Citizen science is social!

Evening event with hands-on citizen social science

Citizen science is a lively and shared experience where public discussion and social interactions become part of the joint research. Also, social sciences and humanities research plays a growing role in citizen science and transformative social change becomes an essential dimension of impact. It is therefore time to talk about citizen SOCIAL science! We want to invite you to spend the evening with us by offering you a wide menu where you can choose among hands-on activities and debates related to the social dimensions in citizen science practices. 

How do participatory social sciences and humanities work? What are the roles of civil society organisations in a citizen social science? Can citizen science be co-designed with groups in a vulnerable situation and respond to their social concerns? How can joint research lead to new policies or collective action? In which way can these social dimensions in citizen science help to contribute to SDGs?


Evening Programme

18:00 Finger Food (and drinks, kindly provided by the main conference)

19:00 We’ll start the evening with an introduction on the topic of Citizen Social Sciences and an overview of the landscape. 

19:30 Then five parallel workshops offer a chance to experience Citizen Social Science in practice through hands-on activities and fireside chats: 

(1) Research Forum “What the heck is the ‘Social’ in Citizen Social Science?”, facilitated by Tanja Ehmann, Susan Schröder & Stefan Thomas, University of Applied Science Potsdam

***Participation: only onsite at Kulturbrauerei; Language: English***

The workshop will introduce the Research Forum as a method for Citizen Social Science by doing it practically. The basic question that will be tackled in this workshop will be: “What is the ‘Social’ in Citizen Social Science?“ Participants will get involved in a micro-process by collecting, elaborating and discussing corresponding questions at several “topic tables”. The results of these discussion groups will be presented.


(2) Inclusion, sustainability & citizen social science - fireside chat on challenges and learnings, facilitated by Claudia Göbel & Justus Henke, Hof Halle-Wittenberg

***Participation: online & onsite; Language: English***

We’ll have a fireside chat with two researchers who work on realising inclusion, empowerment and civic participation through citizen social science. They will share insights and reflections on why this is especially important for sustainability and are looking forward to discussing with you!

> Citizen Science for sustainable consumption and production, Magdalena Meißner, TU Berlin

Citizen science projects in the social sciences deal with the experience and actions of people and groups; they engage co-researchers to observe themselves and their social environment. In this way, they have the potential to stimulate the reflection of consumption practices in one's own everyday life and social environment and to contribute to a change towards sustainability. The contribution will use the citizen science project REPARA/KUL/TUR as an example to discuss how alternative forms of consumption, such as prosuming and DIY, can be stimulated by repairing and enabling participation in sustainable production and consumption systems in the medium term.

> Working with youth at risk of social exclusion, Reidun Norvoll, Oslo Metropolitan University

In Europe, a substantial number of youths are at risk for social exclusion. Knowledge of positive drivers and effective strategies for inclusion is needed. Co-creative youth-focused citizen social science might contribute to the SDGs by providing new scientific knowledge, empower individuals and communities, and stimulate positive social change. But how can disadvantaged youths - often not close to science - be engaged and participate actively together with the local community? What are the outcomes of such citizen social science? These are some of the key questions that will be addressed in the upcoming EU-project YOUCOUNT.


(3) Co-defining digital platforms to provide actionable insights along SDGs: mental health care provision and environmental justice, facilitated by Valeria Arza & Josep Perelló

***Participation: online; Language: English***

We’ll combine a couple of hands-on activities from the EU project CoAct (Codesigning citizen social science for collective Action). We will share the ways we are shaping citizen social science understood as participatory research co-designed and directly driven by citizen groups sharing a social concern. We will share the first towards the co-definition of two digital platforms related to mental health care (Barcelona) and environmental justice (Buenos Aires). 

> The co-creation of a chatbot for improving mental health care, Franziska Peter & Josep Perelló, OpenSystems Universitat de Barcelona

Central process of the CoAct for Mental Health is the co-creation of a Telegram chatbot. The ambition is to allow for a public and collective conversation where persons with a mental condition and their families are placed at the center. We offer an experiential workshop with a beta version of the chatbot. We will share the process of co-creating the chatbot with persons with a mental condition and their families, being co-researchers. It is aimed to enhance the power of collective intelligence and the ability to provide actionable insights into mental health care provision. Do you want to join us?

