Experiments in new modes of practice: Launch of the Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP)

Experiments in New Modes of Practice. Launch of the Centre for Invention and Social Process
Experiments in New Modes of Practice. Launch of the Centre for Invention and Social Process
Please come and celebrate with us the relaunch of CSISP: Experiments in new modes of practice:Launch of the Centre for the study of Invention and Social Process (CISP)
Andrés Jaque, Office for Political Innovation (Madrid/New York and
Antoine Hennion (Centre de Sociologie de l’innovation, Ecole des Mines, Paris)
Chaired by the new directors: Marsha Rosengarten, Michael Guggenheim & Alex Wilkie
Wednesday 23rd of March 2016, 5pm-7pm
Richard Hoggart Building, RHB 300
All Welcome

Continue reading “Experiments in new modes of practice: Launch of the Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP)”

Energy experiments

I’m a discussant on the track ‘Energy Experiments’ at the EASST/4S Conference, August 31st to September 3rd 2016, Barcelona


Manuel Tironi (Instituto de Sociología, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, and NUMIES)
Tomás Ariztía (Departamento de Sociología, Universidad Diego Portales, and NUMIES)


Alex Wilkie (Department of Design, Goldsmiths)


Off-grid ecovillages, online energy communities, indigenous electricity projects, collective metering initiatives and citizen monitoring of energy-related pollution using DIY technologies. Energy experiments are proliferating in diverse contexts and settings. Experiments because they render energy both as an excitable material and as a site for the politicization of issues, institutions and arrangements. First, energy experiments tinker new engagements with water, solar, wind and other elemental forces, thus enlivening energy as a provocative yet resistant matter that is gathered and circulated through multifarious practices of intervention, making and care. Second, energy experiments are also social projects in which the otherwise is rendered possible (Povinelli 2007). In these experiments novel forms of collaboration and endurance are congealed, inciting new problematizations about how energy is governed in late liberalism. Notions such as participation, citizenship, ‘smart communities’, intervention and change are thus transfigured by the flourishing of alternative modes of engaging with energy. And third, insofar energy is an existent that forces thought and affection in the everyday, energy experiments relocate politics away from the sublime spaces of the public sphere and closer to the mundane, the intimate, the bodily and the uneventful.

This panel invites papers that critically explore the many ways in which energy experiments are lived, produced and politicised. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Material speculations in alternative energy projects.
  • Energy experiments as forms of political resistance.
  • Activism and grassroot energy interventions.
  • Energy production and more-than-human entanglements.
  • Open infrastructuring and collective innovation in energy systems and consumption.
  • Energy citizenship and participation.

Important dates

  • February 21: Deadline for abstract submissions;
  • March 13: Convenors’ deadline for abstracts acceptances/rejections/relocations;
  • April 17: Communication of acceptance/rejection of abstracts to authors, ranking/ordering and opening of online registrations;
  • July 31: Deadline for paper/input submissions (to chairs of sessions in track)
    For more information on how to submit a paper, please check the conference’s call for papers: http://www.sts2016bcn.org/call-for-papers/

To submit a paper to this open track, please go to http://www.nomadit.co.uk/easst/easst_4s2016/panels.php5?PanelID=4020

Studio Studies Book Launch

Studio Studies book launch poster
Studio Studies book launch poster

Two book launches coming up for Studio Studies:

You are cordially invited to celebrate the launch of the edited collection: ‘Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies, Displacements’ edited by Ignacio Farías and Alex Wilkie.

Studio Studies is being launched over two events, the first (at Goldsmiths) with a focus on the social sciences and the second (at the V&A) with a focus on the arts and design.


  • Introduction: Alex Wilkie
  • Studio operations: Ignacio Farías & Mirja Busch
  • Afterword: Professor Mike Michael
  • Discussion: chaired by Isaac Marrero Guillamon

Followed by a drinks reception.

Supported by the Centre for the Study of Invention and Social Process


19th February 2016, 6:30pm, Clore 55, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Panel discussion chaired by Lucy Kimbell, University of Arts, London.

Panel: Professor Daniel Charny (Kingston); Ignacio Farías; Yiyun Kang (V&A Artist in Residence); Professor Peter Lloyd (Brighton) & Alex Wilkie.


