Social Impact & Engagement

Creating change through co-creation and dissemination

What’s the value of knowledge if we don’t use it for progressive change?

Social impact is central to my work and why I do what I do. Findings ways to creatively thread social engagement and application throughout my education, research and service work is a critical driver and motivation for my career. I seek to build social impact into my work (research, education and service work) through a number of means.

Research deign and methods: My reserach is informed by qualitative, participatory and co-constructive methods that seek to involve citizens as co-creators in the research process.

– Research communication & dissemination: I am passionate about the democratisation of knowledge, public understanding of science and creative and engaging means of communicating scientific knowledge. I am commited to finding ways to creatively communicate and disseminate research beyond the traditional academic routes, including utilising social media platforms, blog writing, podcasts, policy briefs, and hosting non-academic presentations and talks & TV presentation.

Teaching: My work has incorporated field- and problem-based learning pedagogical tools that enable students to including the methods and forms of research designs and teaching methods I engage with.  Alongside my academic research and teaching, I have been actively involved in leading and coordinating a number of social impact and change initiatives and projects focusing on mobility consumption and practice change in societal contexts. 

One of my biggest commitments to date has involved my role in community activism around sustainability transitions. In 2011 myself and two friends, Caoimhin and Kieran, set up Transition Galway  and since this date I have been an active leader on the coordinating team.  Through my involvement here, I have been specifically interested in designing and employing creative participatory tools for engaging the public around questions of social and environmental change. 

For example, through our work with Transition Galway we designed, hosted and coordinated a series of community planning visioning events in Galway city during 2013 and 2014 which sought to engage the public in community planning for sustainability transitions. Following these events, we worked as a team to produce the ideas generated by Galway’s public into a coherent plan for Galway’s sustainability transition, leading to the publication of ‘A Vision for Galway 2030’ (2015), a published document which outlines a host of community-based ideas and solutions for facilitating sustainable development in Galway. I have also participated in many other community planning initiatives, including helping to set up a community garden (Galway’s Garden of Transition) and community bike workshop (An Mheitheal Rothar) in the city and running regular film nights and social events in the city.

In seeking to advance development in Galway along socially equitable and sustainable lines, the importance of extending our work beyond the confines of the university is paramount.

I have sought to do so through developing community relations with a diverse range of stakeholders throughout the city, including the local council, community groups, schools and businesses. Finding ways to creatively participate in outreach programs and initiatives which seek to engage the community around society-environment change is a fun and stimulating way of helping to drive change. Some examples of communicative work I have been engaged with include delivering presentations to the Galway City Council, organising public seminars, featuring in radio and TV interviews, as well as writing for local media and blogs. Through these avenues, I seek to communicate and implement critical social science far beyond the academy.

SELECTED EXAMPLES OF SERVICE & SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

Elected as Director on An Mheitheal Rothar’s Board of Directors

2018

Launched and co-host of new radio show ‘Transition Radio’ on Flirt 101.3 FM that explores the social and cultural dimensions of sustainability transitions.

The aim of this show is to engage the public around sustainable development and communicate social science research and approaches to sustainability transitions beyond the academy. (2017)

Radio interview on Flirt 101.3 FM discussing PhD research ‘The Rise of the Fridge is the Decline of the Milkman’

29th March. 2017.

Host of ‘Sustainability Stories – Galway Eco-PechaKucha’, an event run by Transition Galway as part of the Convergence festival

October 29th 2016.

Interview on Connemara Community Radio discussing community-based visions for sustainability transitions in Galway

March 2016.

Coordinator and organizer of a series of Community Visioning Engagement events in Galway city which took place at various locations in the city during 2013 and 2014

Co-designed, hosted and coordinated the implementation of these events. Key contributor and author of ‘A Vision for Galway 2030’ (2015), a published document which outlines a host of community-based ideas and solutions for facilitating sustainable development in Galway. (see https://transitiongalway.wordpress.com/ for more information).

Interview on Irish TV covering the launch of a ‘Vision for Galway’.

2015

Coordinator and volunteer of ‘Disco Soup’, a community food project which aimed to engage the community around solutions to food waste in Galway city

28th July 2013.

Volunteer coordinating and setting up a new community garden in Galway city ‘Galway’s garden of Transition’

2013

Volunteer helping to set up Galway’s community bike workshop ‘An Mheiteal Rothar’

2012

Contributor to NUI Galway student paper SIN. Authored several articles discussed sustainable lifestyles and consumption.

2012 – 2015

Contributor to the Living Link Magazine, a local paper focusing on alternative and sustainable living. Authored several articles discussing the Transition Movement and sustainable living.

2011 – 2012

Organiser of Permaculture Workshop in Galway city workshop

4th December 2011

Presentation on ‘Transition and Peak Oil – What it means for Galway’ to the Environmental SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) of Galway City Council

26th May 2011

Co-founded Transition Galway

2011