The Sea Change project is all about rethinking the way marine scientists and other owners of ocean knowledge should interact with the public, in order to increase Ocean Literacy and change behaviour with regard to the world’s ocean. Whether the aim is to engage with formal educators, the general public or ocean governors, the interaction should be multidirectional rather than top-down and co-creative instead of ‘office-made’. In Sea Change Work Package 4 we selected four major pathways to co-create joint activities with the European public at large. They will all be tested and carried out in cooperation with some dedicated stakeholders and partners.
From Citizen Ideas to Unique ‘Social Innovation Participation Processes (SIPP)’ Events
In 2017, seven European partner institutions will co-organise unique, ocean knowledge driven events with the public which will be based on Social Innovation Participation Processes (SIPP). Ideas were captured during an EU Ideas Bank contest held in early 2016 called Think Big, Think Ocean . The winning ideas will be further refined during consultation workshops with the relevant stakeholders involved in each activity. The resulting activities will test how ocean information (e.g. on safety at sea, sustainable fisheries, plastic waste management, etc.) can best be shared among members of the public in an engaging and interactive way.
Building a European Platform with Information on Benefits and Dangers of the Sea
One location where ocean information is particularly crucial for the well-being of the wider public, is the beach. When millions of tourists and local people gather on European beaches, it is critical that they be conscious of the potential risks that exist at a particular beach and informed on how to prevent and treat injuries. The platform will include 13 hazards (tides, currents, waves, natural and man-made structures, dangerous animals, alcohol, sand-digging, interaction with water sports, lightning, water quality, water temperature and sunshine). Life Savers associations will have an opportunity to co-design the platform by providing reports and testimonies on hazards and benefits of the sea.
CrabWatch: an Ocean Citizen Science Initiative
Well-designed, citizen science initiatives are a very strong tool to engage with the public and share information in a multidirectional way. In this Sea Change task, European citizens will be challenged to make an inventory of beach crabs by carrying out standardised protocols and engage in a most enjoyable and scientifically sound “CrabWatch”!
For updates on CrabWatch, check #CrabWatch on Twitter!
Public Engagement Through Innovative Events in Science Centres and Aquaria
Science centres and aquaria are among the best ambassadors of ocean knowledge for schools and families. Building upon their long experience, complemented with SIPPs, six of these centres (MUZEIKO – Bulgaria; AHHAA – Estonia; IQLandia – Czech Republic; Nausicaä – France; Lighthouse Foundation – Germany; CeDePesca – Argentina) will test new ways of interacting with water sports enthusiasts and between younger and older generations.