CREMS researchers are actively participating in a range of knowledge exchange and public engagement activities hosted by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

The Museum-University Partnership Initiative (MUPI, 2017-2018) brought together museums and universities from across the UK to inspire new forms of collaboration and partnership. Funded by the Arts Council England, MUPI built on the success of the School-University Partnerships Initiative (SUPI, 2013-2017), which saw academics and teachers working together to bring research into the classroom.

Cathryn Enis successfully applied to attend a MUPI regional “match event” (speed-dating for museums and universities) at Birmingham’s Thinktank in April 2017. Cathryn’s networking resulted in the award of a small grant that enabled her to hold further talks with Herefordshire Museum Services (with Tara Hamling) and Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield (with Malcolm Dick). These meetings enabled both the academics and museum professionals to get to know each other and create new links that could develop into ongoing partnerships and lead to impactful research. Cathryn subsequently attended the NCCPE’s national symposium in February 2018 and shared the story of Birmingham’s MUPI project as part of a broader discussion about MUPI’s achievements.

As a result of MUPI, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust invited Cathryn and Tara, together with PGRs Sophie Cope and Alex Hewitt, to join “Shakespeare Connected”. This collaborative project brought together colleagues from several universities, including those in the M3C partnership, to create a series of online exhibitions drawing upon the Trust’s outstanding collections.

Last month, Cathryn and Victoria Anker took part in MUPI’s Training Pilot and tried out the “Tools for Talking” resource pack developed by MUPI. This toolkit is a brilliant way of assessing opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships and facilitating ongoing collaborations. A similar toolkit, “Perspectives on Partnership”, produced by SUPI offers guidance in developing effective partnerships with schools. Both toolkits will be made available in CAL as soon as they are complete.

Victoria has won a place on the NCCPE Engage Researchers’ Academy, 2018-2019. This is a year-long professional development programme for early to mid-career researchers with experience in, and a passion for, public engagement. The programme will challenge participants to explore the quality and value of their public engagement activities, as well as helping them to develop practical skills and tools in a peer-supported environment. Victoria will be sharing what she learns in the BRIHC newsletter.

Following on the success of both MUPI and SUPI, NCCPE have just launched the Community-University Partnership Initiative (CUPI). Applications for the Birmingham “match event” (on Tuesday 3rd July) are now open so if you’re looking for a community partner and the opportunity to apply for funds to get started, we’d strongly recommend taking part.