by Jennifer Hilder (PhD Intern)
In universities around the country, people are talking about Knowledge Exchange (KE) and here at Glasgow University’s College of Arts we want to be part of that conversation. In this blog I’m going to explain why KE is so important to the college and what the college is doing about it by taking a look at the college’s very own KE Strategy.
(I have to warn you, though, that to do this I am going to have to cut through a lot of jargon. Yep, I’ve already seen a ‘paradigm shift’ in there – but hopefully we’re going to shift that paradigm into plain English.)
For the college, KE has many advantages: by working with other institutions in the public and private sector, the college gains access to new funding opportunities, a wider range of expertise, and different avenues of communication. As an exchange, KE also has benefits for the institutions and organisations we work with, as well as having broader economic and cultural benefits for Scotland.
The college has decided to focus on four areas to make sure that those benefits get bigger and better for everyone. These four areas are: Partnership Development; Effective Communication; Positioning and Benchmarking;and, Outreach and Public Engagement.
Now, I have tried to make that into a memorable acronym but it doesn’t work, unless P-Dec & P-Bope are the next big music craze. So let’s go into a bit more detail.
For KE to work, the college needs someone to exchange knowledge with, and that’s what Partnership Development is all about. Fortunately, the college already has a growing network of contacts, particularly in the creative industries (theatre, film, music) in Glasgow, and the aim is to make this network stronger through research projects, PHD placements, and joint applications for major funding projects.
To make sure academics within the college know why they should be interested in KE, and how they can do it, Effective Communication is really important. Support, funding opportunities, and resources are all available to help academics, but they need to know about them first. Similarly, before the college embarks on big new projects like forming research centres, discussions need to be had about how KE is going to play a part in that project. Talking and sharing experiences is the key.
The College of Arts is one of four colleges in the university, so Positioning and Benchmarking aims to raise the profile of the KE work that the College of Arts is doing all by itself. To do this, KE activities will be recorded more effectively, and the college will contribute brainpower to developing KE through the renamed Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee (RKEC). At a country- and university-wide level, lots of attention and money has focused on KE in STEM subjects, not the Arts. The college wants to have greater influence in the future.
Finally, Outreach and Public Engagement is what this blog is all about – making the work done by the college more accessible to the non-academic community. There has already been Industry Day, promoting the value of the College of Arts to businesses and the economy, two Reach newsletters and now the blog, too…
…which means there’s more like this to come.