February 5, 2014
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On February 3rd & 4th 2014 I attended the 1st UK Knowledge Mobilisation (KMb) Forum (spelled mobilization with a “z” in North America) which took place in London with tremendous success! The theme of the event was Making Connections Matter – which certainly lived up to its name. Great thanks goes to Nesta (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) for hosting the event that brought together about 60 attendees from across the UK.
Cathy Howe who attended our Canadian Forum last year from the UK was an incredible conference coordinator and forum lead. Cathy helped facilitate genuine connections across a variety of sectors in an environment of sharing experiences and challenges.
After attending last year’s Canadian event Cathy realized the potential for such a gathering in the UK “to achieve better services and better lives” through knowledge mobilization activities. By bringing together individuals from diverse organizations, professions and communities, the UK Forum provided learning and professional development that offered surprisingly valuable insights and similar experiences across a range of fields and experiences.
A Canadian group was excited to attend, including David Phipps from ResearchImpact, Peter Levesque from the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization and myself from KMbeing Knowledge Mobilization Support Services.
I heard someone say that they had not heard of any other multi-sectoral conference like this ever taking place in the UK as events always seem to be so “specialized” and discipline-specific. The UK Forum participants came from a mix of areas that included government policy advisors; economics and evaluation; health research; youth & criminal justice; cancer research; social investment; women’s health; prison & corrections; freelance writing; science; non-governmental organizations; knowledge management; families & relationships; pharmacy; and a variety of university scholars, administrators and community organizations – all in one room and at one event.
There was even an opportunity for remote participants to attend and in-person attendees to interact with people from SecondLife. I must admit I initially had my doubts about the feasibility of bringing “virtual” people to the UK Forum – yet these concerns were quickly gone when I saw the value that remote participants added to the event. Forum posters were available for viewing in SecondLife and presentations were live-streamed in a virtual auditorium as remote participants joined in by social media. There was even a SecondLife attendee who won first-place in a poster competition and provided a very impressive display of using SecondLife as an inclusive conference extension tool to bring people together at such forums from around the world. One SecondLife participant @GeorgeJulian has even posted a blog about the virtual experience.
#UKKMbF14 was also used to comment on Twitter.
All in all the UK Forum achieved above-and-beyond what it set out to do. I’m sure the important cross-sector relationships and momentum that was started by this first forum will continue. I look forward to bringing back to Canada the success of this UK event and sharing this international extension of our “sister” forum at the upcoming Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2014 on June 9th and 10th in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I’m also excited about returning next year to the 2nd UK Forum expected to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hope to see you there – or maybe even in SecondLife!
February 2, 2014
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Why attend the UK Knowledge Mobilisation (KMb) Forum 2014? It’s a genuinely important question to ask as there are so many other events or conferences that you may be considering attending this year.
The UK KMb Forum is a continuum of engaged relationships that developed out of the 2013 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization (spelled with a “z” in North America) KMb Forum in Toronto where almost 150 attendees from 10 countries gathered. I am excited to attend from Canada this inaugural “sister” event in the UK. The event takes place February 3rd to 4th in London -with the theme Making Connections Matter. As one of the organisers and report writers of the Canadian events, I am pleased to see this theme as an international extension after Cathy Howe attended our Canadian Forum last year from the UK.
Here are 10 reasons why it’s important to attend the first UK KMb Forum:
- The UK KMb Forum will provide an opportunity to learn about key issues in the knowledge mobilisation field that pertain to a wide variety of sectors. Attendees at the Canadian Forum came from a mix of sectors including health, academia, children & youth services, workplace safety, environment, addictions & mental health, education, disability services, business, agriculture, domestic violence and social services – and the UK KMb Forum promises a similar mix.
- The UK KMb Forum is a place to meet people and learn about organizations addressing how to make research more useful to society through knowledge mobilisation activities. Just as its Canadian counterpart, the UK Forum will provide learning and professional development experiences for students, practitioners and scholars working in knowledge mobilisation from around the world.
- The UK KMb Forum will bring people together who have established a relationship on social media and will provide in-person connections from those relationships – as well as continue to invite remote participants to join via social media. It will also initiate new relationships with others that can be continued by social media.
- The UK KMb Forum will be a chance to learn about professional and student jobs, projects and funding possibilities that further advance and compliment the successes of such outcomes that were created by the Canadian Forum as part of the work we are engaged in as KMb professionals.
- The UK KMb Forum will offer valuable insight into the experiences of others who face challenges similar to yours, as well as learning about approaches to find concrete solutions to create benefit from the results of research in your field and other sectors.
- The UK KMb Forum will present opportunities to learn about publications and other KMb resources relevant to your areas of interest, and create ideas for articles, books, blogs and other professional and social media writing.
- The UK KMb Forum promises to help establish and strengthen existing partnerships locally and globally in promoting knowledge mobilisation efforts around the world.
- The UK KMb Forum will identify opportunities for knowledge mobilisation within various professions and the possibility of developing communities of practice (CoPs) within your own local community.
- The UK KMb Forum will provide a space for you to demonstrate your commitment to your profession in making the world a better place through knowledge mobilisation efforts.
- The UK KMb Forum is taking place in a world-class city allowing you to become familiar with the area, culture and entertainment that makes London an ideal place to hold the UK’s first Knowledge Mobilisation Forum.
For further information click here. I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow knowledge mobilisers (or mobilizers) at the KMb Forum!