Across the nine institutes of the School of Advanced Study, researchers are undertaking public engagement activities in a variety of ways. From one-off events to long term collaborative projects, engagement is increasingly a core part of the School’s activity and focus of its research community from postgraduate students to professors.

This section of the website captures come of this activity and the learning that has been drawn from it. The case studies below provide valuable insight into the benefits and challenges of undertaking public engagement activity, and are aimed at informing and inspiring anyone thinking of undertaking similar projects. 

Stories from El Salvador

Ainhoa Montoya, from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, reflects on her amazing event which drew together members of the Latin American community. Find out how she placed her target audience at the heart of her public engagement, from choosing a community-focused venue to conducting the event in Spanish.

Weaving Women’s Stories

Dr Emma Bridges looks back on her event which was a mixture of creative workshops, performances and talks. She discusses the importance of working collaboratively with cultural partners to attract diverse audiences.  

Finding Mr Hart

Dr Cynthia Johnston reflects on her event ‘Finding Mr Hart’ and explains how colleague Christopher Adams wrote a play which creatively presented her research into the Edwardian collector J R Hart.

Engaging the public with Digital History

Dr Jane Winters talks about her project for Being Human Festival, exploring how historians and the general public can engage with the archived (rather than live) web via a prototype interface which supports access to the archive of UK web space from 1996 to 2013. 

Shakespeare, suffragists and soldiers

Dr Naomi Paxton looks back on a Being Human event featuring an interactive performance walk in Bloomsbury - a space with a strange connection between Shakespeare and ANZAC soldiers.

Communicating the Ministry of Information

The AHRC-funded project ‘A Communication History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46’ is commitment to public engagement. Since the start of the project, Dr Henry Irving has hosted a variety of Ministry-themed events and activities.

‘More than just arranging books on a shelf’

Dr Richard Espley answers our questions about his experiences engaging the public with the collections of the Senate House Library, from exhibitions and lectures to his participation in the Human Library.

Rethinking the Senses

Philosophers are working to investigate the 'whys' and 'hows' of multi-sensory perception - how do sights and sounds combine to create a unified experience? Dr Merle Fairhurst details the techniques she uses at events to further her research.

Communicating Law and Information Policy

Judith Townend, Director of the Centre for Law and Information Policy at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, speaks about the variety of public engagement events the centre held in its first few months. 

Night at the Library: Books of Hope and Fear

Dr Matthew Shaw reflects on the success of ‘Night at the Library: Books of Hope and Fear’ event, an immersive ‘escape room’ style experience in the library  for the 2016 Being Human Festival.


Willing to communicate

ESOL classes form a lifeline to anyone in the UK who needs to learn English. Academics from the School of Advanced Study took part in an innovative language project, culminating in a session where students had an opportunity to speak to academics about their research.