Yesterday, I had the pleasure of accompanying Chris Parkin, of the

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of accompanying Chris Parkin, of the Museum of
the History of Science (MHS), and Caroline Cheeseman, of Oxford University
Museums, to the NCCPE (National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement)
Engage Awards ceremony, which took place at the Natural History Museum in
London. We attended because a project we had worked on at MHS, Objects of
Invention, was a finalist in the STEM category. Only 23 of about 240 nominated
projects had been named finalists, so we were in very good company!
The Objects of Invention project provided public engagement training for
engineering students at the University of Oxford (myself included) and
culminated in a public event at MHS which attracted over 2000 visitors to the
museum in a single day. We also carried out three schools events at the museum.
The ceremony kicked off with a wonderful talk by Professor Alice Roberts about
the importance of public engagement, especially for science researchers. Next,
Sophie Duncan, the deputy director of NCCPE, introduced the finalists for each of
the awards. For each award category, the audience was treated to a set of
excellent short videos summarising the short-listed projects prior to the
announcement of the category winner. The winner of the STEM category was a
project called “The Enlightenment Café: Deadinburgh”. The Deadinburgh
audience worked with scientists and actors to learn about epidemiology and
solve a mock zombie epidemic in Edinburgh.
We had the opportunity to meet some of the amazing people who had worked on
other short-listed projects at a reception following the awards ceremony. The
atmosphere was brilliantly upbeat, and we left with a wealth of ideas, which we
will look to implement in future public engagement projects.
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