Images of Public Engagement 2018

The NCCPE's image competition, capturing and celebrating public engagement across the UK.

The competition is now closed to entries.

Are you involved with public engagement in higher education? Do you have an inspiring image you want to share?

Join in with the NCCPE’s 10th anniversary celebrations and help us capture the breadth of fantastic public engagement work taking place throughout UK universities. From collaborative research to culture change, our image competition offers the opportunity to celebrate and share what public engagement means to you.

Whether you’re an engaged academic, student, public engagement professional or someone who partners with universities, we’d love to see your images and stories of public engagement. This is a chance to share inspiring engagement activities, culture change initiatives, and the people involved in public engagement.

Submit your image and description by 16th July and be in with a chance of winning a ticket for the NCCPE’s Engage Conference, or new photography and art materials! Winning entries will also be showcased as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, featuring on our website and in a new-look Manifesto for Public Engagement. Find out how to take part below.

Competition categories

There are three competition categories to enter, each relating to public engagement in UK higher education. Applicants may submit one entry per category each.


From festivals to performances, lectures to citizen science, consultation to co-production… What do your public engagement activities look like?


Who are the characters that animate your public engagement? Who has inspired you, or challenged you? This could be the publics you engaged with, the partners you worked with, your project team or anyone else who was part of the process.

Culture change

Universities are slowly changing and, in many, public engagement is becoming a greater priority.  So what does this change actually look like in practice? Can you share an image which captures the essence of culture change?

Image and description

To enter the competition, you’ll need to send us your image along with a title and description. Entries must be related to public engagement in UK higher education.


Images should give us a glimpse into your public engagement world and inspire others to get involved. Any type of image can be submitted to the competition – whether a photograph, drawing or digitally created. The image can be taken directly from your public engagement work, or could be a more abstract interpretation.

The image must be:

  • Taken or created by the applicant, or the applicant must have gained explicit permission from the person who took or created the image to submit it.
  • Taken or created in the last 10 years.
  • Submitted in either JPG, TIF or EPS format.
  • Available in high resolution (please see the terms and conditions for details).
  • Submitted in lower resolution (5MB maximum file size).

You must also have gained permission to use the image from any identifiable people depicted in the image. For further details about the image eligibility and specifications, please read the competition terms and conditions.

Title and description

The image title should be short and snappy - using no more than six words. Think how the title works with the image – is it descriptive; intriguing; or funny?

The description provides an opportunity for you to tell the story behind your picture – creatively explaining the context, or why you chose it, and expressing your enthusiasm for the subject matter. Descriptions must be no more than 150 words.

Tips on writing an excellent image title and description:

  • Use plain English, avoiding any jargon or acronyms. If you do need to use any technical terms or acronyms, make sure you explain them.
  • Consider your audience: this will be the competition judging panel and, if shortlisted, anyone browsing the NCCPE website. The majority of our website users are public engagement professionals and researchers working in UK universities – however we also have a lot of international visitors and people from outside the higher education sector. Therefore be careful not to assume any prior knowledge or expertise.
  • Ask a friend or colleague to review your description – does it make sense to them? Does it complement and enhance the image?

Assessment process and criteria

Competition entries will be reviewed for eligibility by the NCCPE team and then shortlisted by a judging panel. Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Image: creates a visual impact, stimulating a response in the viewer
  • Title and description: offers a compelling account of the significance of the image in the context of public engagement in higher education
  • Category fit: illuminates the category in a meaningful way

We’ll be in contact by Friday 7th September to let you know the results of the competition.

Competition prizes

The category winners will each be rewarded with a two-day ticket and £100 travel allowance for the NCCPE’s Engage Conference, which this year will be held on 29th and 30th November 2018 in Edinburgh. Alternatively, winners may choose to receive a £250 voucher for photography equipment, books or art materials.

Winning entries will also be showcased as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, featuring on our website and in a new-look Manifesto for Public Engagement.

How to apply

The competition is now closed to entries, thank you to all those who have taken part! The application deadline was Monday 16th July 2018. All applicants will hear back from the NCCPE in September.

For any enquiries, please contact Laura Steele via

With thanks to the University of Bath’s Public Engagement Unit and the Royal Observatory Greenwich for their advice and support.