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Knowing & doing: training at the human/non-human intersection 
Alexios Tsigkas (FLAME University)
Liliana Gil (Ohio State University)
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Alexios Tsigkas (FLAME University)
Liliana Gil (Ohio State University)
Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores training as a heuristic that challenges the skill/expertise divide. From training algorithms, artificial intelligence, or service dogs, to cultivating human taste and acquiring a new practical skill, we embrace STS reflections and experiments on training in a broad sense.

Long Abstract:

STS has long used the concept of expertise to examine technoscientific practices, which tend to be seen as more knowledge-based than so-called embodied skills. Although this split between skill and expertise has been questioned, it is quite hard to undo (Collin and Evans 2009). In this panel, we explore the possibilities of training as a heuristic that challenges the skill/expertise divide. Focusing on training allows us to juxtapose practices often separated along the lines of manual and intellectual work. From training service dogs, algorithms, and artificial intelligence to cultivating human taste and acquiring a new practical skill, we welcome STS reflections on training in a broad sense. Our goal is to think about training across very different spheres such as laboratory work, computer science, performance arts, assembly lines, finance, ritual, sports, repair, gastronomy, etc.

We believe using training as a heuristic imposes careful attention to process, which can open unexpected connections between skills and spheres of practice. A capacious concept, training suggests the questions: How does one train oneself and others, including animals and machines, to execute and/or collaborate on a particular task? What do you train exactly? I.e., what skills do you acquire? Can a human train non-humans for non-human skills? How are training opportunities contextually distributed, and how do they shape communities of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991)? Who is being trained and who trains and why? What flows of knowledge are involved?

We are particularly interested in contributions that explore the messy distinctions between repetition and newness, imitation and creativity (Hallam and Ingold 2008), knowing and doing, as well as the intimate dialogues between body, tools, and the environment through training. Adopting a Combined Format Open Panel, we welcome experimental formats, such as performances, artworks, dialogue sessions, collective experiments, films, or mini-workshops.

Accepted contributions: