‘Slow Science Workshop’ 30 March 2012, VUB Brussels

download the invitation

donwload the “plea for Slow Science” by Isabelle Stengers

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INVITATION

The controversy around the dismissal of Barbara Van Dyck from KULeuven – for her public support of an action of civil disobedience against a genetically modified potato field in May 2011 – and the arguments used to justify it, is the symptom of a deeper malaise. It reveals the restructuration of the university into a science enterprise, increasingly dependent on industrial and other outsider interests, market mechanisms, and competition. Science has come to be seen mainly as a purveyor of technological innovation and increased competitiveness on a globalized market. This shift not only restricts the choice of research topics and curricula but also threatens the quality of the knowledge

Confronted with this, we need to defend and promote ‘slow science’. Just like the ‘slow food’ movement defends qualitative food against fast food, slow science urges rethinking the current university, against the fast, competitive, benchmarked research. In this workshop we will reflect on different strategies for keeping Slow Science possible.

PROGRAM

13h00 Welcome & Coffee

13h30-14h40  Plenary

Scientific research and the knowledge economy: State of the art and a plea for Slow Science, by Isabelle Stengers (ULB) & Chris Kesteloot (KULeuven). Facilitator : Sigrid Sterckx (Ugent)

15h00-16h30  Thematic Workshops

Atelier 1 Festina Lente! Discussing a Slow Science Charter and action plan to work with it 

Different manifestos and pleas for Slow Science circulate today. Also within Belgian universities, a growing discontent about the state of affairs has led to a number of scattered initiatives. Discussions and writings on this issue relate to themes as varied as freedom of research, freedom of speech, choices in research priorities, privatisation of knowledge, evaluation and benchmarking, the instrumentalisation of the educational role of the university, the precarisation of the working conditions of university staff, etc. A draft for a Slow Science Charter makes the connection between these themes and helps us to imagine how another science can become possible. In this workshop we will present the draft of the Slow Science Charter, discuss it and develop strategies to work with it.

Atelier 2  ‘Citizen Science’: bridging the gap

The workshop will present an analysis of what citizen science is and will argue why its promotion is urgently necessary. The current narrow framing of the role of research and the focus on new technologies often lead to a piecemeal approach in the design of research agendas, inadequate for tackling the multi-dimensional challenge of moving our societies towards a more just and sustainable world. This lack of relevance of a linear model of research has fostered the emergence of problem-based approaches, that emphasize transdisciplinarity and that see knowledge not only as a product, but also as a process. How can we strengthen practices of science in which scientific knowledge is co-produced by scientists and citizens while acknowledging and integrating other sources of knowledge. How do science shops and regional public programs, for instance, connect research with citizen associations and their needs? How can we develop new forms of socially relevant innovation? How can research foster economic, social and ecological justice?

Atelier 3  Contesting the commodification and enclosure of scientific knowledge: Towards a University of the

University research funded with taxpayer’s money is being privatized and made virtually inaccessible by a handful of private academic publishers and corporations. This commercialization of scientific knowledge is happening in a context of increasing governmental cuts and educational policies that encourage aggressive competition between and within universities and its workers.

This situation raises important questions: What actually happens to our articles once we submit them to academic publishers? According to what kind of property regimes do these academic journals operate? Why do universities continue to pay astronomical prices to academic publishers to access the very knowledge that is produced within their own establishments? Moreover what is the logic behind the coercive accountability of journal rankings and impact factors, and how have these become institutional tools to measure the quality of researchers and their scholarship? In this context, what are our rights and responsibilities as researchers and what can we do to ensure open access to scientific knowledge?

This workshop aims to address these and other questions and also to set an agenda for collective action steered towards a University of the commons.

16h45–18h     Feedback to plenary, chair Eric Corijn (VUB) & Lieven de Cauter (KULeuven)

PRACTICAL

When? 30 March 2012, 13h – 18h

Where? VUB, Auditorium QD , Campus Etterbeek, for a map click here

Registration? Participation is free of costs, but please send us an email if you plan to come at threerottenpotatoes@gmail.com, and indicate which Atelier you would like to participate in.

Who? The workshop is open for everybody who is interested in what scientists do and the conditions shaping this.

Support? If you want to support  Barbara Van Dyck’s trial and the Slow Science movement you can support us at ‘Slow Science Comité’ BE69 5230 8047 1578

Language? English will be the main language but everybody is free to express herself en francais or in het Nederlands. We will organise translation where needed!

