Citizen Nature Watch

Lead Research Organisation: Royal College of Art
Department Name: School of Design

Abstract

Digital making (a.k.a. 'maker culture' or the 'making movement') has gained impetus with the increasing availability of low-cost microprocessor-based platforms, affordable 3D printers and lasercutters, and an online community sharing best practice and crowdfunding new projects. This has the potential to enhance UK manufacturing, multiply access to new products and encourage new forms of DIY. So far, however, these technologies have mainly been confined to FabLabs, Maker Faires and Hackathons, and used primarily by self-identified 'geeks' for self-motivated projects. Only a small proportion of schoolchildren have access to making activities despite wide interest because expertise and resources are lacking, and more generally these technologies remain practically inaccessible to the majority of the population.

Citizen Naturewatch will bring digital making to a new and broad UK audience by linking with the BBC's award-winning Springwatch series to produce collections of bespoke digital devices that viewers can make at home.

Springwatch, produced by the BBC Natural History Unit over an intensive three-week period, is shot live from a home base usually located in a nature reserve. The core of the show consists of footage gathered from numerous outdoor cameras that film birds and animals throughout the site, as well as footage from other locations, all strung together, enlivened and enriched with commentary from expert presenters. The devices we build will add to this content by supporting people from around the UK to collect images, sounds and data that might be used on the show. The devices will be developed in consultation with the Natural History Unit as well as other relevant expert groups, and might include systems for photographing, weighing and even identifying local birds, or for tracking foxes, watching fish, or counting hedgehogs. The aim will be to produce designs that are engaging, easy and affordable to build, and which produce content worthy of showing on Springwatch.

We will produce an initial set of designs and kits to try out with 'seed groups' including makers, students and wildlife clubs. With their help we will refine the designs for release as open-source specifications to reach the widest possible audiences. With promotion by the BBC, and easy to follow instructions including videos, we anticipate them being taken up by hackers, hobbyists, student clubs and birdwatching groups all over the UK. Over the course of two Springwatch cycles, we will develop the designs, and the publics who engage with them, as a resource that can augment Springwatch's existing content.

Springwatch is already a world-leading example of public engagement with environmental science. This project will support this mission by allowing people to gather their own environmentally-relevant data and content. In the process, we will support public engagement with new technologies as, motivated by the chance to contribute to the show, a range of students, hackers and nature lovers try out, modify and build the devices we come up with. Thus Citizen Naturewatch will serve as a powerful impetus to involve a wide public to engage in digital making activities. With the BBC helping to publicise the project, activities in schools and maker spaces, and a domain that should attract a wide variety of younger and older participants, the impact will potentially be to inspire and inform a wide range of UK citizens to engage with the latest technologies.
 
Title Lewes Depot Film 
Description Attendees of an earlier workshop created a trailer of their work for the Cinema. These captured images will be played before every film for 2 weeks over the Easter break. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact This will reach families and all attendees of the Cinema over Easter 2019 period, reaching fresh audiences that have not engaged with the project from not expert, non academic audiences. 
URL https://lewesdepot.org/
 
Description At the moment the work is still in progress as it is due to launch in "spring" with a larger audience due to our original timeline.
Exploitation Route The nature of the project is that it is public, open and will be downloadable. So there will be plenty of opportunity for Academic, expert, lay user and distributed use. Some aspects that are foreseen and some that are open to serendipity.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

 
Description The Citizen Nature Watch project endeavours in encouraging engagement with surrounding nature through accessible technologies. The project is a collaboration between Goldsmiths Interaction Research Studio and The Royal College of Art, Design Products Programme. The work so far has engaged lead user groups, experts and professional practitioners gaining feedback in an iterative design process. The outputs have led to numerous community development and technology development that is repeatable both nationally and internationally. The work has established links to help the project reach scale to be used by far reaching parties, i.e. schools, community groups and professional practitioners. The impact from 2017-2018 has been the groundwork that can be scaled. The work is building the trust of communities that would not normally engage in this type of work and are reliant on the critique of their peers, for further scaling. The research team has already had impact with non-academic audiences and seeks to replicate this steming from the South East and London that it is currently operating within. Currently the design challenges we need to overcome to achieve impact is reliant on using opensource technology and clear instructions to diverse audiences that might be unfamiliar to that process. The current process has ensured "beta testing" from a user centred design perspective to ensure that the scaling of the proejct has the least amount of barriers through good design and engineering created in partnership with the Goldsmiths team.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description BBC Presentation - January 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Presentation of new prototypes, scenarios for use and discussions of ways forward
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BBC Presentation - June 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Further presentations to the BBC as a potential project partner
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BBC Presentation - March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Presentation on initial ideas and direction of the project to the BBC Springwatch production team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description BBC Presentation - May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Presentation to the BBC as potential project partner
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BBC Presentation - May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Presentation of workbooks and progress on project to the BBC Springwatch production team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description BBC Presentation - September 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Follow up presentation expanding on the potential ways of using prototypes with a view to inclusion on national TV wildlife programming.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description BBC Spring Watch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC Springwatch broadcast about the project and kits
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BBC Springwatch Kids 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC Springwatch Kids broadcast about the project and kits
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Bird Ringing Demo - 23.09.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in a bird ringing demonstration at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London. Documented, filmed and recorded the event to make into a short documentary film. This has led to a network of engagement that has been in repeat contact surrounding the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.fothcp.org/
 
