Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG) is a partnership between the University of East London and the Cultural Engine, established in 2014 to explore academic ideas and bring them out into public debate. CERG holds events in community settings, with academics from a range of HE institutions offering insight and thought on sometimes difficult and complex issues, philosophical ideas and critical theory. These ideas are then challenged and applied through open debate to the local context with follow up and project development identified where possible. This is sometimes referred to as ‘Social Dreaming’ and is a way of working to tackle entrenched ‘narratives’ and imagining change (in the local economy or environment for example).
The CERG concept can work anywhere and we are keen to further explore the potential of academics contributing directly to public debate and helping to shape, question and inform local policy and practice. In May 2020 CERG won the UEL Civic Engagement Awards.