Developing Research Students’ and ECRs’ skills for the transition from academia to public, profession and business
The ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ Project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will be providing a number of training and development workshops and opportunities which will enable postgraduate research students and early career researchers from across the Humanities to identify, understand and ‘translate’ the benefits of their research into ‘real-life’ contexts within the heritage and cultural sectors. Those participating in the project will work closely with cultural partners. There are three strands within the programme: (1) Research to Public, (2) Research to Profession and (3) Research to Business. The project is designed to span various disciplines within the arts, social sciences and humanities and is led by the Institute for Cultural Practices at The University of Manchester and the School of Art & Design at The University of Salford, in collaboration with artsmethods@manchester.
We are looking for expressions of interest from PGRs and Early-Career Researchers (ECRs) from UK Universities to take part in one or more skills training strands of the project. This is an ideal opportunity to: understand the public impact of your research and how to turn your research into a public output; gain professional experience in the arts, cultural and heritage sector by participating in a placement scheme; and explore how to turn your research into a business or social enterprise and to be mentored and guided by experts in that area. All training workshops and training will take place between December 2012 and July 2013. Travel (and where necessary accommodation) expenses will be reimbursed.
Details of the training programme are as follows:
1. The Research to Public Strand (open to Heritage PGRs and Early-Career Researchers across the UK)
Workshop One: ‘Understanding the public impact of your research’
PGRs/ECRs will explore ways of defining the wider impact of their research and gain a good understanding of how it can be communicated to non-experts through cultural organisations. This will provide the basis for a follow-up workshop, where researchers/ECRs will collaborate with cultural organisations on joint projects (see below).
- Workshop Two: ‘Turning your research into a public output’
In this hands-on workshop, PGRs/ECRs and heritage professionals will jointly explore possibilities of co-producing learning programmes, events, performances or digital applications. Those outputs will be based on the PhD student’s/ECR’s research and will be hosted by a cultural institution. The workshops will include a competition element, whereby 6 to 10 proposals will be (partially or fully) funded by the ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ training programme.
- Development of a public engagement activity/event/performance/digital application
6-10 proposals will be (partially/fully) funded towards development and materialisation (ca£400 per project). Successful applicants will be mentored throughout the process.
2. The Research to Profession Strand (open only to Heritage PGRs and Early-Career Researchers based at Universities in the North West of England)
The project partners will draw on their extensive experience and network of placement organisations to arrange 15 placements for research students/ECRs in the North West. Placements (ca 20 days work in a block or over time) will enable researchers to understand the priorities and practices of organisations and might include e.g. shadowing professionals, participating in institutional projects/activities and/or ‘Researcher in Residence’ involvement. A fixed fee towards travel (or other) expenses will be paid to placement students. Researchers will be supervised by a dedicated person in the placement institution. The two partner Universities have established procedures of managing such collaborations with placement institutions.
3. The Research to Business Strand (open only to Heritage PGRs and Early-Career Researchers based at Universities in the North West of England)
- Two-day workshop: ‘Turning your research into a business or social enterprise’
Day one: PGRs/ECRs will get advice and guidance on heritage careers and business/social enterprise by academic staff and experienced professionals.
Day two: PGRs/ECRs will build upon the Day One’s workshop to develop ‘dragons’ den’ pitches (to a panel of experienced sector professionals) to turn their own research into a business/consultancy/freelancing/SME idea.
- ‘Industrial Mentors’ Programme
Project partners will use their networks to recruit 5 industrial mentors (experienced freelancers and heritage consultants) who will coach 15 research students/ECRs. Over three meetings with their mentors, students/ECRs will get a better understanding of and advice about how they can prepare for a self-employed career in the heritage sector; get support from a business and strategy point of view; and build their confidence.
How to apply
If you are interested in participating in one ore more skills training strands, please fill in the Expression of Interest below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 30th November 2012. For more information about the project, please visit http://heritageafterlife.wordpress.com/
 Please note that the ‘Research to Profession’ and ‘Research to Business’ strands are open only to Research Students/ECRs based in Universities in the North West of England. The ‘Research to Public’ strand is open to students based in any UK University.