The biennial Interact conference took place in City Hall, Cardiff on 14th September. Interact is an engagement conference for the physical sciences co-organised by SEPnet, the STFC, the IOP, the RAS and the Ogden Trust.
The symposium had five core themes:
- Evaluation and impact
- Reaching audiences underrepresented in the physical sciences
- Engagement mediums
- Funding routes for engagement
- Sharing good practice
Almost 200 people attended on the day from a vast range of universities, charities, industry partners, outreach organisations and learned societies. The day was jam packed with over 20 talks and workshops happening across four parallel sessions and two plenaries. There was also a marketplace area with stands from professional bodies and hands on activities and demonstrations from practitioners. The Sun served as a backdrop to City Hall’s Assembly Room, in the form of a 6-metre sphere art installation, based on research from the University of Central Lancashire and led by researcher Professor Robert Walsh.
The conference was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, and attendees commented on the benefit of being able to gather in person again to network, share ideas and discover new engagement practices and methodologies. Over the entire Interact Conference series data has been collected on engagement practice and culture in the physical sciences to assess the embdedding of engagement culture and identify barriers to progress.