3 Responses to who is the public in public engagement?

  1. Amber Thomas says:

    I’m with you 100%. The “public” is often more educated than we give credit for. Melvyn Bragg talks about a rising mass intelligensia http://philosophyforlife.org/melvyn-bragg-on-the-rise-of-the-mass-intelligentsia/ and although that is an over-generalisation I think there is an aspect of that. I am minded of the Oxford “Listening for Impact” report http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitisation/impactembedding/lfi.aspx amongst their feedback on iTunesU was a retired physics professor commenting that the university lectures were a lot more stimulating than TV’s Countdown. The narrow spectrum conversation between academic in field A and academic in field A is the most common model of scholarly discourse, but perhaps fast being overtaken by academic conversations across fields, and with non-academic experts. I absolutely agree with you pushing back against the concept of public engagement always meaning dumbing down.

  2. In France, where my parents have always lived, my Parisian French native mother apparently speaks French with a distinct British accent. (She married an Englishman so it confuses people…). With my father’s surname, I am also obviously Chinese and not a British redhead with some Irish ancestry.
    As to more damaging stuff, I’ve been told that if I am at university then I cannot possibly be dyslexic (-my ex-GP held that speech) while others seem to assume I cannot read and write much being dyslexic (and I could sadly count a few academics in that group).
    - Aaargh…

    This is not really what your post is about but I think that the question ‘What might I learn from this public?’ is a crucial one. Some things can feel quite condescending at times but I expect it isn’t easy – why being open to learn from one’s public seems so important, which I thought was inherent to the concept of ‘engaging’ with others…

  3. Pingback: social media and research: twitter | the nursing scholar

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