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My #Weeknote companions

In December 2020, I reflected on my goal to get better at writing. I concluded that writing #WeekNotes might be helpful vehicle to flex and develop my skills, and become more comfortable with publishing once it’s ‘good enough’.

At the start of the year, I wrote #Weeknotes for four weeks, as a trial. I took a break over February, initially to give myself the space to decide whether or not to continue with #Weeknotes, but on reflection I think the break was needed, given how tough things have been with the third lockdown. Anyway, here’s my review.

The act of…


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Oxailis, flowering

It’s the end of January (Hooray!) and it’s my fourth week writing #weeknotes. As this was a trial, I’m going to take a break over the next couple of weeks to think about whether publishing weeknotes is working for me as a way to write and share more.

I continued with 121 feedback sessions with colleagues in PE on the modelling I’m working on to uncover our approach to engaging the public at scale. These meetings also doubled up as a chance to check in and catch up with people who I miss seeing in the flesh

I shortlisted proposals…


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Chops, catching some rays.

Week 3. Working from home. Lockdown 3.0. Urgh.

Getting cabin fever. Thank god the sun was out today. Makes everything feel just that little bit easier to get through.

I didn’t feel like writing #weeknotes when I got up today. It has been a busy week, and this does feel like another task. But it is cathartic.

I am trying a different format today and reminding myself of the rationale for doing this (getting into the habit of writing, whilst also sharing more openly about what I’m working on). …


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Repotted plants

This week felt a little odd. It’s the second week back at work and I haven’t found my rhythm. Also, a bunch of projects (and roles) I was leading came to their natural end in December, so I’m in that in between place before the next phase of work kickstarts.

I should really try to enjoy these quieter times. I spent time tending to my indoor plants, which included repotting those that needed more space to breathe. This is a messy but satisfying task.

Sadly, I didn’t make it outside much this week 😩 but I did attend all three…


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Oxalis. New growth

As I’m sure is the case for many of you, it’s my first week back in my living-office. This is also my first official ‘weeknote’, following the test run I published at the end of 2020.

I was lucky enough to take two full weeks off for the seasonal break (Wellcome closed the office from Friday 18th December). I enjoyed reverting my living room back to… well, a living room. Sadly the pop up office desk is back in here now.

I plan to break some old habits that became well and truly ingrained towards the end of 2020, particularly…


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My spirit animal — Print by Le Gun

I set myself a goal for 2020 — publish six articles to improve my writing skills, and get better at sharing what I’m working on. I chose six, because I thought I wouldn’t manage more than one every two months.

I’m sad to say, I didn’t quite manage that. To be fair, I didn’t think we’d be living through a pandemic this year, so I’m trying to be kind to myself. But by setting a goal of six, I’ve also unintentionally made it harder for myself. Each article became added pressure….

What topic should I write about? Which should I…


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Daria Nepriakhina, Unsplash

In the last month I’ve had quite a few requests from colleagues to facilitate a ‘retro,’/‘lessons learnt’ session to review key projects recently completed.

It seems that many are eager to mark the end of the year somehow, speed up time, move on and start fresh. Understandable, of course. After a year of extreme adaptation, taking time to take stock and make sense of it all feels important. A chance to decide what to hold on to, and what to let go of.

I often perform personal ‘retros’, usually at the end of each month, or when I hit key…


Our  obsession with scale. Image by Fidel Fernando https://unsplash.com/@fifernando
Our  obsession with scale. Image by Fidel Fernando https://unsplash.com/@fifernando
The obsession with scale. Image by Fidel Fernando https://unsplash.com/@fifernando

One of the things I love about the public engagement community is that we are super-skilled at finding creative ways to engage the public with research.

Over the last 20–30 years, we’ve seen amazing exhibitions, performances, workshops, talks, debates and interactive experiences delivered by this community.

If you have designed one of these programmes, you’ve probably heard someone ask you the dreaded question…

‘Does it scale?

Why do we care about scalability?

As it stands, the public play a limited role in using, informing or trusting research.

This is largely because the existing opportunities to engage are designed in a way that lends itself well to…


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My cat Chops, reflecting with me this lockdown.

This lockdown, May 2020, and I’m celebrating my five-year anniversary, working at Wellcome.

So much has happened in that time. I’ve changed. Wellcome has changed. My role has changed (a few times, actually).

Rewinding back to 2015, joining Wellcome felt like a big move. In my previous role, I was one of about 30 employees, managing national engagement programmes. At Wellcome, I would become one of 800+, now working ‘on the other side’, managing a £1.3m scheme to fund engagement programmes, rather than deliver them.

My role was a 12-month, maternity cover contract. Feeling like I needed to make the…


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I want to write more.

I have lots of ideas about things I’m passionate about that I want to share. I want to engage in conversations with people and hear their reflections. I want to break out of my own network bubble. I feel the best way to do this is to write, publish, share, and see who bites.

I feel a lot of pressure to write. Pressure I put on myself of course, but I feel my career will be stinted if I don’t write. I look around and see lots of successful people sharing their ideas, raising their…

Farrah Nazir

Strategic Design & Innovation @WellcomeTrust. Helping the public use, inform & trust research. A northerner, brought up on a market stall.

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