Ignite Your Mind! My experience of organising a public engagement event

Posted in: Events

This blog post is posted on behalf of Elizabeth Kaplunov (a postgraduate researcher in the Department for Health) who is part of the organising team for this year's Ignite Your Mind event.


Ignite Your Mind is running on Monday 21 November 2016, 7 - 9.30pm, in the Ring O' Bells pub, Widcombe. Tickets are free and available here.


Last year I presented my research in the pub for 5 mins at Ignite Your Mind , a public engagement event organised by postgraduate researchers for postgraduate researchers. I enjoyed the event so much that I volunteered to be on the organising committee for this year.


I’ve been heavily involved in speaker recruitment and somewhat in marketing. Our work on this year’s event is coming to an end and I have much enjoyed working with Ed Stevens (Public Engagement Officer), being supported by the past organisers and also getting to know different teams at university such as the Marketing and Audiovisual teams. It’s been a large learning experience – about teamwork, social media presence, flyering, organisation skills and so on.


The event is upcoming so I feel there is still much more to learn! I’m very grateful and impressed by the rest of the organising team, all postgraduate researchers – Anna (face of Ignite, general organiser), Holly and Gaby (marketing), Gareth (speaker recruitment). There’s more of us than last year which makes it easier in terms of workload but harder in terms of coordination. We’re all from the same department (Health) whereas the team last year was from different ones, which made it easier for them to recruit speakers from all the departments in the Faculty. We had to be more creative and proactive in terms of speaker recruitment such as going to PGR events (PGR breakfast), including MA and MSc students, asking our friends and contacts and directors of studies to spread the word, doing shout outs before department seminars etc.


Last year’s organisers have been on hand to give us advice and talk about their experience of organising Ignite, as well as providing us with a detailed plan for conducting the event. This year however, we split the speaker support differently – I took 3, Holly took 4 and Gareth took 3. This has made it easier on us in terms of workload and intensity. Despite doing Ignite last year, I’m not as comfortable with my presentation style as Holly and Gareth so I’m happy that I don’t have to look after anymore speakers! However, all the Ignite Your Mind organisers and speakers will soon receive presentation training from Ed Drewitt, a public engagement expert. This has been funded by the Public Engagement Unit and it’s great to have this additional support. As an organiser, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the 3 speakers that I’m supporting do at the event!


A reminder that Ignite Your Mind is running in the Ring O’ Bells pub in Widcombe on Monday 21 November, 7 – 9.30pm. Get your free tickets here!

Posted in: Events


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