Experimentality

Institute for Advanced Studies Annual Research Programme 2009-10

Experimentality was a year-long collaborative exploration of ideas and practices of experimentation in science and technology, the arts, commerce, politics, popular culture, everyday life, and the natural world.

The programme consisted of a range of workshops and arts events over the whole of the academic year, culminating in an international conference, The Experimental Society, on 7-9 July 2010.

City Experiment programme announced

The City Experiment is part of the FutureEverything 2010 festival (12-15 May) in Manchester – four days of astonishing artworks, an explosive city-wide music programme, visionary thinkers from around the world, and awards for outstanding innovations. During the central two days of the festival, The City Experiment will form a path by which participants can take in a number of festival events at the Contact Theatre and other venues across the city, including globally networked discussions, seminars, art events and film screenings. Go to the FutureEverything website for relevant conference and art events.  Speakers will include Adam Greenfield, Maarten Hajer, Vikram Kaushal, Stephanie Koerner, Raymond Lucas, Simon Marvin, Francis McKee, Shawn Micallef, Saul Newman, Amanda Ravetz, Steven Smith, Sally Stone, Atreyee Sen, Erik Swyngedouw, Michelle Teran, John Worthington and Albena Yaneva.

Second call for papers and presentations for The Experimental Society - closes 12 March.

The second call for papers and presentations for the closing Experimentality Conference, The Experimental Condition (7-9 July 2010), is now open and will close on 12 March 2010.  We encourage proposals for individual papers or for sessions of three papers, and proposals using various media from creative practitioners, researchers and postgraduates whose practice engages with the conference themes.

Conversations about Innovation, 16-18 February

A series of informal events around innovation, running from 16 to 18 February, have been organised around the visits to Lancaster University of Lucy Kimbell (Clark Fellow in Design Leadership at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford), Daria Loi (Research scientist, Intel USA) and Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (CEO and Co-Founder, Tinker.it!, London). For more information, click here.

Experimenting on ‘The Secret You’

On Tuesday 20th October 2009, as a part of their long-standing series ‘Horizon’, BBC2 screened an episode ‘THE SECRET YOU’ where Professor Marcus de Sautoy explored the issues of experimentality in relation to human self-awareness. The Finding Moonshine blog describes the programme in the following way: ‘[t]o find out what progress they are making Marcus becomes a human guinea-pig in a series of mind probing experiments. He begins by asking when our self awareness emerges and witnesses a cunning test that convincingly reveals a child’s sense of self before they are even capable of talking about what they are feeling. The experiment begs a question: are we alone in the world in being aware of ourselves?’ (http://findingmoonshine.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-you-horizon-bbc2.html)

‘Daredevils’ as experimental figures

The recent Channel 4 series ‘Daredevils’ relate closely to the question of human experimentality in the non-academic but popular TV celebrity context. They exemplify an array of social themes and problematic questions about the nature of the experiment, its dissemination and public understanding.

Workshop 1: The Experimental Condition - blogs now online

On Thursday 15 and Friday 16 October, around fifty people gathered for the launch event of the Experimentality programme.  Participants enjoyed twelve papers that explored the notion of experimentality in relation to a variety of domains, a performance of Ringside by the performance artist Mem Morrison, and a great deal of very lively discussion. The blog postings on the presentations and discussion from the workshop can now be viewed online. 

Welcome to Experimentality!

To coincide with the launch event of Experimentality, we are launching this new, community website for the programme. Powered by the open source software Drupal, this website will provide up-to-date information about forthcoming events in the programme, viewable by category (workshops or art events) or in calendar form.  As the year progresses, it will also contain documentation in different formats of the individual events - a record of talks, presentations and performances, but also of the ensuing discussion and debate. 

But it also provides an opportunity to get involved in the programme in a more interactive way. You can register on the website, using the link at top right, and then create a profile indicating your interests and activities.  You can then also create your own Experimentality blog, posting ideas and thoughts that relate to the questions being pursued in the programme.  Importantly, you can comment on the blog postings by others, including the description of individual events, which will enable us to explore topics in more depth than is always possible during the events. You will also shortly be able to upload a profile picture and follow site activity using Twitter.

We hope that this website will extend participation in the programme to those unable to attend events, but also to create a space for more continuous discussion and sharing amongst participants.

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