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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research
Engaging with proteins
Engaging with proteins

Engaging with Proteins

The aim of the project was to engage a wide range of public in creation of a large communal piece of artwork, made up of small individual panels, explaining how proteins play many roles in human bodies, and how they are targeted by drugs and associated with disease. This project involved a number of small workshops where groups composed of scientists and members of the public discussed proteins, and created and decorated artwork panels. The artwork was further used at a workshop teaching home schooled children about science and specifically about proteins.The completed canvas will be showcased at the Engaging with Proteins exhibition in December at Harbour Lights Picture House.

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life at the cutting edge

Life at the Cutting Edge

The ‘Life at the Cutting Edge’ project was designed to integrate and engage with the public directly, to answer a central question within human origins research: how can archaeologists recognise skill and expertise within early prehistory, and specifically with the use-wear on artefacts that past societies used? Through an experiment integrating use-wear and motion capture analyses, three questions were proposed: Can differing levels of dexterity be identified during scraping activities? To what extent can knowledge transmission be identified from the tools utilised by participants? To what extent do wear patterns on porcelain replica tools correspond to experiments using flint? Each of these questions, assessed in controlled laboratory settings and protocol, benefit from wider public participation, and greater interdisciplinary investigation. Throughout the duration of the award, the team actively pursued engagement with the wider community wherever possible.

 

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Voyage Out

The Voyage Out: Life on board East India Company ships

The project aimed to use primary source material from the British Library to illustrate the experiences of passengers on board East India Company ships. We have built up a deeper relationship with the British Library and also identified important primary sources for future research use. Four blogs were written regarding the project for the British Library’s own Untold Lives blog. The key activity was a public engagement event at the British Library that brought together actors and subject specialists in front of an audience. 

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What's got up your nose

What's got up your nose

The aim of this project was to carry out an interactive, exhibited research study about S. pneumoniae carriage with the general public. Through a stand at the Southampton Science & Engineering Festival (SSEF) on the 18th March 2017 we actively engaged with members of the public, educating them on S. pneumoniae, pneumonia and the importance of vaccination as well as explaining the process of clinical studies and the role of our research in understanding these topics. We also provided practical opportunities, allowing members of the public to understand the methods behind detecting bacteria in clinical samples, as well as make snot and “design your own S. pneumoniae.

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Breastfeeding Dilemma

Breastfeeding Dilemma

The aim of the project was to bring together academics, policy makers, medical professionals, parental support organisations, members of the media, mothers and members of the public to address the Breastfeeding Dilemma: how do we encourage breastfeeding and support women in doing so, without subjecting those who choose not to breastfeed, or are unable to do so, to shame and guilt with potentially devastating consequences? We explored philosophical mistakes in the way we talk and think about infant feeding choices and the impact pressure to breastfeed can have on maternal health and the experience of new motherhood. Another goal of the project was to build relationships with the NCT and other relevant organisations eventually leading to a public engagement partnership.

 

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Shared Vision

Shared Vision

The Shared Vision project brought together the University’s Centre for Environmental Sciences (CES), SO18 Big Local, Training for Work in Communities (TWICS) and Southampton City Council (SCC) to research local community use of three underused open spaces (Frogs Copse, Cutbush Hidden Pond and Harefield Woods) and to increase local appreciation and ownership of these spaces.

A goal of the project was to provide the evidence base for future work by SO18 Big Local by gaining better insight into local residents’ views on the green spaces. Local residents participated in surveys and focus groups. Traditionally the University has had limited interaction with the residents in SO18; this project gave them the opportunity to not only interact with student and staff researchers, but to be directly involved in research that will have a tangible outcome for their local area.

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