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Annual Workshop 2017: Workshop on Pollution, Environmental Justice, and Citizen Science

3-4 May 2017, University of Warwick, Arden Conference Centre - Full Programme

We invite participation in a workshop on the theme of Pollution, Environmental Justice, and Citizen Science, held on 3-4 May 2017, at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK.

Citizen science has long been a key means of seeking environmental justice, by bridging the divide between formal expertise and the public. The availability of new digital technologies, Big Data and the Internet has meant community involvement in pollution monitoring has become an increasingly widespread phenomenon.

However, the context of expertise and the environment is rapidly changing, with new vulnerabilities emerging. We live in a world of post-truth politics, ‘alternative facts’, and a new wave of climate change denial. The inauguration of Donald Trump in the USA and the shock Brexit result in the UK has created a threatening political climate for experts of all kinds. Just as the value of expertise has been questioned by a new political elite, so too are fresh environmental vulnerabilities emerging at both the global and local levels.

(PDF Document) A PDF of Workshop Programme can be downloaded here: Toxic Expertise Annual Workshop Programme 2017


DAY 1: Wednesday 3rd May 2017

8:15-8:45am Coffee and Registration

8:45-9:00am Introduction from Toxic Expertise

9:00-10:00am Keynote: Phil Brown (Northeastern), “Toxic Trespass and Emerging Contaminants: Science, Activism, and Policy for Chemicals In Our Bodies”

10:00-11:00am Citizen Sensing

Jennifer Gabrys (Goldsmiths), “From Citizen Sensing to Citizen Data”

João Porto de Albuquerque (Warwick), “Citizens as sensors and beyond: Modes of engagement in the production of citizen-generated urban data”

11:00-11:15am Coffee

11:15am-12:30pm Participatory and Collaborative Research

Barbara Allen (Virginia Tech) “From Participatory Data Collection to Collaborative Analysis: Meaning-Making for Knowledge Justice”

Bhavna Shamasunder (Occidental College, LA), et al. “The South Los Angeles Neighborhood Oil Drilling Health and Exposure Study”

Sarah Rhodes (University of North Carolina), et al. “A community-based participatory research study of exposure to antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in regions of dense industrial hog production in North Carolina, USA”

12:30-1:30pm Lunch

1:30-2:45pm DIY Aerial Mapping Demonstration, Cindy Regalado (UCL/Public Lab), “DIY aerial photography with Public Lab”

2:45-4:00pm Citizens and Air Pollution around the World

Miguel Ángel López-Navarro and Vicent Tortosa-Edo (Universitat Jaume I, Castelló), “Legitimating confrontational discourses by local environmental groups: The case of air quality monitoring in a Spanish petrochemical area”

Anneleen Kenis (KU Leuven, Belgium), “Citizens, science and air pollution: the construction of a fact, the framing of a problem”

Dan McQuillan (Goldmiths), “Doing science politically; air quality measurements Kosovo”

4:00-4:15pm Coffee

4:15-5:30pm Environmental Justice around the World

Carmit Lubanov (Association of Environmental Justice in Israel) “The Role of Civic Society in Addressing Environmental Justice Policy – The case of Israel”

Roberto Pasetto, Nicolás Zengarini, Ivano Iavarone (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome), “Environmental Justice in Industrially Contaminated Sites: the Italian SENTIERI approach and the European ICSHNet network”

Sam Geall (Sussex), “Climate-change journalism and citizen science in contemporary China”

5:30-6:15pm Concluding Panel Discussion

7pm Conference Dinner

DAY 2: Thursday 4th May 2017

8:30-9:15am Coffee

9:15-10:15am Keynote: Gwen Ottinger (Drexel), “Information Infrastructures for Community Empowerment”

10:15-11:15am Pushing the Boundaries of Citizen Science

Alex Zahara and Max Liboiron (Memorial University) “Refusal in citizen science: A decolonial, ethical approach to data circulation (or not)”

Elizabeth Hoover (Brown), What does “citizen science” mean in an Indigenous community that sees themselves as citizens of their tribal nation first, and of the settler nation second?

11:15-11:30am Coffee

11:30am-12:45pm Witnessing and Visualizing

Peter C. Little (Rhode Island College),“Citizen Photography as Citizen Science Technique in Ghana’s Toxic Hotspot”

Marina Da Silva (Goldsmiths), “Visual Pollution: How São Paulo’s Public Space is Being Shaped by Environmental Discourse”

Amelia Fiske (Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel), “To Bear Witness: Bodily burdens, Expertise, and Toxic Tours in the Ecuadorian Amazon”

12:45-1:00pm Discussion

1:00-2:00pm Lunch

2:00-5:00pm Ideation Workshop, Facilitator: Sigma user experience. Further details to follow.

Please contact to register.

Hosted by the ERC-funded project Toxic Expertise. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 639583. This event is also funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Warwick, Coventry.

Past Events

Thursday November 3rd 2016:

Toxic Expertise: Environment, Economy, Politics

At our first public engagement event we discusses the following questions: what value does 'expertise' still have in our society? How is expertise used, manipulated or ignored for political, social and environmental reasons? Has expertise itself become ‘toxic’?

A full write up of the event which inluded presentations from Mary Creagh MP, Neena Gill MEP, Dr Erik Van Sebille, Dr Frank Kelly, David Powell (New Economics Foundation) and Ruth Bergan (Trade Justice Movement) can be accessed here.

Mary Creagh MP at the Toxic Expertise event

(Photo Credit: Angeliki Balayannis, attendee)

This even was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council ‘Impact Acceleration Account’ and the ERC Starting Grant 'Toxic Expertise' - Grant Agreement No. 639583

Thursday 19 May 2016:

'Pollution, Health & Global Governance': Roundtable Discussion and Film Screening of 'Warriors of Quigang'

Friday 20th May 2016:

Annual Toxic Expertise Workshop: 'Environment & Expertise'

Speakers included: Barbara Allen (Virgina Tech Washington DC Campus); Scott Frickel (Brown University) Anna Lora-Wainwright (University of Oxford); Mao Da (the co-founder of two Chinese ENGOs, Independence and Justice for Sustainability, Beijing); Gordon Walker (Lancaster University); and Sujatha Raman (University of Nottingham).

This one-day workshop provided a platform to discuss key issues surrounding the competing claims of expertise, agency and environmental knowledge. We explored debates about expertise in relation to pollution and health, environmental justice, public participation, and social movements, drawing on examples in the United States, China, and Europe. Expertise exists in all societies, and what it means to be an expert has been challenged, interrogated and unpicked by scholars from a variety of disciplines. Despite key insights by Bruno Latour, Brian Wynne and many others, there remain many questions surrounding expertise and the environment that are yet to be answered. In an era where we are increasingly facing ‘wicked’ environmental problems (Rittel 1973), it is more important than ever to understand whose expertise is valued and which information is discarded. Whether concerning the impacts of environmental disasters, or the slower brutality of climate change, competing claims are often made, reinforced, unmade and hidden from public and policy view.

  • What is meant by expertise?
  • Who can lay claim to expert knowledge?
  • Which knowledge is excluded and what expertise is hidden?
  • What makes us experts?

The workshop facilitated interdisciplinary and exploratory conversations and collaborative knowledge exchange.

Project Launch: on 4 November, we celebrated the launch of our project at the University of Warwick, showcasing our project website and the first issue of our e-magazine Toxic News. The launch featured presentations from our project team and a lively discussion, with participation from our advisory board and from academics across the university.