The Open Academic: Innovative Ways of Engaging in the Public Sphere

The Open Academic: Innovative Ways of Engaging in the Public Sphere

Through a series of workshops and discussions we aim to give the CEU community the skills and tools needed to engage in debates in the public sphere in innovative, unconventional or ‘non-academic’ ways. Taken together, the events will foster a university-wide conversation about the role of academics and academic knowledge in public debates. Each session is devoted to a different mode of dissemination including comics, podcasts, popular writing, op-eds, social media, visualisation of data, policy briefs and audio documentaries.

Speakers & Dates

Academic Journalism: Writing Research for Readers

October 26, 4pm in Nador 15, Room 106

How can I write about my research for non-academic audiences? How can I make my academic writing clearer and easier to understand? How can I pitch ideas to print and broadcast media outlets?

Peter Geoghegan graduated with a PhD from Edinburgh University in 2008. Now he is a successful writer, journalist, broadcaster and lecturer. His latest book, The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again, was published in January 2015 by Luath Press, and was nominated for the Saltire Society First Book Prize. He is a co-founder and director of The Ferret, an investigative platform launched in 2015, which was nominated for a British Journalism Prize for its work.

In this seminar, he will show academics how to write for different audiences, how to develop their narrative style and voice and how to pitch ideas to media outlets. The seminar will be run in two parts. In the first, Peter will introduce key concepts and approaches for writing with clarity. In the second, attendees will be asked to write up pitches based on their research work and academic interests.

Clarity and Traction: Communicating Academic Research Clearly for Traditional and Social Media

November 8, 3.30 pm in Nador 15, Room 106

Colleen Sharkey (international media relations manager) and Aranka Szabo (digital content manager) of the CEU Communications Office will share best practices for communicating research in lay language, engaging your audience and making an impact through traditional and social media.

Using Comics to Communicate Your Research

December 5, 4pm in Nador 13, Room 516/A

How can you turn your research into a comic? In this workshop you will learn how to break down your idea into a format that works as a comic story, turning your thoughts into scenes and moments and thinking through how they might appear on a page. Participants will then work on scripting for comics, developing the skills needed to work with an extreme economy of words and space. Finally, we’ll discuss how to go about making your comic dream a reality. A multiple-time New York Times Best-seller List and Eagle Award winning Writer, Tony Lee has worked professionally for over thirty years, including a decade in trade journalism and media marketing/creation for radio. Since returning to comics in 2003 he has written for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Titan Publishing, Markosia, 2000ad and IDW Publishing amongst others, writing a variety of creator owned titles and licenses that include X-Men, Spider Man, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Superboy, Starship Troopers, Wallace & Gromit and Shrek.

Other planned workshops in the series coming in 2018

  • Entering The Conversation: Op-eds & the Digital Public Sphere (Annabel Bligh, The Conversation)
  • Using Stand-Up Comedy to Communicate Research (Steve Cross, Brighthouse)
  • Teaching with Podcasts (Kim Fox, University of Cairo)
  • Academia, Think Tanks, Governments and Media Presence (Rosemary Hollis, City University, London)
  • The State of Academic Podcasting (Dumitrita Holdis & Ian M. Cook, CEU)
  • Visualising Research (Jessie Labov, CEU & Krisztina Szűcs, data visualization designer)
  • How to be Less Boring: Academic Writing versus Literary Non-fiction (Jaap Scholten, author & CEU alumni)

The project is coordinated by the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) with partners across the university including the Department of International Relations, the Communications Office, the Visual Studies Platform, Digital Humanities and the Centre for Academic Writing (CAW). If you are interested in the workshop series, please get in touch with Ian Cook at