We are currently reviewing the methodology by which we collect information on our outreach activities, but I wanted to give you an idea of the range of activities that took place during the 2015/16 academic year in order to demonstrate the diversity of work which goes on in this area.
At present, activities are categorised into one of four different groups:
a. Public (lectures, performances of music dance and the dramatic arts)
b. Exhibitions (permanent or temporary whether held within UCL library services, UCL museums and galleries or overseas)
c. Education (museum or library-based, including work in schools)
d. Other (online outreach, films/podcasts, publications and outreach work conducted by reader services)
We also sub-divide the above into whether events were free or paid-for.
In broad terms, there were 122 “outreach events” (covering all categories) in 2015/16 compared with 80 in 2014/15, a rise of 52% which is very impressive. The vast majority of these are free (92% in 2015/16) which helps us to demonstrate that we are being inclusive.
The following two pie-charts show the distribution of activity across the four categories for the respective academic years 2015/16 and 2014/15:
As you can see, exhibitions have increased somewhat year on year but all areas are broadly similar in proportion. An improved definition of “other” will help us be able to make more sense of this as we move forward. For example, one of the things we will be looking at in the Outreach Steering Group is how to measure online interactions. With social media, blog and website interactions, it can get quite complicated and it is quite possible we are underrecording at present. Watch this space!
In terms of numbers attending (or interacting with) outreach, these figures are in the millions which is fantastic. The largest category is films and podcasts and these massively boosted figures in 2014/15 with the several BBC programmes including the BBC Horizon ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ documentary, which had UCL presenters and used Special Collections’ early printed books.
Finally, I thought it would be useful to publish the list of work [download pdf] so that you can see the variety for yourself. If you spot anything obvious that has been missed, please let me know so that we can ensure it gets included in future.
We are now part way through the 2016/17 session. Already this is shaping up to be another good one. For example, there was the Vic Reeves Gaga for Dada BBC programme in September which used material from Special Collections’ Little Magazines Collection; the opportunities presented by the Orwell prize moving to UCL; and of course the Shakespeare exhibition in Stratford library which has just closed.