Using Dialogue to have an Impact with your Research

event participant feedback is written on paper.

mae adborth y rhai a gymerodd ran wedi'i ysgrifennu ar bapur.

Amy Sanders has been piloting new approaches to ensure her research can have an impact. She delivered a full day of training for policy actors from across the Welsh third sector. It was called ‘Are you being heard? How the third sector can influence Welsh Government’

Policy leads from 35 different Welsh third sector organisations attended the training day.  The contents of the day covered diverse areas from how to achieve policy influence with Welsh Government, to equalities strategies and intersectionality in policymaking. 

There was also the opportunity for the third sector attendees to evaluate the series of short films that she has produced to make research accessible to policy actors, which are called Mug of Research. Don’t take her word for it. This is what attendees had to say in their own words: 

“Really informative day and thought-provoking, but done in a really interactive way. Great to meet other people.” 

“Fantastic event. Very engaging. As someone who works in influencing policy I learnt a lot from this event and from Amy. I look forward to watching more ‘research mugs’!”

“Very valuable discussions across a broad range of topics. Coming away with new ideas on planning a pincer movement on Welsh Government and the Senedd… Refreshed and renewed understanding about intersectionality. Thank you. Diolch!”

The event was funded and supported by Aberystwyth University’s Dialogue Centre and it took place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The Dialogue Centre director, Dr Jen Wolowic, played an important role in supporting the day. Dialogue was used throughout to enable attendees to discuss their own practice in the light of the research and to network with other attendees. 

The Bevan Foundation coordinated the event, including marketing and managing the attendance, and presenting a case study from their policy influencing work. Their staff are excellently placed to continue to roll out training based on this research in the future, which is well within the scope of their work. 

This was a win-win solution because all the organisations that sent representatives can benefit from applying the lessons of their research to their practice, and furthermore, it enabled us to invest in the Bevan Foundation, which is an exceptional third sector organisation, who are then able to sustain the impact of this research across Welsh third sector organisations exponentially.  

Tickets sold out within a week as it provided a much-needed resource for the cash-strapped sector. 

Amy is a member of the Third Sector Research Partnership committee and a trustee of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network, so she is enthusiastic about ensuring knowledge exchange that is beneficial for the third sector. 

“Great interactive session. So rare to be able to access good quality professional development for free in the third sector.” 

This training day was a follow on from a similar Mug of Research Lunchtime event that was organised for Aberystwyth University researchers called “Innovations in Achieving Policy Impact”

This university event was attended by Professor Colin McInnes, and his accounts of his own innovations in policy significantly augmented the session.

Attendees of both sessions were also allowed to preview the short Mug of Research special film about achieving policy impact, which will shortly be made publicly available once the policy actors’ recommendations have been implemented. As two third sector participants said of these films:  

“Brilliant. We need more of this. We rarely know about what research has taken place.”

“It’s a good form of communication especially in holding attention span of professionals.”


Dr. Amy Sanders

Dr. Jen Wolowic


Bevan Foundation

Dialogue Centre