Data provides neutral and direct representations of the world, but is also involved in politics, culture, money and power. Citizen science journalism is an emerging concept that brings together citizen science and data journalism. Within the framework of DATA4CitSciNews, the event organized by the NEWSERA and ENJOI projects, Science for Change inaugurated an exhibition to highlight the importance of citizen science journalism.

 

Cooperating in the definition of the information needs of citizens and designing the collection of adequate sets of data in a participatory and transparent manner can contribute to their use to promote change for the benefit of local communities and advocate for democracy.

The #DATA4CitSciNews exhibition, curated by Joana Magalhães from Science for Change, was inaugurated at “The Green Parrot” gallery on November 28, 2022. The exhibition featured interactive installations, co-creation processes and research methods that open a debate on how citizens and professionals in the journalistic world can come together to face current needs, especially in times of misinformation and fake news, and explore the potential of visual narratives, data journalism and the principles of quality scientific journalism.

 

1. The citizen science journalism cloud

In this first interactive space, visitors are invited to co-create a definition of citizen science journalism. Through a code, visitors have to contribute by responding to what are the most important values that this new concept must respect.

exhibition

2. Citizen science journalism under construction

What data, from whom and by what means? Who has the ability to benefit from it? How can journalists report reality in a much deeper and more meaningful way to benefit citizens and communities? In this second interactive module, visitors can enter their opinions through tablets connected to printers, thus generating new information.

 

3. Beyond the PSI’s

The priority of communication and scientific journalism is to respond to the needs of society and allow the public to fully exercise their rights as citizens Principles, Standards and Indicators (PSI) must be at the center of a solid ethical and deontological approach to scientific communication and journalism. The principles are fundamental truths to guide scientific communication and journalism; a set of standards should respond to each principle as general recommendations; and finally, the indicators are a practical way to measure and monitor the path towards the successful use of the principles and standards. Throughout 8 panels, the different PSIs are explored, also inviting visitors to reflect on possible PSIs from the perspective of the new concept of citizen scientific journalism.

4. If toxic air is a monument to slavery, how do we take it down?

Projection of a 30-minute film authored by the London studio “Forensic Architecture” in collaboration with RISE St. James, which tells about research on toxicity in post-plantation landscapes and environmental racism. Around the world, monuments to slave masters declare defiant allegiance to white supremacy. State authorities are finally bowing to longstanding activist demands to ‘take ‘em down’. Yet as the monuments recede from vision, the structural legacy of settler colonialism and slavery remains intact. In the US state of Louisiana, along 137 kilometres of the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, lies a region once called ‘Plantation Country’, now known as the ‘Petrochemical Corridor’. Over 200 (and counting) industrial plants occupy the fallow footprints of formerly slave-powered sugarcane plantations.

Today, in the shadow of those plants, neighboring communities – mostly historic ‘freetowns’ inhabited by the descendants of people enslaved on those same grounds – breathe some of the most toxic air in the US. As industry poisons their air, it crushes the remains of their ancestors. Across the ruined mosaic of plantations, hundreds of Black cemeteries face desecration by frenzied development.

 

“This exhibition represents a sample of interactive installations produced by the Science for Change creative team, and audio-visual material from other reference studios, in which we have also incorporated results from the citizen science projects participating in NEWSERA, such as images of light pollution from Cities At Night, at the journalism cloud facility”, says exhibition curator and NEWSERA Project Manager Joana Magalhaes. “In the coming months we will continue working together with the creative producer of the exhibition, Isidora Fernández, on new modules that will include a strong data visualization component derived from the NEWSERA pilots.” 

DATA4CitSciNews is an exhibition produced by Science for Change, for the European projects NEWSERA and ENJOI within the framework of the DATA4CitSciNews event: Data Journalism, Disinformation and Citizen Science.