Alice Wendy Russell, Australian National University

Sydney 2018: Methods and Practices

This contribution will involve a series of conversations. They will be orchestrated and facilitated by the presenter, but the conversations will be made and done by conference delegates who participate. As such, the presentation will be ‘in-the-making’ and ephemeral. A reflection at the end will include observations of these conversations and relate them to STS insights on public engagement, and experiences from other conversations in other places.

The contribution will draw on experiences from several engagement initiatives informed by STS scholarship. These include the Science & Technology Engagement Pathways (STEP) program run within the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research from 2009 – 2013; a Science Dialogue course run each year at the Australian National University since 2016; and several one-off workshops, including one run at the Australian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science conference in 2017.

The conversations will be orchestrated to demonstrate the roles of framing, method and practice (including facilitation and communication) in STS engagement, and the fluid and contingent nature of these roles. It will model attempts to ‘assemble’ participants, to ‘care’, to perform engagement and to have impact; and thus will demonstrate the uncertain, contingent and emergent nature of participation in practice.

Conversations will match topics and methods (e.g. Deficit and Expertise – fishbowl; Responsible Rhetoric in Transnational Comparison – forcefield analysis; Engagement and Performance – improvisation; Running out of Critique – appreciative group work). They will be scheduled flexibly to support conference delegates’ participation.