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Futures work 
Daniel Neyland (Bristol Digital Futures Institute)
Rebecca Coleman (University of Bristol, UK)
Jessica Ogden (University of Bristol)
Sanja Milivojevic (University of Bristol)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Futures have been at the centre of STS work from its inception and have since flourished conceptually and methodologically. In this panel we seek to explore ‘futuring’ through futures thinking, digital futures, future histories, the futures of STS itself, and experiments with futures work.

Long Abstract:

Futures of one kind or another have been at the centre of STS work from its inception. Early concerns to counter over-simplified forms of determinism (MacKenzie and Wajcman, 1999), for example, encouraged explorations of a broader range of standpoints in relation to the future. Work on technology and society in-the-making (Callon, 1987), practices of innovation (Akrich, 1992) and the broadening of science studies to incorporate technology (Woolgar, 1991), each carried with them putative concerns for making sense of things emerging or yet to be. Futures have since flourished in STS conceptually and methodologically. In the last few years, we have seen a broad range of activities from events focused on nuclear futures (Lancaster, 2022) to future humans (Harvard, 2022). And we have seen groundbreaking research on futures and education (Dix, 2019), genes (Horst, 2005), soil (de la Bellacasa, 2015), promissory organizations (Pollock and Williams, 2010), and expectations (Brown and Michael, 2003), among many other areas. Methodologically, STS has found itself in the company of speculative futures, future labs and digital futures institutes and in different forms these each continue to push for the future to be a key matter of concern. Within this work, the futures of STS itself has also come under continual scrutiny: just what are the consequences of STS being conscripted to do futures work?

In this panel we seek to explore this varied ‘futuring’. We would be delighted to receive abstracts on: futures thinking and methodologies; digital futures and emerging technology; histories of the future; how STS approaches, perhaps in tandem with other disciplines (including STEM), can shape alternative, even better, futures; concerns for the futures of STS itself; experiments with different forms of futures work.

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3