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Workshop 1- Brian Wynne, ‘Experiment, memory and social learning’

Brian Wynne’s (CESAGen, Lancaster University) presentation, after the global perspective on experimentality illustrated by previous papers, was focused on the local approach in the context of sheep farmers' history of post-1986 radioactive fall out. Wynne opened his paper by referring to Rheinberger’s concept of experimental persistence, presenting the experimental practises of science as unsystematic, accidental, arbitrary and blind. He presented the system of production as that which does not immediately facilitate learning but obstructs it, mainly through the failure of memory in scientific bodies and groups.

Workshop 1 - Melissa Leach, 'Experimenting with Development'

Melissa Leach (STEPS, University of Sussex) opened her presentation observing that it has long been said that Africa is a laboratory, used as a site for many projects that exemplify experimentality on a narrow scale – in the sense of clinical and field trials. Following this she argued more broadly that the development project can be seen as experiment, generating its own institutions and industry; its own experimental practices; its own ways of dealing with uncertainty, evaluating and reaching closure. Leach illustrated how more broadly still a far more global ‘experimental condition’ is exemplified, as the global systemic effects of interlocked, unpredictable changes become apparent (i.e. climate change, food and energy crises, pandemics). In her talk she offered some thoughts on how experimentality operates at each of these levels and made several cross-cutting observations and arguments that apply (in different ways) to all.

Workshop 1 - Discussion - The Age of the Generalised Experiment

Discussion following ‘The Age of the Generalised Experiment’ panel with Michael Dillon and Nigel Thrift explored  three themes: that of the nature of information systems, that of the counter forces to total war, and that of the politics of the security-entertainment complex.

Workshop 1 - Nigel Thrift, ‘The Transformation of Contemporary Capitalism’

Nigel Thrift (Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick) opened his paper by asking a question: What if there were several ontologies constituting the world? He likened the contemporary social reality to ‘LIFEWORLD INC.’ and proceeded in arguing that there is a new kind of naturalism appearing in the world – although culture is the same, natures differ, thus multiplying ontologies.

Workshop 1 - Michael Dillon ‘Warfare as Experiment’

Michael Dillon (Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University) opened his presentation by pointing to the two main assumptions that his approach is based on. Firstly, he argued that (modern, western, liberal) war is an experimental practise, explaining that war and experiments in science share a similar history. Secondly, Dillon pointed to the fact that war and experimentation not only go together and but are a logical formation – war is the extension of politics by other means and experiment is an extension of war by other means.

Workshop 1 - Bogdan Costea, 'Managerialism, Creativity and the University'

Bogdan Costea’s (Organization, Work and Technology, Lancaster University) presentation was an attempt to offer an interpretation of the explosive growth of the idiom of creativity in current managerial and academic culture. His hypothesis stated that, in its current phase, managerialism may have struck gold by appropriating one of the significant elements of the popular self-understanding of a globalised bourgeoisie.

Workshop 1 - Marion McClintock, ‘The Post-war UK University’

Marion McClintock (Honorary Archivist and former Academic Registrar, Lancaster University) opened her presentation with a comparison of the social reality in Lancaster after the Second World War and now. She explained how, 20 years after the death of Lord Ashton in 1930, the Lancaster community was still dominated by the rivalry of two major family companies, in contrast to 2009 when main Lancaster employers are two universities and a hospital.

Workshop 1 - Cornelius Borck, ‘Dancing With the Brain: Voodoo Science, False Colours, and Attentive Failures’

Cornelius Borck’s (Institute for History of Medicine and Science Studies, University of Lübeck) presentation followed the theme of the appropriation of simulation by science with a strong sense that one cannot talk scientifically about any topic without it.

Workshop 1 - David Lomas, ‘Simulation and Experiment in Surrealism’

David Lomas (AHRC Surrealism Centre, University of Manchester) opened his presentation by emphasizing the far reaching implications of simulation and asking the following question: How is our picture of surrealism altered by restoring simulation to its place at its heart?

Workshop 1 - Introduction, day 2

Bron Szerszynski - Introduction to the second day of the workshop

Opening the second day of the workshop 1, Bron Szerszynski outlined four themes which had emerged in the previous day's discussion.

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