The other side of engagement


If, like me, people typically use the words ‘shy’, ‘quiet’, or ‘reserved’ when describing you, the theme of the Academy this week, ‘Engagement’, will likely fill you with a sense of alarm, possibly even dread. But, I’m happy to say, even in this aspect of project completion, the creative and digital industry has a place for people like us; data analysis. It’s not for everyone, but if finding out the why of things, or discovering data trends, interests you, I think you’ll be able to find something you enjoy, even if it is presenting the information in an appealing manner after other people have pored over numbers and charts for longer than you can stand.

For me, it was going through the survey data we’ve collected so far in order to identify where we need to focus our efforts and to see if there are any trends emerging at this stage of our research. Happily, we have a firm understanding of where to go next based on the information gathered, but my main takeaway from this week is that even if the project you are working on has a very social focus, there is something even introverts can do to help.

Any discussion on the themes of the week probably should include what I’ve learned explicitly from the Academy. In this instance, I’ve been able to learn more about the abilities of surveys and face to face interviews when gathering data and the benefits of working with focus groups in order to produce relevant targeted engagement. While my interest is more, as previously stated, in analysing the data, it is always useful to have a solid grounding of where that data is coming from.

Ostensibly, Agent Academy is about giving people in my situation skills that can be used to find work in the creative and digital industries, but it’s teaching me so much more. Already, I’ve started working to overcome my own preconceived notions about what I can, and can’t do, I’ve started asking myself questions I never knew I needed to ask myself. Most importantly, I’ve learned that we all have different strengths and weaknesses but none of these weaknesses matter when working with the right team of people. Even in a week where the work has been more of a social nature than I am comfortable with, I’ve still been able to contribute to the project in a way that I feel is meaningful, and you will be able to as well.

With special thanks to programme funders European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency.

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