1 - INTRODUCTION
Deliverable 5.6. (D5.6) provides an overview of the outputs of Case Study 3 in the ParCos project, which is led by LUT in Finland. The deliverable describes the actions taken to complete Task 5.3 in Work Package 5 (WP) – Case Studies and Communications of the ParCos Project. This report explains how the three case studies worked together and the design and the results of the Finland case study are explained in more detail, including how the various ParCos tool were used for this. For this we build on the results of stage 1 of the case studies, described in the previous deliverable 5.3, “data and content report”, published in April 2021 (month 16 of the project). Here, we will describe the enactment of the data drama event which built on the Veden Armoilla pilot online event previously reported in D5.3.
2 - DEVELOPING THE DATA DRAMA
Based on the initial pilot, the theme for the Finnish case study was exploration of water quality data that had been collected over 5 decades, about a Finnish lake in Lahti city, called Vesijärvi. This water data had provided the municipality with information over the years that it had used for devising strategies to improve the water. This had been supported by local scientists who helped to interpret the data for the municipality and help them to come up with these solutions, as well as supporting them to understand the impact, via the continuous monitoring and interpretation of results. While such actions have led to a marked improvement in the water quality, the ongoing monitoring is important in order to address any new emerging issues. These practices may also inform similar strategies in other lakes. Involving local communities and especially youth in stories about the lake are an important part of awareness about lake health into the future, especially as pollution is often difficult to spot especially in early stages.
The purpose of our data drama was therefore to support local youth to understand the impact of water pollution by using the story of the local lake Vesijärvi which got polluted in the past and then restoration program was performed. To validate the story, we used the lake data that had been collected since the 1970’s, during which time different parts of the lake had been monitored - at different depths - to test for levels of phosphorous and chlorophyll, as well as testing other minerals, water temperature and so forth.
The case study event was part of a larger event organized with the Lahti schools on that day, in which students chose a workshop to participate in based on a brief description of the event. All of the workshops had the common theme related to water quality, but explored it using different scientific perspectives, for example some workshops focused on crisis management, others on actually doing water testing and so on. Therefore, the recruitment to the event happened as part of the larger event. All of the workshops were 2 hours long.
The ParCos case study event took place in SDO Theatrum Olga, Lahti, Finland, with the title Veden Armoilla ‘at the mercy of water’. Theatrum Olga is an educational space following principles of phenomenon-based learning through convention of various arts-based methods. The data drama involved high school (recruited as part of that one-day workshop series), vocational school students (who were learning arts-based approaches for their own practice at Theatrum Olga), teachers, art-educators (who accompanies the high school students) and ParCos researchers. The workshop space was decorated as a future water laboratory. Staging and props were used to make this happen. To support it we also had a drama pretext about one main character called Näkkitär. We created some supporting videos about this character. This video was played before starting the event to create the atmosphere. The main intention of the drama framing was to make the whole process feel more immersive and also to fit with the theme of the lake data. The vocational school students co-created the drama space and the characters. They were trained to deliver the data activities to the participants (High School teenagers) and played the role of facilitators. They also got support from the researchers when needed. The whole workshop was video captured by a professional video documentarist. The video was analyzed after the event. The event preparation and background work started in Spring 2021 (the live-streamed testbed during March which was reported in D5.3). In August 2021 the co-creation began with 10 Theatrum Olga students, make-up artist & hairdresser, costume designer and drama teacher.
3 - INSIGHTS FOR PRACTITIONERS
Based on our experience in conducting this workshop and analyzing the process, we identify the following points:
1. Most important lesson we learned is the combination of arts-based framing alongside card games. None of this approach would work on its own. Comic visualization helped participants to understand the data quickly, but arts-based approach was crucial to support collaborative aspects of sensemaking, relating the data to own experience and coming up with ideas.
2. Data comic is a great tool to increase engagement and to quickly convey information. But it needs to be done by someone. In our case first by the water experts, then the researchers curated the data and created the games, after that the facilitators learned how to use the games with the participants. In each stage, the level of expertise and time required to engage with and understand the information was reduced. This implies that in a co-design scenario where many are already data and/or domain experts some of this effort may be unnecessary but if participants are neither data experts nor domain experts it is highly effective to convey information efficiently to inspire collaborative ideation.
4 - CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE CASE STUDY
Data is important, and it can be a useful resource in co-design for understanding the problem domain and make solutions. But the problem is how to make sense of this data to non-experts. Data comic is one of the approaches which makes this data sensemaking process easier. On the other hand, data drama lowers the barriers for data engagement. In our case study where we tried to make sense of water data to teenagers, data drama and data comic helped participants to understand what the situation is now and what happened in the past which helped them to predict what might happen in the future.
5 - LESSONS LEARNED FOR PARCOS
This section presents some lessons learned through the process of designing, conducting and evaluating the case study. First, this case study has formed a part of D3.6 in which the goal was to measure success or failure against different quality markers for participatory science stories. The outcomes of this detailed analysis can be found from that deliverable. Next, a number of approaches for curating data within participatory science stories were proposed by the ParCos curator cards, and these can be found in D2.3. The suggestions included presenting data in a comic strip form, building a chronological timeline of events from a dataset, and the use of roleplay. The ParCos curator principles were used to curate data for this case study and were demonstrated to be an engaging and informative way of presenting the data, as evidenced through the evaluation presented in this case study. The arts-based methods described in the arts-based guidebook (D3.5) have been used for designing the drama pre-text. A detailed description of all available methods can be found within the guidebook: https://hackmd.io/@art-based-methods-guidebook/HJMVIhHFL/%2FjcW-JYxQQz6noMxXwp0uAw
D3.3 delivers the ParCos storyteller which identifies the level of participation in storytelling. From this we can assess that the case study of Finland was at level C, such that participants interpreted data in order to progress the drama that they were immersed in. While it would in theory have been possible for them to add data to the storyline, for example expanding the attributes of the lake data that were being investigated, or even to add their own data storyline, the time-pressured nature of the event meant this was impractical.
Overall, the ParCos case study has demonstrated one possible approach for participatory science stories using data comics and data drama to engage youth in science. The approach has been informed by the various ParCos tools, and the process of designing the event and analyzing the event has also provided useful insight into these tools. In particular, the event has demonstrated in several ways how arts-based methods can be used for participatory science storytelling, even if the methods are not structured into such an elaborate and staged event every time.
Read more at the full case study description.