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A fun and interactive way to explain to local communities about research initiatives happening in their area. An activity like this can be used to showcase what research is going on, and how these initiatives directly impact the community, as well as provide an opportunity for people to directly interact with those involved in this research.

This can either be conducted with the researchers acting as the tour guides or with an additional facilitator who acts as MC for the bus tour, providing additional information and entertaining bus passengers in-between contributions from the researchers.

Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Families

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



These guided bus tours allow for participants to learn about the research happening in their local area, as well as an opportunity to relate the research directly to their everyday experience. It also provides a platform for a dialogue to occur between these parties, either through a QnA session or general conversation and networking. It is most effective when participants explore the sites together with a researcher.


When you have decided on the area to conduct your bus tour, you will need to contact researchers who have initiatives happen in your chosen area. Working alongside a University or a similar research institute will streamline this process greatly.

Ideally the bus tour will mostly talk about a particular topic or theme, but this will depend on the research initiatives happening within your area.

You will then plan out your journey to best showcase the area and ideally allow time for discussion in between sites.

You will most likely want a 20-minute period before your first stop, to allow for an introductory presentation/explanation of the subject and how the event will be run. When you arrive at your first stop, researchers can either explain from the bus, or passengers can leave to get a better view of the location. Researchers will give a short presentation, and then while travelling to the next stop, further discussion can happen. This will be repeated as required by your bus tour.

You will need to hire an appropriately sized bus, and decide if you need a microphone, voice amplifier etc.


The Swedish organisation Ideell Arena arranged a bus trip to a number of urban gardening sites in order to show how similar types of community projects can be organised in completely different ways, ranging from an uncoordinated guerrilla gardening movement to a community running a 100-year–old allotment. The guide was a researcher who talked about the history of the movement in Sweden and how urban gardening has evolved over the years. At the various sites, the researcher interviewed someone representing the initiative.

On another tour, participants were shown various types of religious initiatives. They visited two places, one where Catholics, Muslims and Protestants carry out social work together and one where spiritual seekers can meet to discover their religion. Many other themes can of course also work, for example, local history etc. Bus tours were also run during Researcher’s Night in Stockholm 2013.