Field guide to public engagement and culture change

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Culture change is a relational process. Understanding who you are - your attributes, the values you bring and how these influence your behaviours is as important as understanding what it is you want to change and why.

The University of Bath Public Engagement Unit approached me as they wanted to produce a guide to culture change. The resource would be interactive; it would draw on their experiences of embedding public engagement in research and would be for staff with responsibility for public engagement.

We worked through an iterative process, identifying the key topics the guide would need to cover, drafting content, developing and refining exercises. The subsequent Field Guide drew heavily on the teams experiences of managing change in complex systems as well as my own. We developed introductory chapters and tools about culture change, the role of the university and self-reflection, before moving on to present the key lessons the team have Bath have learned.The guide is organised into four different parts with 25 exercises to help shape approaches to culture change:

  • Understanding’ Culture’ - looking at habits and habitat and how they make up a culture of a place,
  • Understanding Your University - getting to know your university better and thinking about your role enabling culture change as a change agent.
  • Thinking About Your Approach - reflecting on your motivations, skills and expertise to develop your approach to culture change,
  • Key Lessons We’ve Learned - sharing the approach we took to culture change over 11 short exercises.

The text was brought to life by Boyle & Perks a design and communications agency based in Brighton, UK.

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