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Education and Public Engagement: Overview

Research should not be done in isolation from society. It is important to involve and engage with the public about research, both to inform and educate them, but also to learn from the public and ensure that research is relevant to them. Participative research can go a step further involving the public directly in doing research, including setting the agenda.

When someone makes a mistake it seems natural that they are to blame. The idea that the design of a device could have led them to make a mistake rarely crosses people’s minds. Yet that is vital if we are to move from a blame culture to one that looks to improve the way things are done so that mistakes are not repeated.

CHI+MED aims in the long term to be transformational in the sense not only of solving a problem but in first making that problem visible, so we also need to involve people beyond those immediately affected by the problem.

In addition to doing research and engaging with healthcare professionals, manufacturers and regulators who are directly involved in medical devices we have also worked to make this concept more visible to the general public including school students. If we can change their perceptions in the long term a transformational change in culture may be more likely. We have used a variety of ways to talk about these issues in fun, inspiring and memorable ways.

Supporting teachers
Our public engagement programme based on magic tricks has been highly popular, engaging school students and their teachers about important themes and issues drawn from CHI+MED research. We have created a book, shows, science festival activities, school activity sheets and workshops for teachers, all based on magic as a way to introduce CHI+MED themes and, through our websites and invited keynote talks at international conferences, this approach has been taken up internationally. Read more...

Engaging through magic: the magic of machines making medicine safer
Our public engagement programme based on magic tricks has been highly popular, engaging school students and their teachers about important themes and issues drawn from CHI+MED research. We have created a book, shows, science festival activities, school activity sheets and workshops for teachers, all based on magic as a way to introduce CHI+MED themes and, through our websites and invited keynote talks at international conferences, this approach has been taken up internationally. Read more...

Errordiary: a citizen science project for research, teaching and public engagement
The Errordiary website provokes people to think about human error. By juxtaposing funny, frustrating and fatal examples of error from the media and the public's own experiences it raises awareness about issues related to human error, resilience and blame culture with healthcare professionals, people with health conditions (in particular diabetes) and the public. The project is being used in at least three different universities to teach human error in psychology, computer science and human factors, as well as to train researchers and practitioners to identify resilience strategies. It has also provided the basis for building a vocabulary of different kinds of resilience strategy. Read more...

Persuasive games: developing awareness and understanding of human error and blame culture
Well-designed ‘persuasive’ games can be powerful awareness raising tools. We organised a game design competition challenging university students to create a persuasive game that raised awareness about human error in healthcare. We also developed a way to evaluate the games based on the reflection that they led to. All the games are freely available from the Errordiary Discovery Zone (www.errordiary.org/) so that anyone can play them. Read more...

Inspiring young people: promoting human factors to new audiences
We have raised the awareness of both young people and their teachers across the UK about the importance of human factors in design, and particularly medical device design. We use familiar, everyday concepts and devices, like microwaves, to provide context for talking about medical device design. We have provided free resources to schools to help teachers introduce human factors issues into their teaching and given continuing professional development workshops for teachers across the UK. We have delivered talks with human factors and medical device design themes to young people in schools and at science festivals. Read more...

Training: supporting hospital training staff (Impact)
We have provided training and training resources internationally to hospitals to help clinicians understand the issues with problematic designs of current medical devices. We have provided consultancy services to manufacturers and they have invited us to present our work to them and deliver tutorials to their staff. We have provided free inspiring booklets to thousands of schools across the UK, as well as developing new classroom activities, and have given workshops on the activities to hundreds of teachers in the UK and Denmark. Our resources such as videos and the ErrorDiary website, which focuses on everyday errors, have been used widely to support teaching about human error and the role of design in avoiding it. We have led an international team developing resources for junior researchers learning to do studies of how devices are used "in the wild". This has included writing two books, co-authored by over 20 researchers from Europe and North America. Read more...


Other areas to come

  • Comedy: gigs and YouTube videos
  • Films

Key People
Paul Curzon, Sarah Wiseman, Jo Iacovides, Dom Furniss, Sandy Gould, Anna Cox