Children’s project shortlisted for national public engagement award

Researchers at Swansea and Bangor Universities have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for the public engagement work of their project Little Voices Shouting Out.

 Little Voices North Wales 2016 conference1The project has been shortlisted for the ‘Engaging with Young People’ award, in the national Engage Competition run by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), which celebrates university researchers who engage with the public in innovative and effective ways.

Little Voices Shouting Out is a Big Lottery funded project run by the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, based at Swansea and Bangor Universities.

 

The project works with children aged 7-11 in Wales, supporting the children to select research questions and methods, analyse results and make recommendations based on their research.

Little Voices North Wales 2016 conference2

The project submitted the first ever child-led report from children under 11 to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2015, and the impact of their work can be seen in the Committee’s 2016 recommendations to the UK and Welsh Governments, including public health issues such as smoking around children’s play spaces and on education and training about children’s rights.  In addition to this international impact, Little Voices’ local research projects have resulted in positive change from small adjustments within schools, from play and the physical environment to potentially far-reaching changes in policy and practice.

Being shortlisted for the NCCPE award is a remarkable achievement – finalists have been selected from over 180 entries which demonstrate a broad range of high quality activities to inspire and involve public audiences.

Professor Elwen Evans QC, Head of the College of Law and Criminology, Swansea University, said:

“We are extremely proud to be part of the only Welsh project shortlisted for this prestigious award. Little Voices Shouting Out is an important initiative providing a platform for engagement of younger children, developing key research and communication skills and enabling decision makers at all levels, from the local to international, to benefit from insights gained from the children’s research. It is a part of our ongoing work on the rights of children and young people, an area to which we are fully committed and determined to make a difference.”

Professor Dermott Cahill, Dean of the Law School, Bangor University, said:

“ The combination of Bangor and Swansea Universities in conducting child rights research continues to go from strength to strength; the embedding of Arwyn, a member of Swansea's team in the Law School, in Bangor has yielded excellent results in terms of extending research reach to peripheral rural locations across North Wales thereby enabling the voices of children in these communities to make their way into the national research process.

Little Voices North Wales 2016 conference3

“ Furthermore, Arwyn's work has fostered stronger academic-to-academic collaboration between the two University project research teams, led by Jane Williams and Simon Hoffman in Swansea and Yvonne McDermott Rees and Anne-Marie Smith in Bango, thus proving that Universities can find effective ways to drive superb research through effective sharing of human intellectual resource and material assets.

"I look forward to hearing more great things about this project, which has already been taken note of by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in its most recent Concluding Observations on the performance of the UK as State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Paul Manners, Director of the NCCPE said: “The Engage Competition is a highlight of our work at the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. It uncovers amazing people, projects, partners and research. This year did not disappoint. The quality of the applications has been higher than ever, showcasing the very best of engagement practice across all disciplines and participant groups - reaching from the very local to the global.”

There are six competition categories, and the winner of each category will receive a prize of £1,500 to go towards further public engagement work. The winners will be decided on the 28th November, before being announced at an awards ceremony as part of Engage 2016, the NCCPE’s annual conference, on 29th November 2016.

About the NCCPE

The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement is internationally recognised for its work to support universities to engage meaningfully with the public.  The NCCPE is supported by the UK Higher Education Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, and has been hosted by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England since it was established in 2008.

Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of higher education and research can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.

For more information about the NCCPE go to www.publicengagement.ac.uk

About the Competition

The NCCPE first launched the Engage Competition in 2014 to provide a UK-wide opportunity to recognise and celebrate some of the effective public engagement with research activity that universities are involved in. The competition is biannual and running for the second time this year - receiving over 180 entries. There are six categories, each with three finalists. The categories are: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences; Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM); Health & Wellbeing; Engaging With Young People; Working In Partnership; and Individual-led Projects. 

  • The NCCPE Engage Competition 2016 was launched in May 2016. The awards were judged by a panel of national experts in public engagement.  You can see the judges here https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/work-with-us/engage-competition-2016/competition-judges.

  • The competition is run by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement who seek to support universities to engage with the public. The NCCPE is funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.

  • The winners will be announced at an event on the 29th November 2016, as part of the NCCPE Engage Conference in Bristol. The winner of each category will receive a prize of £1,500 to go towards further public engagement work.

  • National media enquiries contact: Paul Manners (paul.manners@uwe.ac.uk) or Sophie Duncan on (sophie.duncan@uwe.ac.uk) or call 0117 328 7190.

Pictures are from the Little Voices North Wales 2016 Conference.  Taken by Kristina Banholzer.