Of Process and Platforms. Building a «Public Engagement Toolbox»

So much of what we think of as «public engagement» boils down to getting people into a room: a theatre, a recording studio, a workshop, a museum. When, in early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly transformed how (and where) we worked, taught, and socialised, many of the established modes of academic public engagement had to be rethought. As the public engagement officer of the Council of the Society for Renaissance Studies, an interdisciplinary organisation for early modernists working largely in the UK and Ireland, my brief was to think about what the Society’s public engagement work might look like at a time when our members, like the wider public, were largely confined to their homes.
Forced to scrap our plans for roadshows, training workshops, and public events, the idea that took shape in spring 2021 became what we called the «Public Engagement Toolbox» (PET): a growing set of free-to-view online resources which showcase best practice in public engagement across Renaissance and early modern studies. Largely composed of informal interviews over Zoom, the aim of our PET was not so much to advertise projects and engagement activities by leaders in our fields, but rather to explore the how of successful public engagement. What kind of knowledge, networks, and practices underpin effective engagement work?

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Erschienen in: traverse 2022/1, S. 100