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Learning about creative facilitation and immersive theatre

By Dr Bentley Crudgington

‌I used the ISSF grant to fund two courses to help me develop my practice in meaningful and impactful ways.

‌I am now better at my job, more resilient and robust and better equipped to manage difficult situations. I have increased confidence to hold and produce meaningful resolutions and outcomes from difficult situations.

Group Facilitation Course (ICA:UK)

This course taught me so much. We learnt two main techniques: focused conversation and consensus-building.

Dr Bentley Crudgington.I was immediately able to bring both of these into my practice. As I work in a predominantly visual way, these techniques have allowed me to shape workshops, discussions and meetings to provide much greater depth of participation and engagement, which has been enormously beneficial.

It also provided me with an incredibly useful set of tools to use to build trust and confidence in participants, and to draw out and sustain productive conversations between people with opposing views, to work with difficulty and ambiguity, and to form these into meaningful outputs and actions and dynamic pathways to affect change.

I have used these new skills to reflect on public engagement with animal research and the concept of openness.

Immersive theatre training (The Lab Collective)

This was exceptional and I learnt so much about narrative, character development, staging, consent, managing audiences and the mechanics and theory of immersive environments.

I use various aspects of these in almost all of my work. This learning has deepened my knowledge of participation and engagement and helps me consider the pathway and experience of any participant.

I used this training to write, direct and produce a unique one-to-one theatre experience for the Manchester Science Festival, Did You Come Alone? and develop a larger immersive experience, Vector, with the Lab Collective, which has become the flagship public engagement activity for the Animal Research Nexus.

The ISSF funding has probably been the single biggest influence on my work this year, and will keep on supporting my work and career direction and progression for years to come.

This opportunity was funded through the Professional Development stream of the University of Manchester ISSF Public Engagement Funding.

Learn more about and apply for the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF): Public engagement funding scheme calls.