What does meaningful participation look like in Citizen Science?

On October 7th 2020 I was invited to be a keynote in The Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) CitSciOzOnline Early-Mid Career Researcher (EMCR) 1/2 day symposium. The aim of the symposium was to unite citizen science-aligned researchers in Australia to interrogate and explore research and practice in citizen science across the country. It featured keynotes, lightning talks, Q&A, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities, to build a community of practice in citizen science research.

Photo of frog on a banana, to illustrate  a project called FrogID, which used citizen scientists to map the decline in Sydney of the iconic Australian Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea).

My abstract
Research can change the world, but how it is undertaken is not always beneficial. First Nations critiques of Western science have suggested that many aspects of research resemble colonial processes and are extractive, taking raw contextualised material from people, and making them abstract and universal for the benefit of researchers or institutions. Building on participatory action research and community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, where researchers collaborate with community partners to investigate issues, citizen science offers a new iteration of co-producing knowledge and participating in the scientific archive outside the university. However, there are also concerns that a participatory agenda is the outcome of reduced funding, and that underfunded research institutions are using unpaid labour to produce knowledge for no cost. This presentation covers principles for working with community partners in authentic, collaborative, sensitive and culturally safe ways.

Cultural safety in the arts

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Robyn Higgins and I wrote a chapter about cultural safety in the arts in an exciting new book about community engaged arts practice The Relationship is the Project edited by Jade Lillie with Kate Larsen, Cara Kirkwood and Jax Jacki Brown.

Image from the cover of the book The Relationship is the Project. The book is on a wooden table.

It is exciting to be in such a fabulous line up with folks like Genevieve Grieves about working in First Nations contexts; Caroline Bowditch on access and disability; Dianne Jones, Odette Kelada and Lilly Brown on racial literacy; and other contributors including: Esther Anatolitis, Adolfo Aranjuez, Paschal Berry, Lenine Bourke, Tania Cañas, Rosie Dennis, Alia Gabres, Eleanor Jackson, Samuel Kanaan-Oringo, Fotis Kapetopoulos, Kate Larsen, Lia Pa’apa’a, Anna Reece, Daniel Santangeli, and Jade Lillie.

Table of contents from the book The Relationship is the Project

Here’s a tiny excerpt from our chapter to whet your appetite.

Why do we need cultural safety?
Australia is a white settler colony in which British invasion and colonisation have institutionalised whiteness. Like other sectors, this history is strongly reflected in the arts, including the ways our practitioners, organisations and institutions develop and deliver projects in collaboration with artists and communities.
Arts organisations often prioritise and centre whiteness. For people and communities who are not white, these organisations may not be seen as appropriate, accessible or acceptable, which can prevent participation and engagement.

Since I wrote this post the chapter has been edited and reprinted twice:

Artshub: Taking action for cultural safety and in The Arts Wellbeing Collective in their publication: Spotlight: The Arts Wellbeing Collective magazine – Edition 2 

 

 

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