Event Details

March 24


01:00 pm - 02:00 pm

Data empowerment and advocacy for youth through participatory science communications

Dr Annika Wolff, LUT University, 24th March, 1-2pm.


Too often, science communication is uni-directional and targeted towards an audience – but with no way for the audience to connect and feel part of the process. At the same time, young people learn the scientific method in school, but rarely have access to current and ongoing data or the research that is being done with it. The end result is that the general public do not become empowered to utilise data and participate fully in science.

Yet young people show a remarkable ability to understand both the potential and limitations of data, if they are provided with structured activities. They are capable of using real and complex datasets collected as part of research, and may even use it to advocate on topics that interest them, whether it is large global topics such as combatting climate change, or lobbying to get solar panels fitted to the roof of their school.

This talk will give examples of the ways in which youth can use and advocate with real, complex data sets drawing examples from a number of initiatives over the last half a decade, in both the UK and more recently in Finland. It will describe ongoing research into developing new approaches for  participatory science communication, which aims to develop scientific collaborations between schools and university research and at the same time, explore new ways in which data can connect people to their local environment. The hope is that youth will learn from an early age that science is an ongoing participatory process that they both can – but more crucially want to – be an active part of.


Annika Wolff is an assistant professor whose research is in the newly emerging field of human-data interaction, at the intersection between complex data, machine and human learning. Her research focuses on engaging people with data, such as from smart cities, and in supporting non-experts in designing products and services that use data. She has expertise in using inquiry-based methods and co-creation, in developing applications of data science and in the use of tangibles, creativity and games to support learning. She has previously led work in developing and piloting new methods for teaching data literacy skills in UK primary and secondary schools and in understanding how open data can be utilized in education. She has many years of experience working within UK and European funded projects, combining applications of data science to human understanding. She has published in a number of international journals and is an active member of research communities related to community-based innovation and HCI.  LUT University

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