23-06-2023

Department of Imaging Neuroscience Celebrates Annual Public Engagement Awards

On Friday 16th June 2023, we welcomed external collaborators and staff from across UCL’s Department of Imaging Neuroscience to the 2023 Public Engagement Awards.

Held as an in-person event at 12 Queen Square, the ceremony celebrated outstanding contributions to the Department’s public engagement programme over the past year.

The Public Engagement team awarded four prizes in recognition of staff members and projects that have upheld the Department’s commitment to excellence in public engagement.

The first prize – the Rising Star Award – was awarded jointly to Charlotte Dore and Ivelina Dobreva for their outstanding promise and attitude towards public engagement. Charlotte is a Research Assistant and PhD student who works with Dr Christian Lambert as part of the qMAP-PD project. Ivelina is a Research Assistant working with Dr Rimona Weil, whose team aims to find markers of progression in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s dementia.

Ivelina has been recognised for her instrumental role in co-producing information booklets that explore thinking and memory changes in Parkinson’s, as part of the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project.

Upon winning, Ivelina said:

“I am really lucky to be part of this project. It’s been inspiring to see how much creativity has helped to bring together different people to discuss dementia (which can be a difficult topic, especially in the Parkinson’s community). I believe this project highlights the real potential of using arts and creativity in dementia research, which we need to explore further. It is also truly wonderful to have Parkinson’s UK embrace the toolkits as part of their official information resources. Thank you to the Public Engagement team for this award – it has been truly a pleasure to work together on this.”

 

Charlotte was recognised for her brilliant commitment across a number of different public engagement projects.

This includes participating in creative workshops and focus groups as part of the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project and co-producing a series of animations with research participants as part of the Understanding MRI team.

 

 

 

 

Dr Rimona Weil, a Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Dr Rimona Weil receiving her Public Engagement AwardNeuroscientist at UCL, was awarded the Excellence in Public Engagement Award. This award recognises a staff member who has played a key, leading role in engagement work.

Taking a leading role in the Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s Disease project, Dr Weil worked with artists, Anne Marr and Ru O’Connell at Central Saint Martins, and Parkinson’s UK to design creative workshops to open up conversations about Parkinson’s dementia. She then worked with these collaborators, healthcare professionals and people living with Parkinson’s to co-develop accessible resources on the topic. Outside of this project, Dr Weil also seeks input from lived experts on the design and planning of her future research projects and leads a support group for people living with Lewy body dementia.

Upon winning, Dr Weil said:

“Thank you for this award, which I am very excited about. The Patterns of Perception in Parkinson’s project has been so wonderful to work on. I’ve learned a huge amount from the Public Engagement team at WCHN, especially from Jo and Cassie and the rest of the team. With them, we were able to work with people with Parkinson’s and their families, as well as artists, and Parkinson’s UK and deliver creative workshops and focus groups to co-produce toolkits about Parkinson’s dementia. Through this project, I hope that we can make a meaningful impact and open up challenging conversations about dementia in Parkinson’s.”

 

The third prize – the Outstanding Public Engagement Project Awardwas awarded to the OCD and the Brain project. Working alongside leading charities, OCD Action and the International OCD Foundation, and lived experts, the project aims to co-produce engaging, online toolkits for young people living with OCD and their parents/guardians, to learn more about the brain and OCD.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Professor Tobias Hauser said:

“I am thrilled to receive this prize! This project is a huge team effort and a true collaboration between people with lived experience, OCD charities, community gatekeepers, creative facilitators, public engagement professionals and researchers. It was amazing to see how everyone came together to create a resource that will benefit those affected by OCD. Receiving the prize is a great recognition for our efforts and supports this innovative avenue of collaboration beyond the ivory towers of science”

Finally, the Public Engagement team awarded a Special Commendation to Professor Steve Fleming for his ongoing contribution and commitment to Public Engagement at the Department. Professor Fleming leads the Metacognition group within the Department and has been an active supporter and advocate for Public Engagement within the Department for many years. He has attended music festivals to trial new apps, participated in the Dear World Project, and more recently, co-produced a film script as part of the Dementia Film Project.

On receiving the Commendation, Professor Fleming said:

“It was a very nice surprise to be given this award – I have thoroughly enjoyed playing a part in a number of projects over the past few years, with a personal highlight being the Dementia Film Project. But really all the credit lies with the Centre’s Public Engagement team, who have been brilliant in transforming public engagement within the Department and ensuring it’s now firmly embedded within imaging neuroscience.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees!

You can read more about the awards here.

Check out the event gallery here!

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