Hive Minds: experiences of ‘citizen science’ and community research (16 October 2023)

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A panel discussion will bring together reflections from a range of perspectives (speakers TBC), followed by an audience Q&A and breakout discussions and networking.


This is the first in a series of short discussion papers produced by the Institute for Community Studies to share learnings and reflections from the UKRI-funded Citizen Science Collaboration Grants.



Posted on: 9 October 2023 Authors: Alice BellSiân WhyteMarion OvesonAmelia Clayton,

This paper focusses on the experience of doing ‘citizen science’. This involves exploring what it means and feels like to be involved in ‘citizen science’ from a range of perspectives. The paper explores cross-cutting themes from the programme, alongside stories from CSCG projects, sharing reflections and questions to support further inquiry.

First, the paper highlights how experiences are relational, contributing to something ‘greater than the sum of their parts’:

• Much of the value of participatory methods is in the shared endeavour to incorporate a greater breadth of experiences and views in the research process

• ‘Citizen science’ methods often strive to enhance the reciprocity – and limit the transactional nature – of research relationships

• Negotiating relationships with and between ‘citizen’ researchers can be a ‘balancing act’, which requires significant resource and effort Then,

this paper considers how experiences are affective, imbued in emotion and feeling:

• There is a shared understanding that involving ‘citizens’ in research processes often feels messy and complex, encouraging creativity, innovation and experimentation

• However, pushing the boundaries of ‘traditional’ practice can carry a sense of responsibility that can have profound impacts on the wellbeing of those involved in research projects

• The risk associated with methodological innovation is not necessarily rewarded in the current research and innovation system

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