necessary to develop extra-academic relationships which may put us on the road to improving our impact agenda?
Crossing the bar: Public Engagement and Humanities Research will explore practical methods for postgraduate and early career humanities researchers to set up and develop collaborative relationships with relevant non-academic partners. Across two days, workshops will be held with selected partners, who will offer themselves as case studies to suggest ways in which humanities researchers may begin to develop an impact portfolio. This portfolio will be begun in the summer period between the two workshops. Participants will be introduced to relevant ideas as to how to establish public engagement networks at the first workshop, and will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate their experiences, as well as to get advice as to how to continue developing their portfolio at the second event. Please click the links above for more information about the individual workshops, as well as about the partners involved.