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1st December, 2016

Middlesex University shortlisted for national public engagement award


Middlesex researchers have been shortlisted for a national award for their public engagement work. SMASHfestUK is one of three projects shortlisted for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) award, in the national Engage Competition run by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

SMASHfestUK is designed to widen participation and build diversity in STEM subjects through the arts and design. It’s an anarchic, interactive festival and outreach programme which uses a narrative-driven and inquiry-led engagement approach and a hyperlocal delivery model to attract young local audiences, aiming to break down any barriers to inclusion.

Middlesex University staff and students from across the Faculty of Science and Technology have been involved in an ambitious programme of events.

Middlesex University Product Design Programme Leader and Co-Director – SMASHfestUK, Wyn Griffiths said: “At Middlesex University, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body and our innovative approach to public engagement and recruitment.

“However, this is an on-going battle, as overall diversity in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects is poor.

Universities shouldn’t be “ivory towers”, but open, collaborative hubs; active in the heart of their local communities. Widening participation and working to alleviate imbalance in gender, ethnic and socio-economic diversity is an ethical requirement and urgent mission for Higher Education.

“That is why we are so excited to be the founding and lead academic partner of SMASHfestUK.”

Being shortlisted for the NCCPE award is a remarkable achievement – finalists have been selected from over 180 entries which demonstrate a broad range of high quality activities to inspire and involve public audiences. Finalists’ work ranged from digitally reconstructing city histories to protecting endangered species; from working with older people as researchers to delivering hyper-local science festivals; from young children conducting their own research to influence the United Nations, to using theatre to improve oral health outcomes.


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