Call for Contributions – Beyond Academic Knowledges

Changing Worlds:
Engaging Science and Technology in Art, Academia and Activism

19 – 21 November 2015
University of Vienna & Institute for Advanced Studies, Austria

+++ Thank you for your exciting contributions! +++

We warmly invite you to participate

in our conference Changing Worlds: Engaging Science and Technology in Art, Academia and Activism.The conference is intended as a forum for artists, activists, academics, researchers, and others invested and interested in science and technology issues – regardless of affiliation or chosen career path. Changing Worlds constitutes a cooperative effort to move beyond hierarchical attitudes about who has authority in speaking on scientific and technological matters, or what kinds of knowledges count as “(in-)valid”, “(in-)expert”, or “(not) valuable”. At the same time, Changing Worlds establishes an opportunity to bring together people who work on common topics, but may hardly ever cross paths due to their differing approaches. We embrace a varied scope of perspectives and see significant potential in expanding one’s viewpoint to consider ideas from different disciplines or sectors. We wish to provide a space for people of diverse backgrounds to interact on an equal footing, and to share their work and experiences concerning their interactions with and interplays between science, technology, society and politics. Our aim is to foster an environment in which participants from different walks of life can collectively develop and engage with issues of science and technology, and explore links between art, academia and activism as we confront these issues side-by-side.

As a result, we especially –  but not exclusively – encourage people who would not normally attend academic conferences to participate. Contributions can take both more traditional forms (e.g. 20-minute presentations) as well as other formats that suit participants’ preferences and ideas. There will also be a dedicated open space for spontaneous collaboration of conference participants during the event.

What is Changing Worlds?

Under the auspices of Changing Worlds, we ask how the worlds we inhabit change and change us, and how we as their inhabitants change them in turn, all the while taking into consideration social and structural power dynamics and matters of social justice. In doing so, we hold the understanding that neither we nor others are ever neutral, but necessarily ‘biased’ in our positions in and towards the world as well as in our engagements with the world. We are interested in facing and dealing with the intersections, convergences and confrontations between art, academia and activism as they grapple with issues concerning science and technology in their respective societies. We particularly welcome critical and nuanced perspectives on as well as interventions in the worlds that are produced by and produce science and technology.

Possible topics

The following list provides some ideas for topics or approaches to focus on. This list is, however, neither exhaustive nor prescriptive. We encourage you to come up with your own ideas – if you are unsure whether your idea is suitable for the conference, please e-mail us for feedback.

  • activism and art in research – research and activism in art – art and research in activism
  • intersections and contradictions between art, activism and academia
  • communication between different perspectives in activism, art and academia
  • negotiating categories, boundaries and frontiers
  • axes, nodes, sites and avenues for agency within dynamics of power
  • confrontations and strategies in activist engagements with technoscience
  • opening up and participatory approaches to innovation, design and research processes
  • expectations and mis-/understandings around conceptions and processes in science and technology
  • queer, feminist and postcolonial as well as intersectional approaches (e.g. covering gender, sexuality, race, class, dis-/ability, religion, etc.)
  • (ir-)responsible research and innovation
  • environments and human-technological involvement
  • information and communication technologies in society

Send us your ideas!

We are open to a variety of formats for possible contributions. These can include more conventional academic papers, but also, for example, workshops, short films/video, exhibitions, storytelling, reflections, project presentations, performances, or interventions. Presentation-type slots normally take about 20 minutes, but we are open to other timeframes depending on the specifics of your planned contribution.

If you would like to participate in the conference, please send a description of your contribution, an abstract, or a proposal (300–400 words) to changingworlds.sts@univie.ac.at by 3 July 2015. Please also include a few lines about yourselves, your contact details and, if applicable, information about the technical/spatial/temporal/etc. requirements of your planned contributions. After reviewing all submissions, we will inform you whether your contribution has been accepted by 14 August 2015.

The conference language will be English.

Code of conduct

We are dedicated to providing an inclusive, safe and harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of personal/professional background, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, dis-/ability, physical appearance, body size, race, class, age, or religion.

Accessibility

The conference venue will be wheelchair-accessible. While we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet all other accessibility requirements, we will do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs. Please e-mail us in advance about your specific requirements.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions or comments (e.g. about the format of the conference, our code of conduct, or whether your idea fits the scope of this event), please e-mail us at changingworlds.sts@univie.ac.at.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Your conference organisers: Angela Prendl, Bernhard Winkler, Boka En,
Dely Horváth, Helene Sorgner, Mercedes Pöll, Milena Wuketich,
Nikolaus Pöchhacker, Thomas Danecker, Victoria Neumann