This years’ Leapfrog summer school was such a rich experience with many different aspects of community engagement being described and explored in the talks and the times for discussion. The exercises, which highlighted this particularly for me, were the sessions where all the delegates shared what they considered to be community engagement.
Each delegate was given 3 minutes to describe what he or she would consider community engagement. There were many different communities described, from remote and rural defined by their location to Health and Care communities drawn together by a common purpose and need. There were also many approaches being taken in engaging with those communities from art and video to co-design.
There was at one point a heated discussion on the value of being embedded in the community versus the detachment of the researcher. In this discussion the delegates were able to share their own experiences of what had worked for them and what had perhaps worked less well.
We touched on the ethical, the moral and even the political landscape with wide-ranging and at times heated discussion. It was great to see the summer school giving rise to such a vibrant and honest discussion. As one delegate said to me as she left: it was very real. A great compliment in my book.