Kathryn Downey

by | Feb 15, 2022

Outreach Officer, Department of Materials

I am the Outreach Officer for the Department of Materials; this role involves coordinating and supporting colleagues, as well as networking and building outreach and engagement strategies with researchers, students and staff.

I have a background of working with the Digital Fabrication Centre during my PhD and was actively involved in developing and making new tactile objects that could provoke conversations about advanced materials.

My outreach and engagement activities greatly benefited my own research as I explored additive manufacturing, orthotics and engaging young people and their families to participate in the research.

Public engagement highlights

I have worked collaboratively with several cultural partners to support their engagement with different audiences such as the Manchester Museum, The Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Science and Industry Museum to develop new work or augment engagement activities.

This has involved working closely with artists such as Cornelia Parker (2015) and Raqs Media Collective Artists (2017).

I used my 3D mapping and research background to collaborate in the ‘Unstill Life (with Cerussite and Peppered Moth)’ (2017) and ‘Communard Biscuits’ (2017) with Raqs Media Collective.

I have a keen interest in conversations around the environmental, economic, social, and daily implications of sustainability in textiles and manufacturing and worked with fellow researchers to develop a range of interactive activities and board games to engage young people, teachers, students and the wider public in conversations about these issues.

Best public engagement advice

Sharing stories and experiences in an enthusiastic and passionate way can inspire and encourage others to get involved.

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