UK Case Study
The UK (KWMC) case study focuses on empowering the Knowle West community in Bristol through citizen science, working with local residents and stakeholders to address important issues using data. The Bristol Approach for Citizen Science, a people and issue-led methodology, guides the project and promotes citizen involvement in research and innovation. Key learnings from the project include the importance of consistent readings from air quality sensing equipment, empowering citizen scientists to create their own narratives, and effectively engaging community members through various workshops and activities, such as sonification and Minecraft.
The goal of the UK (KWMC) case study is work with a local community (Knowle West, Bristol) to explore issues of citizen empowerment in conducting and communicating science by collecting and using data to address issues of importance to them.
Within the UK Case Study local residents are the citizen scientists and they are collaborating with other stakeholders (e.g. scientists, artists, local government) on science communication activities. The learning is being used to inform and develop The Bristol Approach for Citizen Science, which has a focus on understanding how a people and issue led approach supports finding and telling stories in data and how this may lead to differences in the types of stories diverse communities want to tell from data. At the heart of The Bristol Approach is the City Commons, where resources, tools, expertise and technologies are shared and used for common good.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
The location of the UK case study is in Bristol with a particular focus on working with residents and people who work in the neighbourhood of Knowle West. Knowle West is in the Filwood ward of the City of Bristol and in 2019 the population was 13,900 according to the Statistical Ward Profile published by Bristol City Council (2020) and there are around 5500 households. The area has lots of families, as the typical housing stock is 3 bed homes. According to the ward profile it has a significantly higher proportion of young people aged 0-15 years. They make up 25.1% of the population compared to 18.5% on average in Bristol. Therefore, the UK case study has a focus on working with local families.
METHODS AND TOOLS
At the heart of ParCos project is empowering citizens for participation in research and innovation using participatory citizen science. The UK Case Study is guided by the Bristol Approach – which is a methodology with six steps, as shown on Figure 3, and is being updated as Framework for Citizen Science in the ParCos project. The starting point for The Bristol Approach is the belief that citizens should have a leading role in imaging, designing and building their future.
The aim for Stage 2 of the UK ParCos case study was to focus on the following steps of The Bristol Approach:
Step 3 – Designing: tools and resources, to better understand and address the issue
Step 4 - Testing :what you’ve designed in a “real world” environment.
Step 5 - Sharing: what was created and learned; celebrating what you’ve achieved.
Step 6 - Reflecting : on if and how you reached your goals, and what you might focus on next time
The Stage 2 activities have built upon the learning from the ReThink ReMake ReCycle activities in Stage 1. They have also fed into the development of The Bristol Approach for Citizen Science (the report for Deliverable 2.4 (published in Dec 2022). The activities and their development took place between May 2021 and October 2022.
We continued to engage with our existing RRR participants, as well as engaging with more people from the local community (Knowle West in South Bristol) as well as communities in the Ashley ward, east Bristol.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Air Pollution is of high concern in Bristol and the Ashley ward is no exception. An increase in people using wood burners to heat their homes and the effect on health and the enviroment has motivated this work by trying to get a better understanding of the different sources of particulate pollution. It is data driven and citizen focused.
10 Citizen Scientists have built their own low cost DIY sensors and have been monitoring air pollution at their homes since November 2021. This indicative data is being analysed and monitored alongside the data from high accuracy sensors in the city by Bristol City Council.
KWMC supported the engagement with citizens in the Ashley Ward, including the citizen scientists through-out the project.
- To ensure more consistent readings from the air quality sensing equipment – consider solar powered devices with batteries connected to LoRaWAN
- We can empower the citizen scientists more to be able to create their own narratives with the data from their own sensors, to be able to talk to others about their findings in a meaningful way.
- People attend these workshops with an agenda of their own. Be flexible to adapt the workshop to accommodate experiences brought on the day.
- Plan the workshops with trusted organisations who work in the area, our family focused workshop was very successful as a family day, with really good engagement and enthusiasm from the participants. Word of mouth invitations and Whatsapp groups worked very effectively.
- Eventbrite invites is not necessarily a sign of attendance numbers, we had much higher booking numbers, thank our attendance numbers showed.
- People appreciated the hot meals which we provided with the workshops
- Telling data stories using the sonification technique and through the body experientially opens up the participants’ understanding of the data on a deep personal level. By experiencing the data through one’s senses it is demystified. This gives a person a new position/point of view from which to approach the information.
- Test the venue booked for acoustics when performing a piece of music.
- The sonification physical workshops were so fun, a good tool to take into any other data workshops.
- To get better attendance numbers, schools might need to be considered, but this might hold firewall issues with the server. Promoting it with STEM clubs potentially.
- Put people straight into the game to keep their interest.
- The game has a lot of teaching potential.
- Include a physical activity outside of the room to support the team building design activities.
- Having the map of the exact neighbourhood is an exciting feature, but the game is transferable to other neighbourhoods in Bristol as well.
- Keep it fun!
See more details about the UK case study at the full deliverable document describing the case study.