Research WITH the public

One of my greatest sources of inspiration are patients and the general public. Just a simple chat with a stroke survivor or a young person with Cerebral Visual Impairment can teach me so much. Their stories motivate me to understand the scientific basis behind their condition and improve their lives through developing better assessment and rehabilitation tools. Sharing these advances with the general public in Public Engagement events like school workshops or public lectures is equally rewarding. Seeing the enthusiasm and the fascination people show after attending my events, brings a smile on my face every time again.

Taking part in research

Public Engagement

Public Involvement

Taking part in research

People with and without visual perception problems take part in our research. For some research studies, we are looking for specific groups of people like people over 70 years old or people who recently had a stroke. Other studies are open to everyone.

We usually ask our volunteers to complete a health questionnaire and visual perception tasks on a computer and on paper. The visual perception tasks are activities like counting dots on a page, recognising images of objects, or drawing a geometrical shape. The sessions can take place online, at your home or at the university. A session takes about 30 min to 1 hour, but we can usually split it up in shorter sessions if you like.

We currently conduct our appointments remotely through video calling. You only need basic computer knowledge and we will give you detailed instructions. We can provide technical support over the phone. You can also have someone join you to help with the technology.

If you have any questions about our research or are interested in taking part, please do not hesitate to contact Kathleen at kathleen.vancleef@durham.ox.ac.uk or click the button below.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement is sharing the benefits of research with the public. I engage with the public in various ways. In the past, I have visited local primary schools around Newcastle to deliver workshops on how the eye and the brain work together to see. For adults I have co-organised a ‘Science of 3D’ event and ‘Stroke Awareness Day’ with lectures and hands-on activities. Together with a game developer, I held workshops on how we make computer games. I regularly set up a stall at local science museums to demonstrate my latest research and let people have a go. I also participate in national events like ‘Brain Awareness Week’ and ‘Big Bang’.

Want to organise something together?

I am happy to come to your event or school to deliver a workshop, lecture or set up a stall. I can cover topics like the brain, the eyes, neuropsychology, stroke, and brain injury in children. Get in touch to check for availability.


Public Involvement

What really brings a spark in my eyes is Public Involvement. Public Involvement is research carried out WITH and BY the public. You are playing a vital role in the research. Your voice influences the research outcome. You are a partner in the process. I consult patients and the public on

  • what research topics are important to them
  • what I should prioritise
  • how I can improve our communication with our participants
  • how I can improve their experience with us
  • how I can boots recruitment
  • how I should communicate the research results with the public
  • and more

Public Involvement can happen in various ways. Sometimes it is a two minute discussion on Twitter, sometimes we have a chat over the phone or I will hold a workshop bringing together a small group of stroke survivors or parents of children with vision problems. Some people become very involved and attend regular meetings where we brainstorm and discuss our latest research. Often it is a very pleasant social event too.

Do you want to get involved?

We have opportunities for people with lived experience of a stroke to get involved as an artist or photographer. See the posters below for more details.

Does that sound like something you might be interested in. Get in touch and I will happily give you more details.

Other involvement opportunities can range from a 5 minute chat once to attending several meetings a year. It is all up to you and can change over time.