Using Maps to Contest Power: The Extreme Citizen Science (ExCiteS) Group’s efforts to create tools to support a third space beyond ‘development’

OCTF seminar followed by drinks

ExCiteS brings together scholars from diverse fields to develop and contribute to the guiding theories, tools and methodologies that will enable any community to start a Citizen Science project to deal with issues that concern them. We focus on participatory sensing, monitoring and modelling activities, with communities deciding what measurements are taken and how they are analysed so that they can participate in and lead subsequent decision-making and actions. This talk will describe the evolution of our efforts to provide any user, regardless of their background or literacy level, with a set of tools that can be used to collect, analyse and act on information according to agreed upon scientific methods. The results have been occasionally surprising and occasionally disappointing.

Jerome has been working on the hunter-gatherer people of Central Africa since 1993. He joined UCL’s department of Anthropology in 2007. He is co-director of CAoS – the Centre for the Anthropology of Sustainability, and a Series Editor of Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability.

As a co-director of the ExCiteS research group he works on the participatory development and testing of iconic interfaces for smartphones and intelligent mapping applications designed to address problems identified by forest people in Central Africa and support them to document, analyse and take action to address issues they face. These have so far focused on forest people’s relations with logging companies, illegal loggers, poachers and conservation law enforcers. This approach has been applied by others in Namibia, the American Arctic and the Amazon.

His research interests focus on hunter-gatherers, in particular in Central Africa. Key areas of research are in religion, language, music and dance, play, egalitarian politics, and hunter-gatherers interaction with global forces. He has just edited ‘The Social Origins of Language’ with Dan Dor and Chris Knight, from Oxford University Press. ‘Beyond Development and Progress: Anthropological Visions of Sustainable Futures’ is forthcoming with Marc Brightman, from Palgrave.