Our ECSA 2020 Citizen Science Conference Experience - going virtual!

Monday, 21 September 2020 19:57

From 6th to 10th of September, the European Citizen Science Conference ECSA 2020 took place in the virtual space. Since we have been designing and developing the SPOTTERON Citizen Science platform for apps and interactive toolkits since 2014 already, it was not our first conference on Citizen Science - at least for Philipp, who is quite a regular in terms of visiting conferences. But this year, things rarely have been normal, and so the virtual event of ECSA 2020 was something new to all of us. Here are some first impressions by 2 conference newbies and a regular:

Team AgnesMilewski SPOTTERON"So much input, so so much to learn.."

The ECSA2020 conference was first for me in many respects: not only was it the first time I had the chance to attend it for the first time, but it was also the first time I participated in a conference entirely online. I think it is fair to say that we all learned a lot during the event, and it's not easy to pick out one single thing that impressed me most. It was great meeting so many interesting people from all around the world and to learn about their projects. Of course, many projects revolved about the very current and important topic of climate change and what we all can do about it. New technologies and the involvement and participation of citizens working together with scientists offers many possibilities of how to prevent it's worst outcomes. I look forward to reading up more on some of the projects presented and, if possible, take part in some of them as a citizen scientist myself.

Team DominikEssletzbichler SPOTTERON"Shaping future perspectives together - that's my outcome of ECSA2020."

For me, as a designer, the European Citizen Science Conference was a new experience. I got many new insights into 'state of the art' Citizen Science technologies and impressions on how scientists and communities all over the world are working together on relevant issues. Discussing possibilities, shaping future perspectives and talking about how design can influence participants and scientists - these were the most exciting topics for me personally. Especially the keynote speech on Wednesday about 'Hybrid Intelligence' raised questions we will be concerned with in the next decades. How can we use artificial intelligence to create new solutions? How can we educate citizens by democratizing science? I guess it is in both hands of designers and in the hands of scientists to create technologies, that make optimal use of AI as well as of human intelligence combined.
- Dominik

 Team PhilippHummer SPOTTERON"The online space reflected so much community-spirit in Citizen Science!"

Well, obviously it was not my first conference about Citizen Science and not my first ECSA conference either (back in 2018, we even have built the framework for the current conference's website;) - but each ECSA conference is quite a unique experience. Especially in current times, when everything had to move online. First I was sceptical if such an event would work in an online-only environment but I was quite surprised, how well it worked. The possibilities of the online world have been incorporated well by the conference organization team. The chat beside the sessions' video streams was a very active place, something which could not have been possible in the "real world" and it was wonderful to not only listen but to be part of the session.But the core experience for me personally was the social zoom space in between the talks and interactive workshops. To allow direct communication on a very open basis was such a great decision, resulting in not only having a chain of interesting talks and presentations but also to get in contact with participants directly. Not only on occasions but to feel as being part of a Conference Community. I loved the experience and the virtual approach added something unique to the conference. And the organizers gave that special something the space it need.




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