Date of the sub-plenary: July 7, 2022

Format: roundtable, collective conversation

Duration: 90 minutes


Aleksandra Lis-Plesinska

Associate Professor at the Institute of Anthropology and Ethnology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. She holds a PhD degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the Central European University in Budapest (Hungary). For the last ten years, she has closely studied the intersection between the European and Poland’s climate and energy politics, which resulted and the publication of a book with Routledge, titled Climate and Energy Politics in Poland: Debating Carbon Dioxide and Shale Gas (2020). Her research specifically focuses on the science-policy nexus, participation of non-experts publics in technological controversies and challenges of the just transition to low carbon energy and transportation systems


Carlos Cuevas Garcia

Carlos Cuevas Garcia is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Science, Technology and Society of the Technical University Munich, Germany. His research examines how individual and collective identities are made to matter in our interactions with science, technology and innovation policy. His PhD focused on the negotiation of identities in interdisciplinary research. During his postdoctoral projects he has explored the emergence of nascent fields around digitalization, first looking at biofabrication, and then at European robotics with a particular focus on the role of co-creation instruments in the development of service and infrastructure inspection and maintenance robots. Currently he is mobilising his expertise on interdisciplinarity and co-creation as a co-principal investigator of the Horizon2020 project BoostEuroTeQ (strengthening institutional transformations for responsible engineering education in Europe). Carlos studied sociology in Mexico before obtaining an MA in Research Methods and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Nottingham, UK.

Clémence Pinel

Clémence Pinel is a postdoc in the MeInWe team within the Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies, University of Copenhagen. In 2018, she completed her PhD at King’s College London and was awarded the Doctoral Prize from the UK Association for Studies in Innovation, Science and Technology (AsSIST-UK). Her work focuses on knowledge production and valuation practices in the life sciences, with a specific interest for data-intensive research. Through ethnographic fieldwork primarily in research laboratories, Clémence explores how scientists make, maintain and utilize data, of different sorts and origins, to produce knowledge within contemporary bioeconomies

Anne-Sofie Lautrup Sørensen

Anne-Sofie Lautrup Sørensen is a PhD fellow in the Technologies in Practice research group at the IT University of Copenhagen. Drawing inspiration from anthropology, STS, studies of Nordic exceptionalism and queer theory, Sørensen’s research focuses on questions about age, generation, and knowledge in relation to the climate crisis, with an empirical focus on young climate activists and their local community in the Norwegian oil-capital Stavanger. Sørensen’s thesis explores ethnographically how climate change produces a crisis in a national narrative of Norwegian goodness and engages with local struggles to redefine what it means to be and do good as a collective, when the nation state proves an insufficient frame for thinking about the planetary scale.

The current environmental and health crises have revealed the constitutive vulnerability of our world, under these circumstances, it is more urgent than ever to embrace those speculative practices that will allow us to explore the possible. A move that should go hand in hand with speculations about the many possible forms of our scholarly practice: how should our modes of research respond to the challenges of our time? How could we renovate our scholarly practices? In this sub-plenary we would like to address these questions drawing in the concept of ‘speculative ecologies’.

There is a long-tradition in STS demonstrating that beyond the formal and institutionalized modes of knowledge production, there thrives in our societies modes of impure science and wild research that shows alternative ways to face the challenges of our world. Social movements, civic organizations, and organized collectives have taught us how to pose the challenging questions that our world in crisis needs.  In this sub-plenary, we invited early-career scholars to speculate not just with different futures but alternative presents too and how such modes of inhabitation offer other modes of engagement with the world. The speculative practice that we invoke is thus not engaged in the production of fictions or forecasts, on the contrary, it is a practice rooted in the present that resists the fateful future.

We would like to open a dialogue about how different organized collectives engage with speculative ecologies. First, we are interested in those efforts whose practical engagement entails a form of speculation with different ecological relations: from activists of extinction rebellion to scientists that demonstrate how we can learn from nature to respond to the present challenges—just to give two possible cases. Second, we are interested in collective projects aimed at the renovation of our academic environment (or, in our parlance, the ecology of practices of academia), initiatives that create the speculative conditions to bring into existence alternative modes of doing academia.


Violeta Argudo Portal
Spanish National Research Council

Violeta Argudo-Portal  is an anthropologist and ethnographer of science and technology specialized in studying biomedicine and life sciences infrastructures. She works as a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). At the IPP, Violeta is part of two projects on genetic susceptibility and the futures of genomics. Over the past years, her work has focused on biomedical research infrastructures and biomedicine in the making, particularly biobanks and T-cell immunotherapy. In 2021, Violeta earned her Ph.D. at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Her thesis merges STS and social anthropology and presents two years of ethnographic fieldwork with biobankers in Spain, exploring their daily work and concerns. She holds a MA in Global Thought, Columbia University in the City of New York (Fulbright Fellow) and a BA in Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universitat de Barcelona.

Adolfo Estalella
Complutense University of Madrid

Adolfo Estalella is Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). He is interested in grassroots urbanism and digital cultures and he has investigated the knowledge practices and technologies of neighbourhood organizations and activist movements in urban contexts. A second research line explores (and intervenes) on anthropological modes of inquiry, an endeavour gathered in the xcol platform ( His latest co-edited book is ‘Experimental collaborations. Ethnography through fieldwork devices’ (Berghahn, 2018), his forthcoming book (co-authored with Alberto Corsín Jiménez) is 'Free Culture and the City: Hackers, Commoners, and Neighbors in Madrid, 1997-2017' (Cornell University Press).