Grants and residencies

Research and art

Finnish Meteorological Institute

60000 €

Learning through atmospheric events: Citizen science and citizen arts educational material

Tieteellinen tutkimus ja taiteellinen työ / niihin pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

On 23 February 2021, a visible layer of Saharan sand deposited on snow in Finland. The mineral dust had traveled thousands of kilometers up in the atmosphere and some of it landed in Finland through snowfall. The phenomenon intrigued citizens, as a visible layer of Saharan dust is not that commonly observed. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) asked citizens to collect samples and to send these to FMI for analysis. The citizen science campaign was a success in terms of participation (525 contributors), citizens' response and enthusiasm, and research findings. This extraordinary natural episode triggered different types of reactions in citizens that resulted in varied artistic ways of expression. Events like this one have, therefore, the potential to serve a double purpose: contributing to the purely scientific knowledge about long-range dust transport and effects on climate and act as a trigger for developing science and arts activities for everyone. This project’s goal is to research and elaborate educational material around the event of Saharan dust deposition focusing on science and arts, with families and the youth as target audiences. This material will be useful from the research point of view as well as a foundation for citizen science and citizen arts campaigns in future dust deposition events. We want to explore ways of engaging society in the process of science-making, raise awareness about climate change, and highlight the human, artistic and emotional side of living in a changing world and environment. We will bring to the table a multidisciplinary approach in which science and arts can complement each other. The educational materials will be generated through an exploratory approach in co-creation workshops led by experience and visual designers, scientists and educational advisors together with educators from different educational stages. A promotion campaign and demonstration sessions with school children will also take place.