This year we decided to be ambitious and try our hand at organising two stands at the Imperial Festival. Our first stand, ‘Trials and Tribulations’ was dedicated to the Clinical Research Facility and engaging with the public. Our second stand, ‘the PPI Café’ was a collaborative project designed by 5 Imperial centres, which was centred solely around Public Involvement.
Trials and Tribulations
What started off as a competitive quiz show, where the public were questioned about research and clinical trials gradually evolved into a family friendly ‘spin-the-wheel’ game, which mainly drew children in. To accommodate for our new audience, we initially adapted the questions to be easier, but this wasn’t enough. This led us to changing our question wheel into a colour wheel and children became more than eager to spin the wheel, to see what coloured finger print they would add to our artwork poster. This was a double helix comprised of multi coloured finger prints, representing everyone who visited our stand and everyone who was involved in the design and set up. We were trying to creatively show, that there are so many individuals involved in research. This activity kept the children entertained, leaving parents more available to give us time to discuss our research. Everyone left happy, excited and inspired.
This idea stands to make the most impact. We worked alongside 5 amazing Imperial centres; the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI), the NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC), the Patient Experience Research Centre, the NIHR London In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) Co-operative and the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit to bring a Public Involvement idea to life. Firstly, working alongside these centres was a hugely rewarding experience and I would highly recommend other staff to volunteer to help in the future. We effortlessly worked together, ensuring all deadlines were met and everything was prepared prior to the event, leaving nothing to chance. Our idea was to facilitate a PPI Café where members of the public could come together to provide us with feedback on real life projects. We each approached researchers from our centres to submit a project. These projects were discussed, dissected and decided, and the feedback is to be directly delivered to the researchers. Not only did this activity display how invaluable public involvement can be to researchers, it showed how fun public involvement can be. We asked all visitors to complete a survey after the activity and the results are in… we had 111 responses. 91% stated they enjoyed the stand ‘a lot’ or ‘a great deal’. 83% said they learnt ‘a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ about PPI. 87% wanted to sign up to hear feedback about the event. Our results show the PPI Café was a great hit. If you didn’t get a chance to visit the café over the Imperial Festival weekend, keep a look out, I’m sure we’ll be back.Imperial Festival 2018