How do you make Citizen Science more inclusive and rigorous? What common challenges do Citizen Science projects share?
We work with on-the-ground citizen science projects that address pollution as part of the H2020 funded ACTION project. Last week, eleven ACTION citizen science projects joined us at IGB on the banks of Lake Müggelsee, to workshop making citizen science more participatory, more inclusive and more citizen-led.
The Accelerator Kick-Off meeting welcomed the six incoming ACTION pilot projects, who will work with us over a six month period, alongside the existing action pilot projects.
The meeting oriented around a series of participatory sessions, two with invited external experts, through which our citizen science teams honed their projects. Orsola de Marco from London’s Open Data Institute, helped our teams hone their project design using methods adapted from business design. Introducing the topic of power relations and accessibility in citizen science, Kathryn Nawrockyi from Improper explained the challenges of including diverse stakeholders from the outset, which can affect data collection, results, and impacts of projects. The barriers to entry for projects were further explored in a workshop by IGB’s Kat Austen, facilitated by ACTION Partner DRIFT’s Annelli Janssen.
The workshop allowed projects to identify previously neglected stakeholders, such as the polluters themselves – mining companies, shipping companies and dock workers – alongside more expected cohorts such as those with a lower level of education, or those without access to technology. On this basis, the projects developed new strategies for reaching out to include more diverse stakeholders on a case by case basis.
Following these sessions, we explored how to keep a community engaged, best practice in decision-making in citizen science projects, open data, data management and impact. All the workshop sessions will feed into the ACTION Toolkit, which will be developed over the course of the 3 year project through co-design with the ACTION Citizen Science projects.