Studio Studies is an agenda setting volume that presents a set of empirical case studies that explore and examine the studio as a key setting for aesthetic and material production. As such, Studio Studies responds to three contemporary concerns in social and cultural thought: first, how to account for the situated nature of creative and cultural production; second, the challenge of reimagining creativity as a socio-materially distributed practice rather than the cognitive privilege of the individual; and finally, to unravel the parallels, contrasts and interconnections between studios and other sites of cultural-aesthetic and technoscientific production, notably laboratories. By enquiring into the operations, topologies and displacements that shape and format studios, this volume aims to demarcate a novel and important object of analysis for empirical social and cultural research as well to develop new conceptual repertoires to unpack the multiple ways studio processes shape our everyday lives.

Studio Studies is published by Routledge and is part of the CRESC series which establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change

Editors: Ignacio Farías is a sociologist and an Assistant Professor of the Munich Center for Technology in Society and the Department of Architecture at the Technische Universität München. Alex Wilkie is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths and a sociologist.

Contributors: Tomás Ariztía, James Ash, Ariane Berthoin Antal, Georgina Born, Ignacio Farías, Emmanuel Grimaud, Antoine Hennion, Sophie Houdart, Mike Michael Erin O’Connor, Laurie Waller, Alex Wilkie.


Studio Studies is a much needed work of enquiry: the studio is by turns an obvious and an unknown thing today. They are far more common and influential spaces than the laboratories about which we know so much – and yet no such signature volume has existed until now. It will be a defining collection by extraordinary contributors.”
Chris Kelty, Associate Professor, Institute of Society and Genetics & the Department of Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

“This book offers an excellent introduction to one of the defining projects in social studies today: the performative analysis of creative practice. Combining case studies and interviews by outstanding scholars in the study of science, technology and culture, it shows how the studio enables the assembly and negotiation of relations between art, design, markets, publics and social studies themselves. It thereby offers a welcome empirical handle on an especially complex contemporary phenomenon, the valuation of creativity across domains.”
Noortje Marres, Associate Professor, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodology, University of Warwick

“In this sophisticated and theoretically astute collection, the authors make a case for the studio as a rewarding site for ethnographic research. But more profoundly, the studio is offered up – in its ad hoc procedures and modes of emergent organization – as an empirical model for social life and creativity more generally. It makes the studio mundane while showing how the worlds outside – factories, firms and so much more – share in the ‘studio-ness’ that makes things happen.”
Harvey Molotch, Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies at New York University. Author of Where Stuff Comes From: How Toasters, Toilets, Cars, Computers and Many Other Things Come to Be As They Are.

The Event of the Public – Call for Papers

The event of the public: Convolutions of aesthetic and epistemic practice

Joint conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).

31st of August – 3rd September 2016, Barcelona.

This call for papers invites contributions to address the role and place of aesthetics in epistemic practices, with emphasis on the ways in which ‘publics’ are enacted and eventuated.

Mike Michael (University of Sydney)
Gay Hawkins (Western Sydney University)
Kane Race (University of Sydney)
Alex Wilkie (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Abstract Deadline: February 21st 2016
Submit abstracts online at: http://www.sts2016bcn.org/

This track aims to explore the role of the aesthetic in epistemic practices with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ or ‘scientific citizens’ are enacted. While STS has long explored how the epistemic practices of knowledge-making can be linked to a heterogeneous range of other practices (social, ethical, economic, political, care-ful, corporeal, affective, etc.), the place of aesthetic practices has been relatively neglected. The proposed theme aims to examine the role of the aesthetic in the epistemic, with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ are enacted or eventuated. More concretely we can pose such questions as: what counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how does this relate to other practices (for example, of care, affect, social)? how do the aesthetics of a technoscientific artifact or assemblage (eg a plastic water bottle, smart monitor, or alternative systems of electricity generation) affect the ways in which publics enact environmental concern? how do the aesthetics of more or less typical STS research tools (such as focus groups, ‘ethnographic’ engagements, data harvesting or speculative design interventions) impact the emergence of particular sorts of ‘epistemic publics’; how do the aesthetics of the representational practices found in STS, policy or the media (eg online data visualization or the narrative structures of academic accounting) shape the public and its issues? More broadly, we ask how might we understand aesthetic practice in the context of ostensibly related traditions, for example non-representational or arts-based modes of inquiry. Papers are therefore invited which consider the complex interactions – the convolutions – between aesthetic and epistemic practices specifically in relation to the ways in which publics (or ‘scientific citizens’) emerge.

Key Questions

  • What counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how do these relate to other practices?
  • What role does aesthetics play in epistemic practices?
  • How do the aesthetics of technoscientific assemblages and/or artefacts affect the ways in which publics enact issues?
  • How do the aesthetics of STS research methods and tools impact the emergence of ‘epistemic publics’?
  • How might STS understand aesthetic practice in the context of traditions that themselves claim expertise on the aesthetic?