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Citizen Cyberscience Summit – workshop by Chris Church

The 3rd Citizen Cyberscience Summit takes place next week from Feb. 20 – 22, 2014, at the Royal Geographical  Society and at University College London. It’s going to be a fascinating event with 200 people from many nations working on issues around ‘Citizen Science’ with a strong focus on the ‘cyberscience’ aspects and also looking at ‘e-Participation’, Open Science, and Participatory Design.

You can find out all about it and register at

On Friday afternoon Chris is running a session (on ‘Citizen science? Community Development?’) and you’re invited.  It’s at UCL (just by Euston) at 5pm (not as bad as it sounds because it’s directly before the conference reception to which attendees are also invited!). You don’t have to come to any other sessions (though if you check out the programme you may find some that interest you).

The session will be interactive and look at how these high-tech approaches link to community engagement and development.  One key part of citizen science is about organised groups of local people gathering, assessing, mapping and using data. This ties in to all the work that I’ve done with Mapping for Change ( ) in recent years.

This work has huge potential for developing skills and capacity in the communities that take part. So far much of this has been done with enthusiasts who are keen and ready to engage.  Yet it is frequently the case that communities in places where science may help them improve their quality of life and health (e.g. areas of high pollution, noise, major redevelopment) lack the capacity and confidence they need to engage with and play an active role in this work. In the worst cases it may be that these communities may be further excluded and marginalised due to their lack of skills / capacity, leading to increased inequalities.

This is an issue and a challenge for all citizen scientists.  To resolve it the scientist ‘experts’ may need to build links and engage with community activists and development workers, who may have the skills to build long-term trust and engagement with the communities that the scientists seek to work with.

This session will consider how citizen science can understand, engage with, learn from and in turn teach those working directly with communities.  We’ll look at various UK examples including mapping of noise and air pollution and I hope that we’ll find some ways forward.

It’s in Room 217, in the UCL Chadwick Building (right by the main gate on Gower St.). If you’re interested, come along and get involved.

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