Kate Martin with current Provost Michael Arthur and Rob Trimble from the Bromley-by-Bow Centre

Celebrating the best in Public Engagement at UCL

There’s only one week left to nominate an individual/a team/a community partner for a UCL Provost’s Award for Public Engagement. The awards aim to celebrate the very best mutually beneficial engagement with external communities that has taken place at UCL over the last year.

At this auspicious time, we wanted to take a look back over some of our award winners of the past. We’ve had so many, this is really just a snapshot.

Hannah receiving her award from the then Provost Sir Malcolm Grant

Some of our previous winners have gone on to be well known in engagement and communication nationally, like Hannah Fry who won ‘Academic/Research grade 6/7’ in 2013. You can now see her fronting a variety of BBC programmes on maths and science, but in 2013 her work was on a slightly more local scale. Hannah had worked on a variety of engagement initiatives, but the stand out project was a film she made about the London riots.

Hannah had been analysing the mathematical patterns in the London 2011 riots and seen a connection between cuts to youth services and rioting. In making the film she heard from charities, youth workers, and young people to help inform the content. You can read more about the process here.

In the very first year of the awards, one of the winners was Caroline Bressey: Director of the Equiano Centre. She was recognised for her efforts to ensure community voices were heard in her research on the African diaspora in the UK and in resulting policy.  Caroline has done a great deal of work with ‘community scholars’ – a term she has coined to acknowledge work by researchers outside of academia with whom she collaborates on research and funding applications.  She has also co-curated exhibitions on slavery and abolition at the National Portrait Gallery and made important contributions to several other exhibitions, campaigns, and initiatives. Caroline and others in the Equiano Centre have continued to be shining examples of engaged researchers.

Caroline Bressey at the ceremony

In 2015, a new category was included in the awards to allow us to celebrate the work of partner organisations involved in public engagement. Almost all our previous winners have had strong connection to external groups, but never before had we awarded the initiative and commitment of those partners in creating and maintaining engagement with UCL.

The winner in 2015 was Kate Martin from Common Room, a ground breaking service user and young peoples’ engagement organisation which ensures the voice of disempowered groups informs research and supports appropriate dissemination. The work for which she was nominated was a collaboration between Kate and the Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Familes. Kate and Common Room were able to bring  in the voices of children and young people with experience of mental health issues and of their family members, to share their views and experiences of mental health issues and of service use, normally a difficult thing for researchers to do.

Kate Martin with current Provost Michael Arthur and Rob Trimble from the Bromley-by-Bow Centre

There are many more winners, and indeed nominees, who could be highlighted, and there is a list of all previous winners on our website. Because so many good people, teams and partners are nominated, last year we decided to highlight a few on our site. You can find them here:

If you know someone, a group, or a community partner who deserves to be recognised for their work bringing gaps between UCL and external groups or individuals? If so, get your nominations in quickly!