Mr Simon Gall
Public Engagement Officer
As Public and Community Engagement Officer, my work comprises a range of tasks and activities that ultimately increase the Institute's engagement with those inside and outside the university. This role involves working broadly in two modes: public engagement, where we tell the world about our work and ideas; and community engagement, where we support others to do their cultural work and to realise their goals.
These two approaches can be best thought of as existing on a continuum. At one end is the more traditional one-way public engagement typical of universities which, in our case, proceeds from the Institute's priorities and seeks to disseminate our research and intellectual ideas to audiences largely outside the university. This can involve giving public talks and lectures, staging festivals, producing podcasts, running social media campaigns, and so on. My role in this mode therefore tends to focus on event programming and management, project management, marketing and PR, grant writing, editing and production, strategic planning, liaising with funders, line-management of project workers etc.
At the other end is the more two-way concept of community engagement where the Institute makes its knowledge, skills, and resources available to communities, groups, and organisations in the North-East to support them in achieving their goals. My work in this mode often involves facilitation, mediation, connecting, co-developing ideas and projects, as well as supporting the execution and evaluation of projects and initiatives. In this context, I support the writing of funding applications, chair meetings, take part in the design of initiatives, join and contribute to committees led by other organisations, support the delivery of co-designed or community-led work, and so on.
In reality, our engagement projects and initiatives rarely sit comfortably in one or the other mode and tend to fall somewhere along this continuum, keeping my work very varied, exciting, and interesting.