Date of the sub-plenary: July 7, 2022

Format: short talks, panel discussion, short film screenings and discussion

Duration: 90 minutes


Sally Wyatt
Maastricht University

Sally Wyatt is Professor of Digital Cultures and Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. She was President of EASST, 2001-2005. During lockdown, together with colleagues and students, she co-edited two volumes of poetry and artwork, entitled Quarantine Spring (2020) and Letters in Lockdown (2021). She is currently doing research about the use of AI in image-based clinical decision making. ​

Nina Klimburg-Witjes
University of Vienna

Nina Klimburg-Witjes is post-doc researcher at the STS Department, University of Vienna. Her research focuses on infrastructures and imaginaries of outer space, and on the politics and practices of digital in/security. She recently published the edited volume “Sensing In/Security: Sensors as Transnational Security Infrastructures” (with GC Bowker & N. Poechhacker, Mattering Press 2021). Nina is an elected member of the EASST council.

Michela Cozza
Mälardalen University

Michela Cozza is a sociologist and STS scholar. She is Associate Professor at Mälardalen University-Department of Organization and Management, and an elected member of the EASST Council. She has recently published the book "Key Concepts in Science and Technology Studies" (2021, Studentlitteratur).

Speculative and science fiction are often sources of inspiration for scientists, engineers, and popular culture, while science studies can be a source of inspiration for science fiction writers and artists. Companies and governments often use images and words invoking the future to promote new products, such as medical treatments and devices, autonomous vehicles, and big science investments. This panel explores different ways that speculative and science fiction (SSF) are used not only as a source of visions and imaginaries for scientists, engineers and others but also as a method and device for STS scholars to engage with interlocutors during fieldwork and with wider audiences.
Speakers will be invited to explore some aspects of the role of SFF in different domains, including the Anthropocene, energy and climate change; datafication and AI; space exploration, health, and genetics. There are many different aspects to this, including how SFF shapes the hopes, promises, and fears that appear in the discourses of research agendas, public policy, design, media, and education.
The aim of the sub-plenary is to stimulate the (individual and collective) EASST imagination through paying attention to and engaging with poetic, literary, and artistic renderings of techno-scientific futures. To help realize this aim and to stimulate your imaginations, we are organizing the first-ever short story, flash fiction, and poetry competition for EASST members in conjunction with this sub-plenary. Winners will be announced during the conference and winning entries will be published in EASST Review.


Laura Watts

Laura Watts is a writer, poet, ethnographer of futures, and Senior Lecturer in Energy & Society at University of Edinburgh. Her research & writing is concerned with the effect of 'edge' landscapes on how the future is imagined and made. For the past decade she has been working with the Orkney islands, Scotland, on their energy and data futures. Her book Energy at the End of the World: an Orkney Islands Saga (The MIT Press, 2019) won the Rachel Carson Prize from 4S and was Shortlisted for the Saltire Research Book of the Year. With the Reconstrained Design Group she won the International Cultural Innovation Prize from Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) for a community-built energy storage device, the Newton Machine. Her last book was a coedited collection, Energy in Experiment (Mattering Press, 2021), which included a coauthored graphic novel. She runs writing workshops and consults on speculative futures.

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos is an artist, legal theorist and fiction author. He works with performance art, photography and text, as well as sculpture and painting. He is Professor of Law & Theory at the University of Westminster, and Director of The Westminster Law & Theory Lab. His fiction includes The Book of Water, published in Greek and English. 


Pix credit Tim Marsden photograph

Katja Mayer

Katja Mayer is a sociologist and Elise Richter fellow at the University of Vienna, Austria. She is jointly designing the intervention for the conference together with electronic musician and producer Patrick Pulsinger. Among other activities she runs the project "Politics of Openness - Open Data Practices in the Computational Social Sciences" at the Department of Science and Technology Studies. Furthermore, her focus as senior scientist at the Center for Social Innovation (ZSI) is on research and innovation policy.

Photo published on the Wikimedia site