Story Café

Perspectives on Citizen Science from Ecuador, Africa and SIDS

What happens in terms of Citizen Science outside Europe and the US? Who is involved in initiatives? What are challenges? What can we learn? Three storytellers - Soledad Luna, Thomas Mboa, Khalissa Ikhlef - will share experiences from their inspiring work in Ecuador, Africa & Haiti and Small Island Developing States.

What? 3 rounds of story (10mins) + informal discussion, learning, meet new people (30mins)

Languages? French, English, Spanish (there will be one story in English in each round)

When? 3rd June, 14:30-16:30

Where? Grand Salle, Salle communale de Plainpalais, Rue de Carouge 52, Genève

For whom? Everybody is welcome. We have space for 30 people.


This workshop at the ECSA international conference 2018 invites you to listen to and share stories behind Citizen Science. We will explore not so much stories of science, but stories of people and things, dreams and challenges, of the hard work and open questions involved in nurturing communities and making Citizen Science happen. The aim of the Story Café is to create an open and informal space at the ECSA conference to come together and share experiences, questions and critique on Citizen Science or related activities that are currently developed around the world. Everybody is invited to come by, have a coffee, listen and join the discussions.

Science, community work and stories are global. Therefore we want to take the opportunity to hear what happens outside Europe and explore what we can learn from activities in the global South. We are happy to have three inspiring storytellers who will share experiences from their work on Citizen Science in contexts like Open Science, Science Policy and Participatory Research and Conservation:

  • Soledad Luna is pushing Citizen Science activities for research and conservation in Ecuador. She will share a story on how small-scale fishermen created a temporal no-take zone to allow the recovery of the marine resources they depend upon. The local community learned first-hand about the benefits of conervation and at the same time increased their self-esteem. Spanish and English
  • Thomas Mboa works on open and participatory research, DIY biology and cognitive justice with the Association for the Promotion of Open Science in Haiti and Africa (APSOHA). He will share a story on the importance of socio-cultural values in Citizen Science turning around the general idea: Il est si frappant de voir le nombre de débats, d’incompréhensions et de différences qui existent autour de la notion de Citizen science à travers le monde. Pour ma part, ce manque d’uniformité n’est pas un problème en soi, il s’agit tout simplement de l’expression de la diversité des valeurs socioculturelles que nous partageons dans nos communautés et dans nos contextes respectifs. Une considération plurielle des Citizen science, sur la base des valeurs socioculturelles serait une bonne approche pour faire profiter les citoyens (suivant les spécificités de chaque région/pays…) du potentiel qui se trouve derrière « contribuer à faire de la science ».
    Some Links:
    Kermish-Allen, R., Kastelein, K. (2017). Toward a Sociocultural Learning Theory Framework to Designing Online learning Communities in Citizen Science. The Journal of Community Informatics, 13(3), 4—19.
    Wenger, Etienne; McDermott, Richard; Snyder, William M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice (Hardcover). Harvard Business Press; 1 edition. ISBN 978-1-57851-330-7.
    Thomas Mboa, Les Fablabs en Afrique : une utopie à l’épreuve des réalités locales. Blog Post
    French and English
  • Khalissa Ikhlef looks after the Sandwatch project, including through the UNESCO Associated Schools Network. She will share a story on a citizen science coastal monitoring in Small Island Developing States (SIDs). French and English

The Story Café is meant to be an open conversation encouraging participants to share their experiences and views. We will blend listening to stories of our international guests with rounds of discussion. We are looking forward for you to join us and bring your stories!


Contact: Claudia Göbel, claudia.goebel[at]



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