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      Diversifying audiences and producers of public involvement in scientific research: the AudioLab

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Plain English summary

          A partnership between a public engagement specialist, and a director of a digital radio station working towards social change, The AudioLab is a creative and innovative way to support diverse young people to connect with and get actively involved in health research. We worked with 25 creative young adults at relative socioeconomic, educational and/or health disadvantage in 2016 and 2017. Facilitated by the project leads, the emerging young talents connected with science in a series of culturally- and personally-relevant and creative sessions, culminating in their production of digital content and a one-hour live radio show, which reached at least 2324 people online. As a result of taking part in The AudioLab, the young adults felt more confident about themselves and about science; they could see a role for their creative talents in science communication, and felt able to become actively involved in health research. After the project, the ongoing partnership between the project leads and the young adults helped 12 of the participants to progress to employment, training and voluntary roles within health, research, creative and communications environments. We believe that the AudioLab presents a way of working that takes a step towards greater diversity and inclusion among both the audiences and producers of public involvement in health research. It has the potential to be reproduced as a method in other locations.

          Abstract

          Background

          The AudioLab is an innovative way to support greater inclusion in public engagement and involvement in health research. A partnership between a public engagement with research specialist, and a director of a digital radio station working towards social change, The AudioLab piloted an approach working with young people at relative socioeconomic, educational and/or health disadvantage to engage and involve them meaningfully, and sustainably, with health science and research.

          Methods

          Twenty-five young adults from diverse backgrounds took part in AudioLab pilots in 2016 and 2017. Facilitated by the project leads, they engaged with science in a series of culturally-relevant and creative sessions, culminating in their production of digital content and a one-hour live radio show, the latter reaching at least 2324 people online.

          Results

          Young adults’ agency within health research and science engagement was increased, with 12 of the participants progressing to roles within health, research, creative and communications environments.

          Conclusions

          Through partnership working between the project leads, co-production of creative outputs by the young people with scientists and science communicators, and a ‘reimagining’ of the positive assets that diverse young adults bring to engagement with health research, the AudioLab presents a way of working that takes a step towards greater diversity and inclusion among both the audiences and producers of public involvement in health research. Further, the AudioLab has the potential to be reproduced as a method in other locations.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s40900-018-0122-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Science Communication: A Contemporary Definition

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            “Science capital”: A conceptual, methodological, and empirical argument for extending bourdieusian notions of capital beyond the arts

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              Power to the people: To what extent has public involvement in applied health research achieved this?

               Gill Green (2016)
              Plain English summary Plain English summary Public involvement is required for applied health research funded in the UK. One of the largest funders, the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), makes it clear that it values the knowledge of patients and the public. As a result, there are now many resources to make sure that the public voice is included in decision-making about research. However, there is concern that the public voice still has limited impact on research decision-making. This article asks to what extent has power shifted from the scientific research community to the public? It looks at how much power and impact patients and members of the public have about research by asking: How do the public contribute to deciding which research areas and which research projects should be funded? How do they influence how the research is carried out? The article argues that there is evidence that the public voice is present in research decision-making. However, there is less evidence of a change in the power dynamic between the scientific research community and the public. The public involved in research are not always equal partners. The scientific research community still has the loudest voice and patients and the public do not always feel sufficiently empowered to challenge it. Abstract Public involvement in applied health research is a pre-requisite for funding from many funding bodies. In particular the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in the UK, clearly states that it values lay knowledge and there is an expectation that members of the public will participate as research partners in research. As a result a large public involvement infrastructure has emerged to facilitate this. However, there is concern that despite the flurry of activity in promoting public involvement, lay knowledge is marginalised and has limited impact on research decision-making. This article asks to what extent has power shifted from the scientific research community to the public? It discusses the meaning of power and models of public involvement and examines the development of public involvement in applied health research. It identifies public involvement in a range of decision-making: identifying priority areas for commissioning research; making decisions about which projects are funded; decisions about details of research design. Whilst there is evidence that the public voice is present in the composition of research proposals submitted to NIHR and in the decision-making about which projects are funded and how they are carried out, there is less evidence of a change in the power dynamic manifest in social relations between the scientific research community and the public. As a result the biomedical model remains dominant and largely unchallenged in research decision-making.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                bella.starling@mft.nhs.uk
                jemma@reformradio.co.uk
                Journal
                Res Involv Engagem
                Res Involv Engagem
                Research Involvement and Engagement
                BioMed Central (London )
                2056-7529
                12 November 2018
                12 November 2018
                2018
                : 4
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000000121662407, GRID grid.5379.8, Public Programmes, Research & Innovation, , Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, ; Manchester, M13 9WU UK
                [2 ]Reform Radio CIC, 2 Atherton St, Manchester, M3 3BE UK
                Article
                122
                10.1186/s40900-018-0122-2
                6195715
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funding
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100004440, Wellcome Trust;
                Award ID: 108911
                Award Recipient :
                Categories
                Methodology
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2018

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