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Connectors in Engagement

21/09/2021 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

What are Connectors?

We are defining Connectors as individuals, agencies, creatives and other organisations who play key roles in bridging the gap between research and communities. They could be engagement experts, local charities, creative agencies, artists, private businesses or community groups. These people can have unique skills and experience, existing ways of connecting with the public, and can be central to the success of a community engagement project.

Why are they important in engagement?

Some of the most successful community engagement projects have emerged from a collaboration between researchers, community members and professionals who come from another sector entirely. This could be creative industries, media, charity or humanitarian, sports and leisure, education, film/television or popular culture. Engagement projects built on these kind of multidisciplinary collaborations have the advantage of bringing alternative perspectives to health research, reaching new public groups and ensuring scientific research is accessible and relevant to everyday life.

What is ‘Connectors 2021’?

Mesh, Eh!woza and Interfer are working together to explore and support the role of Connectors in health engagement. We will host three free virtual workshops across September, October and November 2021. These events will focus on co-learning, networking and new collaboration. Find out more about the aims of the project HERE.

We have carried out two rounds of consultation to determine the topics of discussion that are most relevant to you. Below are the final topics that will be explored at each event.

To sign up and receive an invitation to the workshops please email us: mesh@tghn.org

Workshop 1: Making the case for engagement and the role of Connectors – 21 September 2021

11:00am UTC (13:00 SAST/12:00 BST)

Part A – Understanding and defining engagement

What is engagement?
Understanding true participation and co-production

Part B – Making the case

Defining the benefits and impact of engagement
Unpacking the various roles of the Connector


 Workshop 2: Managing collaborative projects – 19 October 2021 

11:00am UTC (13:00 SAST/12:00 BST)

Part A – Who sets the agenda?

Planning and leadership – power dynamics between parties
Working with differing approaches/ambitions/motivations/visions within in the team

Part B – Addressing challenges

Gaining genuine commitment from researchers
Managing resistance to change/adaption

 Workshop 3: Practical considerations and measuring impact – 23 November 2021

11:00am UTC (13:00 SAST/11:00 GMT)

Part A – Considerations for planning

Funding and timing
What support structures are needed?

Part B – Evaluation and sustainability

Measuring impact and success
Making positive changes in communities and informing policy

Our Aims

The event series will bring together individuals and organisations playing important roles at the intersection of the engagement, health and research. We hope to explore current challenges, successes, experiences, innovations, skills and capacity development, and the role of collaborations and support structures relative to Connectors and Researchers.

We want to:

  1. Explore and document the challenges faced by Connectors in health research engagement
  2. Encourage participants to work together to determine opportunities and solutions
  3. Facilitate new tangible collaborations for the better
  4. Establish an active and supportive network for the Connectors community in Africa and across the Global South
  5. Create a lasting legacy (through sharing learning, creating new resources and piloting ideas)

We hope the project will culminate in a face-to-face symposium in Cape Town, South Africa in early 2022 (dependent on restrictions related to the pandemic).


12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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