knowledge exchangeKnowledge exchange and public dialogue

We have a long track record of involvement in processes of exchange and dialogue which make use of techniques that move beyond lectures and debates so that distinct perspectives are shared, developed and used to produce new possibilities for thinking about policy and practice.


Examples of recent activity:

  • We have worked closely with disabled children and young people to explore their perspectives on disability and sport
  • For over 10 years we have been closely involved in the Café Scientifique programme in the north east
  • We work with the Centre for Life’s education programme participating in debates and workshops with schoolchildren on ethical issues such as disability and genetic screening, withdrawal of treatment from very ill infants, and others. For example, Ken Taylor took part in a 'meet the expert' session of a schools event organised by the Centre for Life in Newcastle in June 2010. He stimulated debates and answered questions about the uses of eggs and embryos in research with about 120 pupils aged 11-14.
  • Jackie Leach Scully is a Tutor at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, where she gives stand-alone weekend workshops and contributes to the Centre’s ongoing programme on science and society
  • Connected to the Treat-NMD project, in 2011 Pauline McCormack and Simon Woods launched an online tutorial on research ethics specifically focused on research involving children. The tutorial is interactive, web-based and freely available and those using it are able to study at their own pace. The tutorial begins with a discussion of the ethical principles around involving children in research, then considers these issues with reference to rare genetic disease.The tutorial can be found at: 'The Ethics of Children in Clinical Trials'.
  • We continue to explore ‘Sci Art’ as a technique in which creative approaches can produce new understandings and expressions of the social and ethical issues of the life sciences. For example, Lisa Matthews, a local poet, has worked with us as a PEALS associate and writer in residence on a number of projects, using storytelling and poetry to ask distinctive questions about the life sciences. The most recent is Stemistry which uses poetry to enable local people to explore the issues that stem cell research raised for them; their words and perspectives have been disseminated via a dedicated website.
  • Research Associate Ilke Turkmendag took part in a public engagement project Stem Cell Weekend with the North East Stem Cell Institute at the large shopping mall, the Metro Centre, in Newcastle. Passers-by had an opportunity to read posters, ask the scientists questions, and look through a microscope at cells, and children could model cells out of plasticine or play with real lab equipment.

Examples of past activity