Public Engagement and Research Impact

Public Engagement and Research Impact is a day-long training event on the subject of impact and public engagement. Students will meet with a range of speakers drawn from academia, key funding bodies, and non-HEIs, engage in small group activities with recent case studies, and share ideas with current PGRs and recent postdocs. By the end of the day participants will better understand the role of impact and public engagement in Humanities research, and have a clearer sense of the different kinds of public-facing work they might undertake as future academics.

We are grateful for the financial support of the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership:  

Date: Thursday March 2nd 2017



9:00-9.45 Registration (Café Rylands/Atrium)
9.45-9.50 Welcome and Introduction by Nikolai Duffy (Senior Lecturer in American Literature, Manchester Met) and Paul Wake (Reader in English, Manchester Met)
9:45-10.25 ‘Engaging the Public’ Hannah Barker (Professor of History and Director of the John Rylands Research Institute)
10.40-11.15 ‘Academics in the Media’ Louisa Egbunike (Lecturer in English, Manchester Met)
11:15-11:40 Break
11:40-1:10 Roundtable: Impact and Funding (The Christie Room) Claire Edwards (AHRC Programmes), Sam Gray (Impact and Engagement Manager, Manchester Met), Sandeep Parmar (Senior Lecturer in English, University of Liverpool)
1:10-2:00 Lunch (Café Rylands)

Impact and the community

Case Study 1: ‘Taking an audience-focused approach: working with schools’ – Lianne Stennett (Education and Learning Officer, John Rylands Library)

Case Study 2: ‘Bringing the Archive Home: The University of Manchester Library and Elizabeth Gaskell’s House’ – Fran Baker (Archivist, John Rylands Library) and Helen Rees Leahy (Professor of Museology, University of Manchester)

Case Study 3: ‘Discovering Literature’ – Anna Lobbenberg (Digital Programmes Manager, British Library) and John Bowen (Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature, University of York)

3:45-4:10 Break (Café Rylands)

Public Engagement in Public Spaces (The Christie Room.)

During this time there will be three sessions on offer:

(i) ‘“Off Beat” exhibition tour’ – Dr Douglas Field (Manchester University)

(ii) Translating research into impact and engagement – Poster presentations (PGRs and Postdocs: Graham Foster, Stephen Hornby, Martin Kratz)

(iii) ‘Collection Encounter – Countercultural materials’ – Janette Martin (Archivist - Curator & Reader Engagement Manager, John Rylands Library) and Harry Jelley (Visitor Engagement Assistant).



Fran Baker

Fran Baker is an archivist at The University of Manchester Library, where she has responsibility for literary archives, social and political history archives and born-digital archives. She has an MA in Archive Administration and an MPhil in English Literature. She was a founder member of the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts, and is currently the Group’s Treasurer. Her MPhil thesis was published in 2005, and she has also published articles on literary and born-digital archives.

Hannah Barker

Hannah Barker is Professor of British History at the University of Manchester and Director of the John Rylands Research Institute. She also Chair of Manchester Histories, a charity which works to transform lives in Greater Manchester through histories and heritage, and I am currently acting as a Historical Advisor for the National Trust at Quarry Bank Mill, where she is working on an exciting expansion project. She is also a trustee at Chetham's Library and has served on the North West committee for the Heritage Lottery Fund.

John Bowen

John Bowen is a Professor of English at the University of York, and a Fellow of the English Association.  His books include Other Dickens: Pickwick to ChuzzlewitPalgrave Advances in Charles Dickens Studies (co-edited with Robert L. Patten) and editions of Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge and Trollope’s Phineas Redux and Barchester Towers.  A former President of the Dickens Society and Co-Director of the University of California Dickens Project, he is a member of the Advisory Boards of the British Library ‘Discovering Literature’ website and of the Oxford Clarendon Dickens. 

Louisa Uchum Egbunike

Louisa Uchum Egbunike is a Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University, and one of the BBC’s New Generation of Thinkers of 2016. Her research interests centre on African literature, in which she specialises in Igbo (Nigerian) literature and cultural production. Her PhD thesis explored the depiction of the Igbo world as portrayed by Igbo writers in literary representations of the pre-colonial era to present day.  Louisa's publications engage with postcolonial nationhood with reference to gender and the personal vis-à-vis the political, orality and history, narratives of resistance, decolonisation, Africa and the Black Atlantic, African speculative fiction, literary activism and the impact of political instability on patterns of migration. Louisa co-convenes an annual Igbo conference at SOAS, which is now in its sixth year. The conference bring academics, those in creative industries and members of the Igbo community together for the purpose of knowledge sharing and exchange. She has been invited to deliver guest lectures at Wellesley College, The University of the West Indies, Newcastle University, The University of Central Florida and The University of Bremen, and has been invited as a guest speaker at the Africa Centre, the Images of Black Women Film Festival, the London Feminist Film Festival, Film Africa and Africa Writes.

Douglas Field

Douglas Field received his PhD from the University of York in English Literature, where he focussed on the writer James Baldwin. He taught at Staffordshire University between 2006 and 2012, the year that he joined the University of Manchester. He sits on the Editorial Committee of Manchester University Press and he is the co-founding editor of the James Baldwin Review, an annual peer-reviewed journal published by Manchester University Press. He is a former managing editor of Modernism/ Modernity  and a former book review editor of Callaloo. He is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement & is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 

Anna Lobbenberg

Anna Lobbenberg is the Digital Programmes Manager and Editor of Discovering Literature at the British Library.

Helen Rees Leahy

Helen Rees Leahy is Professor of Museology at the University of Manchester. Prior to coming to Manchester, she worked as a curator and museum director for over 12 years, and has organised numerous exhibitions of fine art and design. She has held a variety of senior posts in UK museums, including: Director, the Design Museum; Communications Director, Eureka! The Museum for Children; and Deputy Director, The National Art Collections Fund. Helen has published on topics relating to art museums, art exhibitions, the art market and art criticism, and is interested in supervising research in these areas. Her work has explored practices of individual and institutional collecting, past and present, in both and in relation to questions of patronage, display and interpretation.

Janette Martin

Janette is an archivist and historian whose interests include Victorian radical politics and oral and public history. Previous archive posts include the Labour History Archive and Study Centre at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the Paradigm Project on digital personal papers of politicians at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford, Bankfield Museum in Halifax and the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Janette currently cares for theatre, music and performing art, art and architecture and hybrid artistic/literary collections at the University of Manchester. She is particularly interested in embedding special collections in university teaching and learning.

Janette is the web editor for the Society for the Study of Labour History and sits on the advisory board of the Co-operative Heritage Trust. She has published articles on nineteenth and twentieth history and digital and labour movement archives.

Dr Lianne Stennett

Dr Lianne Stennett has held the post of Education and Learning Officer at The John Rylands Library for the past four years.  She works with students aged 7 years to adult, including university students, devising and delivering workshops on a variety of subjects. Lianne completed her PhD at the University of Manchester in 2011 having researched bone growth and disease in children.  She has lectured to MSc students on forensic anthropology and has worked as a Research Associate using medical imaging to study bone lesions. Lianne has also delivered many outreach and public events as part of her current and previous roles.

Claire Edwards

Claire Edwards has worked at the AHRC for four years, responsible for evidence collection and analysis, and communicating the Council’s impact. This work supports the arts and humanities research community with their own impact work and ensures the AHRC’s evidence base holds the information required to make the case for investment into arts and humanities research to policy makers and other stakeholders. Before this she worked in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol, supporting staff in collecting evidence for their REF impact case studies.