Food for thought? Here you find the transcription of the “Plea for Slow Science”, which Isabelle Stengers delivered at the Willy Calewaert inaugurational lecture at the VUB on December 13th, 2011. We warmly recommend you to read it beforehand! A Dutch version of the lecture text will appear next month in the journal Oikos.

In collaboration with OIKOS, Fondation Sciences Citoyennes and Cosmopolis!

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UITNODIGING

Het ontslag van Barbara Van Dyck aan de K.U.Leuven wegens haar deelname aan een actie tegen genetisch gemodificeerde aardappelen in mei 2011 lokte heel wat controverse uit. Maar dit ontslag en de argumenten die men ervoor gebruikt zijn een symptoom van iets wat nog veel verder gaat. De universiteit wordt steeds meer een wetenschapsbedrijf, dat in groeiende mate afhankelijk is van industriële belangen, marktmechanismen en concurrentie. Wetenschap is tegenwoordig voornamelijk een instrument voor technologische innovatie en groeiende concurrentie op de geglobaliseerde markt. Deze verschuiving beperkt de keuze in onderzoeksonderwerpen en bedreigt de kwaliteit van de geproduceerde kennis.

Om deze redenen moeten we ‘slow science’ verdedigen en promoten. Net zoals de ‘slow food’-beweging kwalitatieve voeding verdedigt tegenover fast food, pleit slow science ervoor om het huidige klimaat in de universiteiten, waar snel, competitief en gericht onderzoek de maatstaf is, te wijzigen. Op deze dag willen we in drie verschillende workshops nadenken over verschillende strategieën om slow science mogelijk te maken.

PROGRAMMA

13h00 Welkom & Koffie

13h30-14h40  Scientific research and the knowledge economy: State of the art and a plea for Slow Science, door Isabelle Stengers (ULB) & Chris Kesteloot (KULeuven). Moderator : Sigrid Sterckx (Ugent)

15h-16h30 THEMATISCHE WORKSHOPS:

Atelier 1: Festina Lente! Discussing a Slow Science Charter and action plan to work with it
De laatste tijd circuleren er reeds verschillende slow science-manifesten en pleidooien, ook binnen de Belgische universiteiten. In deze workshop stellen we een Slow Science Charter voor, waarin verschillende thema’s – zoals vrij onderzoek, keuze van onderzoeksonderwerpen, privatisering van kennis, werkomstandigheden van academisch personeel – aan bod komen. De bedoeling is dit Charter te bespreken en uit te denken hoe ermee gewerkt kan worden.

Atelier 2: ‘Citizen Science’: bridging the gap
Onderzoek is tegenwoordig zodanig beperkt en toegespitst op nieuwe technologieën, dat de enorme uitdaging om onze maatschappij rechtvaardiger en duurzamer te maken niet wordt aangepakt. Onderzoek moet transdisciplinair en relevant zijn. Hoe kunnen we ervoor zorgen dat wetenschappers en burgers samen kennis verzamelen en uitbouwen, met economische, sociale en ecologische rechtvaardigheid als doel? In deze workshop wordt het begrip burgerwetenschap en het belang ervan toegelicht.

Atelier 3: Contesting commodification and enclosure of scientific knowledge: Towards a University of the Commons
Onderzoek wordt in toenemende mate geprivatiseerd en ontoegankelijk gemaakt door een kleine groep academische uitgeverijen en bedrijven. Wetenschappelijke kennis wordt gecommercialiseerd terwijl overheden besparingen doorvoeren en het neoliberale onderwijsbeleid agressieve concurrentie stimuleert. De centrale vraag tijdens deze workshop luidt: wat zijn de rechten en verantwoordelijkheden van onderzoekers, en hoe kunnen we ervoor zorgen dat wetenschappelijke kennis voor iedereen beschikbaar wordt?

16h45-18h Eric Corijn (VUB) en Lieven de Cauter (KULeuven) sluiten de namiddag af.

Info en inschrijving: threerottenpotatoes@gmail.com
Deelname is gratis, vermeld bij je inschrijving de naam van de workshop die je wil volgen.
De voertaal is Engels, maar iedereen is vrij zich ook in het Nederlands of in het Frans uit te drukken.

Locatie : VUB, Auditorium QD, Campus Etterbeek

Voor wie? de workshop is voor iedereen die geinteresseerd is in wat wetenschappers doen, en waarom dat zo is.

Steun? Je kan het proces Barbara Van Dyck – KULeuven steunen via ‘Slow Science Comité’ BE69 5230 8047 1578.

In samenwerking met OIKOS, Fondation Sciences Citoyennes and Cosmopolis!

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