3 thoughts on “Public engagement

  1. “Engaging with the public” has the same quality, as a statement, as “climbing a mountain” (or any other overblown metaphor). Its a broad concept the enactment of which requires several small steps.

    Should it be limited to ivory tower saints teaching to the unwashed masses? Not really.

    Could SPRU people use their expertise and knowledge to assist with certain problems, in such a way that those receiving the solution actually have a benefit from that? Why not. Sure you could argue that SPRU should engage in business transactions instead; but then that’s outside of “public engagement” and entering “consultancy”-territory.

    It is not leading to anything if you define “the public” as docile and timid. It is also not very helpful to state the exact opposite, except for presentational purposes. By this, you create black-white narrative (or black and “the rest”, for that matter) and marginalise first ideas.

    If you want to move away from that, it might be worth coining an unloaded term to start with.

  2. Thanks for the comment Marcel. Maybe the point of polarizing in such a manner is not to present an accurate abstraction of society, but illicit a response. To knock a conversation slightly off it’s very linear track.

  3. Illicit a response you certainly did; I believe, however, that you need to walk a fine line when provoking a response. Too much, and people will react to your provocation alone and categorise you as a hater. Not enough.. well, then it’s not really a provocation. It would be good to find a middle ground in which the provocation stimulates thought, rather than defense. And I think Alice might well be the right person for that.

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