Diamonds on the soles of their feet – SEADS Talk by Prof. Jaqueline Goldin

We are delighted to welcome Prof. Jaqueline Golden who will tell us about her award-winning Citizen Science project “Diamonds on the soles of their feet”.

The talk will take place on 25 May 2022 at 13:00 in seminar room 1.35 the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of the Western Cape. It will also be streamed online on zoom. Please make sure you register for the event. There are limited in person seats but the seminar will on zoom as well.

This will be a hybrid event. If you intend to attend in person, please note that there is a limited number of seats in the room and that we need to remain COVID-compliant. In-person places will be confirmed by email on a first-register first-serve basis, hence the necessity to register. Thank you for your understanding. For more information on COVID-regulations on campus, please see:

Poster images: ©Jaqui Goldin


We present findings from a current project in the Hout Catchment, Limpopo Province in South Africa where citizen scientists are monitoring water in their wells in very remote rural settings. We propose participatory methods that are inclusive, just and fair with a focus on ethics and research integrity. In our application we redress the bias where the focus tends to be on the natural science aspect rather than the humanities where there is attention to human well-being and the recognition of difference and diversity.
Considering Citizen Science (CS) within the frame of feminist philosophy we adopt an ethics of care approach, which is personally transformative with the element of ‘surprise’ -the end point is undetermined. We emphasise diversity and difference across segments and within segments in the catchment. Participatory parity has intrinsic value (equity and a more just social context) but also extrinsic value (addressing a hydrological void, better data and plotting of map features for remote rural areas otherwise difficult to access). We present methods which have to do with what we call ‘authentic’ learning.
CS is a powerful emancipatory tool that is able to generate virtuous cycles of trust, inclusion and equality and the methods deployed to achieve participatory democracy, are intrinsic to the work that we do. Citizen scientists move away from a passive state or non-engagement with science, to acting as scientists. People who are disempowered now have a sense of participating in the betterment of their world. Narrowing the divide between the natural and social sciences is crucial. In taking science from the laboratory into the field we make sure that we don’t lose the human side of science.