Organising a public engagement event
This toolkit is for University staff and students who are looking to organise a single or small scale public engagement event
The page covers:
- Questions to consider before organising an event
- Practical issues to consider
- How to produce an event plan
Before organising an event
Before you start planning your public engagement event, there are a few factors to consider:
- Why do you want to hold a public engagement event? What’s the objective and what are you hoping to achieve?
- Think about a hook to get the audience interested in your research and your event. Why will they want to come?
- Do you have a target audience? Make the communications about your event enticing and show the audience what is on offer.
- What is the most effective way of getting your message across? For example, a lecture or an exhibition?
- What do you want to get out of it?
- How will you engage with the audience? Try to involve the public in your event rather than simply disseminating your research.
- Tell your story in a way that is likely to appeal to a wide audience.
- You may have to hold your event off campus to broaden its appeal.
- Who do you need to invite and how many?
- Where will you hold your event and when? Does the venue capacity meet the numbers invited?
- How are you going to invite them? What method of communication works best for your audience? Letter, telephone, email?
- How will you measure the events success?
- What is the budget?
- Who is project managing the event?
- What are the tasks (pre-event, on the day and post event) and who is going to do them and by when? Set up the task list before you start – is it achievable?
Practical issues to consider
- Will the event need staffing? You may want to appoint staff or volunteers to usher, manage audience numbers or deal with queries
- Produce a contingency plan for issues such as bad weather or last minute cancellations
- Consider health and safety and whether you need to conduct risk assessments (see our toolkit for risk assessments here)
- You will need to seek permissions (and possibly pay a fee) to use non-university and public spaces.
Producing an event plan
When you have decided on the kind of event you want to hold, you will need to produce a comprehensive plan covering the period before, during and after the event.
Download our event planner template to get started.