Designing Public Engagement Facilities and Spaces

When space and place are kept top of mind during the design and development of university public engagement infrastructure, a sense of collaboration greets participants the moment they walk in to the finished space.

Join Dr. Mike Hefferan, Professor Emeritus and former Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, as he presents his case study on the development of the Emera Innovation Exchange at Memorial University’s Signal Hill Campus.

Dr. Hefferan will be joined by Sara Woods, Director, Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Ann Browne, Associate Vice-President Facilities, Memorial University, in a panel discussion about the processes, challenges, and lessons in developing a public engagement platform using the principles of public engagement.

Hosted by Jennifer Adams, Interim Director, Strategic Operations (Signal Hill Campus) and Conference Services, Memorial University, who led the strategic development of the location now known as the Emera Innovation Exchange at Signal Hill Campus, the panel will draw upon research, and experiences from Australia, the United States, Canada and others, to explore the ups and downs of taking on such an ambitious project and the ultimate public engagement benefits of ensuring collaboration is the focus, right from the start.

After the panel, session guests are invited to join St. John’s city councillor, Dave Lane, on a walking tour of a downtown St. John’s initiative to develop a community-led, shared workspace, specifically structured to foster the best aspects of entrepreneurship, creativity, and contribution. Dave will tell the story of how the project came to be and describe this unique approach to "hyper local" economic development and arts-focused business innovation.

This session will involve participants in the People, Place and Public Engagement Conference, and is also open to students and anyone from industry, government and community who would like to explore these issues with speakers from St. John’s and from across the province and the country.

The session will run from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. October 26, at the Emera Innovation Exchange at Memorial’s new Signal Hill Campus, with the tour taking place at the end of the session. Transportation to downtown St. John’s for the tour is available.

This is a free session. To RSVP, please email Cherie at and specify that you’d like to attend the infrastructure session.

Interested in learning more about People, Place, and Public Engagement?

Our full program is available here, and you can register for the whole conference here.


People, Place, and Public Engagement

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000