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Sharing Our Research: Public Engagement at The Exchange

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

As the summer comes to an end, we are reflecting on the public engagement activities that we have held in partnership with youth homelessness charity St Basils this year.

We think it is really important that everyone has the opportunity to hear about and benefit from the research that we do. The Exchange in Birmingham offers the perfect setting to showcase our work to wide audiences.

Read on to find out all about our recent public engagement events and activities at The Exchange!

Image description: A photo collage showing activity infographics from the 'A Place to Call Home’ exhibition at The Exchange.

Our events formed part of the ‘A Place to Call Home’ exhibition at The Exchange. We aimed to challenge perceptions of homelessness and support the exploration of what home might mean to different people.


The first event ‘Sports Research In New Territories’ was held in March. This was a public lecture delivered by Dr Mary Quinton, Assistant Professor in the SPRINT Project and Jean Templeton, Chief Executive of St Basils. Mary explained how strengths-based mental skills training (MST) that is used by the world’s top athletes, can be translated to successfully and flexibly support young people who experience homelessness. Mary detailed the co-development of the MST programme called My Strengths Training for Life (MST4Life™) which helps young people to recognise their own strengths, develop new skills and use these to improve their mental wellbeing and achieve key goals. Jean explained how St Basils supports young people who are at-risk of, or experience homelessness to feel safe and able to move forwards, and the broader impact that this approach can have. She also encouraged the audience to reflect on what home may mean to them. You can watch a YouTube video of the lecture here.

The second and third events were held in June and were workshop-based.

The workshop ‘Learning To Ride The Wave - Emotion Awareness Family Workshop’ was delivered by Dr Grace Tidmarsh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the SPRINT Project, and Dr Mary Quinton. Here, Grace and Mary explained what emotions are, how we feel them in different ways and how everyone can learn how to manage emotions. Workshop participants reflected on what types of emotions and bodily feelings they experience at different times, including when they think about home. They also worked through an emotion awareness grid and practiced emotion control techniques—all of which are tools contained within the SPRINT Project’s MST Toolkit. You can watch a YouTube video of the workshop here.

The workshop ‘Its More Than Just Bricks and Mortar - Exploring Home Through Poetry’ was delivered by Beth Abbot from Been There Done That, Dr Grace Tidmarsh and Dr Mary Quinton. Here, Beth talked about her own experiences of home, personal difficulties, support received from St Basils and how writing poetry enables her to reflect on and express what home means to her. The workshop participants then created their own poems about their feelings and experiences around the concept of home. You can watch a YouTube video of the workshop here.

Image description: A photo collage showing each of the three public engagement events at The Exchange in Birmingham.

See below a comment from Dr Grace Tidmarsh about her experience of delivering the events at The Exchange:

“Working with different members of the public through these free events at The Exchange has been an excellent opportunity for us [the SPRINT Project] to continue building community-based relationships and make sure that the research we produce is having wider positive impacts within society. It was great to work collaboratively with event attendee’s and learn from their experiences as well as the type of events they would like to see in the future. Thank you to our colleagues at The Exchange and our community partners for their combined efforts in developing and delivering these workshops, we look forward to continuing to work together.”


So, what does home mean to you?

We would love to hear about the feelings and thoughts that you experience when you reflect on this question. You can get in touch using the contact form below or leave a comment under this blog!

You can also still get involved by heading over to our free ‘A Place to Call Home’ exhibition at The Exchange in Birmingham, which runs until 4th November 2023. In addition, to mark World Homeless Day on 10th October 2023, The Exchange are presenting an evening of thought-provoking discussion and unique narratives around the specific challenges that women who experience homelessness face. Find out more and register for this event here.

You can also access our MST Toolkits via our website here, or our free and interactive MST tools here.


Photo credit: Dr Grace Tidmarsh, Dr Mary Quinton and Canva.

Written by Dr Sally Reynard, Research Associate in the SPRINT Project.

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