Description Design Museum Workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A 4 part course for over 60's and adults who live in the tri-borough area of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham. The course taught how to make the camera, guided walks through Holland Park, and learning about local wildlife, design, and technology.
Participants were introduced to technology and reported feeling reskilled. There were also general health benefits from engagement with the outdoors.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://designmuseum.org/whats-on/talks-courses-and-workshops/make-your-own-my-naturewatch-camera
 
Description EPSRC young researchers talk - 14.01.2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation to 20 Young researchers that work with Engineers. Currently the work has led to repeat invitations to run workshops in the local areas of the attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Engaging Nature Roundtable 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Calling together peers of note to discuss "what design can do to engage nature" producing a wider network and publication from discussion.
Attended by Design, NGO and conservation audiences (non-academic)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Kingston University Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation of the My Naturewatch camera to art & design foundation students while working on an interaction design brief.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergraduate-course/art-design-foundation-diploma/
 
Description Lewes Depot Cinema Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Open Assembly workshop for 20 members of the public
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Lewes Depot Trailer 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Film produced by local community played as a trailer for 2 weeks before every film they show
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description MyNaturewatch Project Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Engagement focused website and social media channels (Instagram and Twitter)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://mynaturewatch.net/
 
Description Natural History Museum Workshop with Citizen Science Team 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Camera building workshop with staff working in the area of Citizen Science at the Natural History Museum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/centre-for-uk-biodiversity
 
Description Pimironi webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Project hosted on their site in one of their online webinar discussions analysing the kit and its functionality.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Railway Land Follow Up - 16.11.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Return visit to the Railway Land Trust to receive their results and understand their experiences of the Naturewatch Camera. This has led to further participation amongst the southdown rangers that have attended, making them local champions of the project going forwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Railway Land Workshop - 02.11.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Workshop at the Railway Land Trust, Lewes with 5 participants including their trustees, media officer, a teacher and local wildlife ranger. This has led to repeat participation over time with a small pending funding bid to build a film festival within the local area, engaging volunteers, schools and local conservation groups.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Schumacher College Follow Up - 26.01.18 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Return visit to Schumacher College to receive their results and understand their experiences of the Naturewatch Camera. The workshop led to a very clear Beta test with a diverse audience of ecology, economic and design students that were based internationally. It led to a wider audience engagement with academic staff at the college that are still engaged and becoming local champions for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Schumacher College Workshop - 06.12.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Workshop with 11 MA Design and Ecology students from Schumacher College, Devon. The workshop led to a very clear Beta test with a diverse audience of ecology, economic and design students that were based internationally. It led to a wider audience engagement with academic staff at the college that are still engaged and becoming local champions for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Sussex Bio Sensing event - 11.02.18 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Pop-up exhibition stand - professional, volunteers, gatekeepers, end users, ecologists, bird ringers, NGO's, conservation experts. The opportunity has led to a number of high level interactions, contacts and communities within the leading edge of the conservation world. The contacts that have been made will lead to more national interactions. We have received requests about further engagement. The work had an audience of 250 peers in the conservation community that all showed interest for repeat opportunities and the sharing of contacts, building more diverse demographics in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://sxbrc.org.uk/news/the-sussex-biological-recorders-seminar-2017
 
Description Sussex Wildlife Follow Up - 16.11.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Return visit to the Sussex Wildlife to receive their results and understand their experiences of the Naturewatch Camera. This has led to sustained activity over time as the wildlife trust has become more engaged. This activity opened up the audiences engagement from the wildlife trust as they never forsaw technology engagement as one of their offerings for "nature engagement" and offers of future summer workshops have been made. The work has also gained the trust and respect of the team opening up new connections for the work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Sussex Wildlife Workshop - 02.11.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Workshop at Sussex Wildlife Trust, Woods Mill, Lewes, with 10 participants who all volunteer at the wildlife trust in various roles. Leading to repeat engagement, community building and connections with wildlife trusts within a wider reach. The participants involved in the workshops, have become local champions sharing contacts and will increase engagement once the beta testing stage is complete.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Teachers Workshop - 30.11.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Workshop with 3 computing and biology teachers from Lewes Old Grammar School. The activity has led to a series of engagements with Head teachers across the south east that could foster into more repeatable activity over time.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Tice's Meadow Bioblitz - 29.04.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in a Bioblitz at Tice's Meadow, Farnham, Surrey. Photo documentation and interviews with participants.
This has led to people being sustained within the project activity, building a network and critical reflection within the world of conservation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.ticesmeadow.org/2017/04/2017-spring-bioblitz.html
 
Description V&A Digital Design Weekend 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Open workshop and table top exhibition. Event was attended by approximately 25,000 people
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit to BBC Springwatch Set - 16.06.17 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Visit to the set of BBC Springwatch in the National Trust's Sherborne Park Estate, in rural Gloucestershire to observe the TV show in action and interview the production team. This action has led to a sustained relationship with the BBC and their Natural History Unit based on personal relationships made during the visit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007qgm3
 
Description Wakehurst (Talk) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk to 30 members of the general public
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Wakehurst (Workshop) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Open Assembly workshop, people building and using kits. Attended by members of the public, specifically people who would not go to National Trust as specific call.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Water Exhibition - Sept 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participation in 'Water' exhibition as part of London Design Festival, exhibiting the underWATER Camera prototype. This led to a test of the outreach for the project, it also enabled further conversations and actions with schools and other key stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://waterexhibition.co.uk/