> CoAct for environmental justice, Valeria Arza & Guillermina Actis, Universidad San Martin & Pia Marchegiani, Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Argentina)

We address socio-environmental problems in a highly contaminated area in the Matanza Riachuelo basin where 6 million people live in vulnerable conditions. Our action builds from a previous experience (Que Pasa Riachuelo, QPR, 2011-2015) for monitoring the implementation of sanitation policy. The platform enabled a political process that pushed the national authority in the basin to gradually start publishing georeferenced information including policy performance indicators. We are currently co-defining a new version through participatory workshops. We expect to promote political mobilisation towards sustainability in co-defined priorities and through the co-creation of information considered relevant to achieve those goals. Here we present initial activities in the co-design process which identify the platform’s purpose, potential uses and obstacles.


(4) Participatory approach centring life-world experiences, facilitated by Mariam Malik & Teresa Wintersteller, University of Vienna

***Participation: online; Language: English***

In this hands-on workshop session we aim to use materials of one’s own life-world as a starting point to discuss processes of scientific knowledge production. By doing so, we make scientific processes transparent and illustrate how science is embedded in everyday experiences. This approach highlights that the process from the concrete experience to abstract scientific knowledge can be made accessible to everyone. Since one prominent aspect of Citizen Social Science is the involvement of citizens, we want to enhance the bridging of scientific knowledge and the day-to-day experiences.


(5) Sustainable living in city and villages / Nachhaltiges Leben in Stadt und Dörfern, facilitated by Susann Hippler, Hof Halle-Wittenberg 

***Participation: online; Language: German***

Lokale Zusammenarbeit gewinnt mit immer globaleren Herausforderungen an Bedeutung. In diesem Workshop, der einen hands-on Teil mit einem Erfahrungsbericht kombiniert, stellen zwei Initiativen mit urbanem sowie ländlichem Fokus ihre Lösungsansätze vor.

> Nachhaltige Mierendorff-INSEL in Berlin: Subsidiarität und Eigenverantwortung, Andrea Isermann-Kühn & Rainer Leppin, DorfwerkStadt e.V.

Die Nachhaltige Mierendorff-INSEL ist eine Initiative des Stadtteils rund um den Mierendorffplatz in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Ziel unseres Ansatzes ist es, mit Subsidiarität und Eigenverantwortung größtmögliche Nachhaltigkeitseffekte vor Ort zu erreichen. Wir setzen auf die konsequente Anwendung einer Beteiligungsstruktur und orientieren uns an den Nachhaltigkeitszielen (SDGs) der UN. Von punktuellen Beteiligungsformen über thematische Arbeitsgruppen und regelmäßiger Gremienarbeit beispielsweise im INSEL-Zukunftsteam sind die Einwohner*innen mit ihrer Expertise an der Stadtteilentwicklung beteiligt - und entlasten durch ihr Wissen und die Übernahme von Entscheidungen die bezirkliche Verwaltung, oftmals auch das bezirkliche Budget. Im Vortrag stellen wir unsere Aktivitäten vor.

> Plattform Landinventur: Digitale Bestandsaufnahme, Eleonore Harmel, studio amore / Thünen-Institut für Regionalentwicklung

Wie sieht das Landleben des 21. Jahrhunderts aus? Diese Frage will die Landinventur beantworten und gibt dabei den Menschen selbst die Möglichkeit, ihr Dorf zu kartieren und einen interaktiven Fragebogen zu vier Themenbereichen zu beantworten. Mit dieser Bestandsaufnahme soll in der Wissenschaft, Planung und Öffentlichkeit ein genaues und vielfältiges Bild des Zustands, der Eigenheiten und Potenziale des ländlichen Raumes entstehen. Gleichzeitig ist die Landinventur ein Tool für lokale Beteiligungsprozesse und kann regionale Transformation anstoßen. Im Workshop geben wir einen kurzen Einblick in die Funktionsweise und Nutzung der digitalen Landinventur-Plattform.


20:15 We’ll have a short break for everybody to refresh.

20:30 We’ll come together again to share and reflect experiences from the workshops

21:00 End of the event


Participation in the evening session works through the main conference software & for two sessions onsite.

If you have any questions related to the evening event, please contact Claudia Göbel claudia.goebel[at] or Josep Perelló josep.perello[at]

The event is co-organised by SoCiS project (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research -BMBF- Förderkennzeichen 16ITA210) and CoAct project (funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 873048). Technical support, event staff and finger food at the venue as well as registration fees for those who sent in videos for the call is being supported through the SoCiS project.


Social Citizen Science        BMFSFJ         CoAct