Three days of co-creation and discussions officially kicked-off the project! With all the partners gathered for the first time together, we focused on getting to know each other and on discussing critical aspects of NEWSERA.
The meeting took place from the 4th to the 6th of February in CosmoCaixa, the science museum of Barcelona; it was hosted by the Project Coordinator Science for Change.
On the first day, all partners provided a presentation of their work-package activities. The consortium was joined by Ms. Raluca Iagher, the Project Officer from the Research Executive Agency, who gave a presentation on the Science with and for Society call of Horizon 2020 and shared insights on the management of H2020 projects. Ms. Aleksandra Hebda, from the Open Science Unit, DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission, attended remotely and presented the policy perspective.
On the second and third day, we decided to put participatory workshops to the test, since co-creation spaces will be a crucial component of NEWSERA, especially in the form of the #CitSciComm Labs.
Local experts − including citizen science practitioners, data journalists and science communicators − joined us to workshop new communication strategies addressed to quadruple-helix stakeholders. With their help, we simulated the working environment of the #CitSciComm Labs.
First, we focused on the challenges that citizen science projects face in their communication with different stakeholders. To do so, we used the 35 game: participants were asked to write down the challenges they were personally facing; then each challenges was shared with other participants, one at a time, and assigned points based on its relevance.
At the end of the game, we found that many participants shared the same issues:
- How do you make participants in CS projects feel valuable and useful, especially after contributing the first time? And how do you motivate them to keep contributing?
- How do you demonstrate that CS projects generate reliable data, especially to scientists and to policy makers?
- How do you make sure you are being inclusive, and that you are reaching underrepresented groups?
- How do we find balance between the complexity of the subject and the accessibility of the message?
- And also: Raising awareness. Addressing ethical issues. Facilitating data collection. Funding.
Then, we selected some pilot projects among those of the CS practitioners at the meeting, and we worked in groups to identify innovative communication strategies, focusing on one particular stakeholder for each group.
On the following day, we simulated a co-creation lab addressed to science communicators and data journalists, aimed at identifying the opportunities and challenges they may share with citizen science practitioners.
First, journalists and CS experts worked in two separate groups on different issues, respectively:
- Which is the main challenge that you face when working with citizen generated data?
- How can we use citizen generated data to produce attractive stories for journalists?
Then, all participants joined an open discussion and identified a list of common challenges and and ideas.
The discussion also helped the consortium to re-shape some aspects of the project. Since the collaboration of journalists and CS experts proved to be beneficial, the idea to have one of the #CitSciComm Labs dedicated exclusively to journalists was scrapped; instead, the partners decided to include a small group of media professionals in each of the Labs.