On October 31st, we played host to this year’s AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellowship meeting at the New Technology Institute. The objective of the meeting was to gather together some of the people who have been funded under this scheme, to provide opportunities to network, to share knowledge and practice, and to listen to enthusiastic and engaged people talk about interesting projects.
In attendance, we had representatives from nine of the projects currently being funded, along with some folks from the AHRC’s knowledge transfer and evaluation sections. The projects represented were a diverse selection, from a mix of disciplines. Everyone got the opportunity to talk briefly about their project before we picked up some of the main issues and discussed those more fully. There was some lunch in the middle somewhere, and we gave the AHRC representatives a brief grilling at the end.
All in all, it was a day well spent, and I think everyone got quite a lot out of it; I know that we did. What made it particularly worthwhile was simply that everything we did seemed to have some useful outcomes. Knowledge and practice were duly shared, and we learnt a lot about evaluation, collaboration and time management. In equal measure, we learnt fascinating information about things we’d never considered – did you know that the Metropolitan Police Force has no museum, for example, or that interest in choral singing among adolescent males is so low that there may be a crisis shortage of male voices within a generation?
In terms of networking, we made some very good contacts. Discussion with the team at the University of Birmingham, led by Ian Grosvenor, has resulted in Ian inviting us to be a partner in a bid to the Leverhulme Trust. We were also able to talk quite extensively with the AHRC representatives – it’s very valuable to be able to attach an actual person to a name you only usually see at the top of an email.
But of the greatest interest, it seemed to me, was the opportunity to hear the people at the heart of these projects talking about them. Without exception, people were engaged and excited by the contribution that their work could make to society, and it was fascinating to hear about the very different ways that people had approached the concept of knowledge transfer in the arts and humanities.