Developing new approaches to community engagement at the Living Knowledge Conference 2018

Three members of our Engage Community attended the Living Knowledge Conference 2018 held in Budapest, Hungary, thanks to the ACU Member Communities Conference bursaries. Here, Dr Ipsit Pratap Singh, from Dev Sanskriti University in India, shares his experience.

When I came to know about the Living Knowledge Conference, I did not have much understanding about concepts such as science shops. The theme of the conference was fascinating to me and it aroused inquisitiveness in my spirit to know and explore more about it. Practical aspects of community engagement are not so common in India and so this motivated me more. I wanted to have an insight into the scientific procedure of community engagement and bring this concept to India in a wider perspective.

The ACU Member Communities Conference bursary not only allowed me to be present at this unique conference, but also enabled me to express its ideas effectively. Specifically, being an early career academic, this bursary provided me with an opportunity to express myself and familiarise myself with the global community and their perspectives. This experience not only helped me enrich my academic profile but also added a global understanding in my interactions with students. It has also inspired me to seek out other unique conferences and global confluences which will help me to fulfil the objectives of the ACU.

Budapest is one of the liveliest cities in the world. I met with great scholars and researchers who are working dedicatedly for science shops and participatory action research. It was fabulous to meet such vibrant people as Shamaila Farooq from Pakistan, who quickly became my source of motivation in the conference. As well as her skills to connect people she is also a master in her field of expertise, Journalism & Mass Communication.

Ipsit Singh at Living Knowledge 2018

The Living Knowledge conference was a greatest personal development experience. An insightful opening session by Matolay Reka, Galiay Philippe & Szigeti P. Gyula was the perfect foundation for the conference. The sessions on 'Community–University Partnerships' gave us clarity about the scientific tools needed to understand campus community partnerships.

Interaction with intellectuals and field experts made me realize my strengths as well as my weaknesses. Sessions on 'Community–University Partnerships', 'Research for Impact' and 'Democratising Research in Contentious Times' had lots of useful information blended with thorough knowledge from the speakers. Mesmerising sessions on 'SDGs and Communities' and 'Innovative Approaches to Education' gave me a better sense of understanding of the wider context. Along with the main sessions, which also played a very important role in conveying the theme of the conference in a creative manner. The sessions entitled 'From Initiatives to Civic Tissues: Mapping and Connecting Citizen Knowledge' and 'Effective University-Society Collaborations' were informative and inspiring, and made the conference more relevant and useful in the present global scenario.

The dedication of the researchers for their concerned areas was very inspiring to me and I have gained conceptual clarity about science shops and participatory action research for the first time in my life. I have also become aware of the community-university partnership and the social impact analysis of research in the conference. Unfortunately, in Indian subcontinent very few academics are aware of science shops so I hope to share this concept in the academic institutions of northern India.

My role in Dev Sanskriti University involves International Relations, so this conference was a great experience in terms of meeting with great scholars of the world. From speakers to participants everyone has the true spirit of research and learning. When I came back to my university I shared my learnings through group discussions.

The parent organization of my university, Shantikunj, has been working for various programs for social awakening in India for a while now. People associated with the organization are bringing positive change through various measures of community engagement. So attending the Living Knowledge Conference was useful understanding the documentation of community engagement strategies by my institution. I have learned about modern techniques of data analysis which is definitely going to be very useful in my current role.

In short, this conference was the complete package for me. I have had a taste of knowledge, experience & community engagement simultaneously. I am highly thankful to the ACU for their financial support and the continuous support of Georgina Nicoli, Member Engagement coordinator in ACU. I am also very grateful towards Living Knowledge Network for this wonderful experience of the 8th Living Knowledge Conference. And last, but certainly not least, participation in the Living Knowledge conference would not have been possible without the unconditional support of Honourable chancellor of my University Dr. Pranav Pandya and Pro–Vice Chancellor Dr. Chinmay Pandya who motivated and guided me at each and every step.

Dr Ipsit Pratap Singh is an Assistant Professor at Dev Sankriti University in India. He was recently awarded his PhD in Community Policing in Indian Pespective.

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Last modified on 07/11/2018
Tags: Asia, Member Communities, ACU Engage Community, Community engagement, Commonwealth