Many of us are doing public engagement with very limited time and resources. That means we sometimes don’t have enough space as practitioners to think critically about how we do our work, and how we could do it better.
Our colleagues who work on development projects overseas often have very good evaluative practices with clearly defined opportunities for reflection and debriefing, and strategies for incorporating learnings into their practice. Our public engagement work should be allotted those same opportunities for reflection.
During those reflections, we also need to ask the hard questions – not just whether people participated in or enjoyed our interventions, but what change resulted. What understandings did they walk away with? What actions are they likely to take? What change will occur in five years? What was the impact of our work? Who was impacted and how?