Training- Dialogue in Public Engagement at Roslin Institute

Edinburgh Beltane Training Course for Researchers and Staff at the Roslin Institute

Dialogue in Public Engagement

1 day course


Friday 23 March 2012, 10:30 to 17:15

The idea behind this Dialogue course is simply that researchers doing public engagement (PE) sometimes end up ‘talking at’ people rather than engaging in a genuinely two-way conversation. With the best will in the world, the skills and insights needed to ‘think where others are coming from’, to make it safe for people to speak openly, to hear what others have to say, and to plan processes that really can enhance mutual understanding, are sometimes underdeveloped. Dialogue has proved a powerful approach to communication in public engagement, knowledge exchange and others areas. This course gives relevant practical guidance.

This one day programme is intended to develop insights and skills concerning the use of dialogic approaches in public engagement.  This course will address the following topics:

  • What is Dialogue?
  • How might dialogue enhance your PE efforts? What are the obstacles to achieving dialogue?
  • Facilitation skills: inclusion,  impartiality and handling disruptive behaviour
  • Lay-expert divides and ‘multiple realities’ over controversial topics
  • Choosing techniques and designing a dialogic PE process
  • Evaluating dialogue

When and where?

Friday 23 March, 2012

10:30 to 17:15

Venue: room B-006 at the Roslin Institute

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.


Who should attend?

The course is open to all research staff and students and public engagement staff  at the Roslin Institute. It is recommended if you are involved in, or plan to be involved in any form of public engagement activities.

Cost:  Free

But please note there will be a charge of £25 if you are unable to attend and do not notify us 48 hours in advance.


The course has been developed and will be delivered by Wendy Faulkner, in collaboration with Heather Rea and Oliver Escobar, and is being supported by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

Wendy recently retired from the University of Edinburgh where she was latterly involved in a three year project doing and researching public engagement around stem cell research. She has also herself undergone three training courses on dialogic approaches provided by:  Dialogue Matters,  Queen Margaret University  and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

Heather is the deputy director of the Edinburgh Beltane Beacon for Public Engagement.  Formerly a researcher in Knowledge Management in Manufacturing Engineering, Heather has been involved in public engagement with research activities since 2005. She has attended two courses on dialogic approaches: IAP2’s Planning for Public Participation course and a Dialogue course at Queen Margaret University.

Oliver Escobar is doing a PhD on citizen participation and policy making at the University of Edinburgh, where he works for the Public Policy Network. He is a Public Engagement Fellow of Edinburgh Beltane, and a former researcher at the Centre for Dialogue (Queen Margaret University). More info:

National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement were established as part of the Beacaons for Public Engagement intitiative. They support universities to engage with the public and work with all the beacons to promote best practice in public engagement and provide a single point of contact for the whole higher education sector. They also work strategically with our key national partners to help develop work across the sector.

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