New England Workshop on Science and Social Change

The New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC) organizes innovative, interaction-intensive workshops designed to facilitate discussion, teaching innovation, and longer-term collaboration among faculty and graduate students who teach and write about interactions between scientific developments and social change.

Specific objectives of NewSSC

  • 1. Promote Social Contextualization of Science
  • 2. Innovative workshop processes
  • 3. Training and capacity-building
  • 4. Repeatable, evolving workshops See Background and Rationale for each objective , including how it will be achieved and evaluated.

    Funding for the 2007 workshop has been provided by the National Science Foundation (SES-0551843)

    Spring 2007 Workshop
    "Collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry "

    How do we make sense of the growing attention to the collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry? All research is collaborative-even solitary scientists have to secure audiences if their findings are to become established as knowledge-so why emphasize collaboration in environmental research? The reasons put forward are diverse: How are such different angles on collaboration related in theory and practice? In what ways can scientists, science educators, and scholars in history, philosophy, and social studies of science conceptualize, interpret, teach about, and engage in the collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry? What can we learn reflexively from our own experience in an interaction-intensive workshop around these questions?
    Applications are sought from teachers and researchers (including graduate students) who are interested in promoting the social contextualization of science through interdisciplinary education and outreach activities beyond their current disciplinary and academic boundaries.

    Location: Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole MA, USA
    Dates April 19 (Thurs, 9am)-22 (Sun, 2pm), 2007

    Organizer: Peter J. Taylor, University of Massachusetts Boston, Programs in Science, Technology and Values and Critical and Creative Thinking.
    Facilitator: Denise Lach, Oregon State
    Evaluator: Steve Fifield, University of Delaware


    Sections to follow (or to be added in due course) and associated links

    Adjustments relative to previous workshops

    See wikipage on proposed changes after the 2006 workshop

    Precirculated materials

    Papers, manuscripts, weblinks

    See password protected link below

    Notes towards possible sessions/activities

    See password protected link below

    Profiles of Participants

    (Use password-protected link above to view longer profiles and resources that participants shared during the workshop.)

    Molly Anderson
    Independent scholar and consultant
    Active in three projects that involve negotiation with others about environmental knowledge, from the starting point of embracing open inquiry (the International Assessment of Agricultural Science & Technology for Development) or using environmental knowledge to create better policy (national Farm & Food Policy Project). Project Manager on a two-year Sustainable Community-based Food Systems Indicators Project, exploring the use of Wiki technology and other methods to maximize broad participation in the development of key documents and the indicators themselves by diverse stakeholders.

    Alison Brovold
    Science educator, now working closely with a Mayan community organization to create and improve environmental education programs based on experiential learning and community involvement.

    Jan Coe (apprentice)
    Grad. student, UMass, Boston (& reference librarian, Rio Hondo College)
    Bioethics, consensus conferences, problem-based learning

    Giovanna DiChiro
    Mt. Holyoke College
    Recently received an EPA environmental health grant to work in partnership with Nuestras Ra’ces ("our roots") a community-based environmental justice organization that serves the predominantly low-income Puerto Rican/Latino residents of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

    Sally Duncan
    Policy Research Director, Institute for Natural Resources, Oregon State U.. Also directs the Oregon Sustainable Agriculture Resource Center and is responsible for convening workshops on policy integration for natural resource issues.

    Denise Lach
    Oregon State
    Areas of interest include: Small Group Dynamics, Organizational Sociology, Conflict and Dispute Resolution
    Current projects include: Examination of changing roles and expectations for science and scientists in natural resource decision making, Institutional resistance to changes in the water sector

    Marisa Santos Matias
    Coimbra, Portugal
    Relations between health, environment and sustainability, namely through their enactment in situations of public controversy

    Tom Powers
    philosophy, University of Delaware and faculty research fellow at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. Recently, he has been working on an analysis of environmental ethical holism, in order to focus research on environment, health, and safety concerns in nanotechnology.

    Jeremy Price
    Emerging technologies to support the development of communities of practice and the organization of information within and across classrooms and groups. Plan to work with my local land trust to foster a sustainable interest in issues of land use and conservation across the community at large and to support interest in environmental science and local action and policy.

    Alex Racelis
    Doctoral candidate, University of California in Santa Cruz, Environmental Studies. Research on ecological and socioeconomic implications of the commodification of forest resources in the maya forests of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Also a Science Fellow in the Center for Informal Learning, focused on interdisciplinary science teaching and the role of experiential learning on teaching the concept of interdisciplinarity.

    Erich Schienke
    Penn State
    Researches how environmental knowledge is produced, prioritized, and communicated between scientists, policy makers, and the public. Geopolitically, interest in these questions remains situated in contemporary China. Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pennsylvania State University's Rock Ethics Institute and a Lecturer in the Science, Technology and Society Program. At the Rock Ethics Institute, works on two projects: the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change (EDCC) initiative, and a research project, supported by a grant from the NSF, concerning the training of ethics to environmental science graduate students.

    Peter Taylor (organizer)
    UMass Boston
    Studies the "unruly complexity" or "intersecting processes" of, respectively, ecological or environmental situations and the social situations in which the environmental research is undertaken. These cannot be understood from an outside view; instead positions of engagement must be taken within the complexity. Knowledge production needs to be linked with planning for action and action itself in an ongoing process so that knowledge, plans, and action can be continually reassessed in response to developments -- predicted and surprising alike.

    Program (after evolution occurring during the workshop)

    New England Workshop on Science and Social Change:

    Collaborating to Generate Environmental Knowledge & Inquiry

    April 18-22, 2007

    Woods Hole, Massachusetts



    Wednesday, April 18: Arrivals






    Rendezvous at Logan Airport and/or in Campus Center, UMass-Boston



    Dinner at UMass Boston



    Travel to Woods Hole

    Time for initial conversations

    ~8:30 pm

    Arrive at Woods Hole, Swope Hall

    Check in

    Early arrivals ask for directions to dinner places, Captain Kidd, etc.


    8:30 -

    Social (Captain Kidd)

    Time for conversation for those who want to participate


    Thursday, April 19: Exposing Diverse Points of Potential Interaction






    Breakfast (freelance in Woods Hole)



    Lillie 103

    Welcome and initial activity (guided free writing and hopes for workshop)


    Denise Lach & Peter Taylor

    Welcome people to workshop, explain details that need to be covered, talk about what your hopes for workshop


    Autobiographical Introductions – 15 minutes each


    Denise Lach facilitates

    Peter Taylor will go first to model


    Everyone encouraged to take notes on points of intersection, interest, curiousity

    Give participants an opportunity to

    1.    introduce themselves in narrative depth, their current and emerging work, and

    2.    learn more about each other






    Autobiographical Introductions – con’t


    Followed by “Sense of Place” mapping and “Songlines” connections

    Denise Lach facilitates



    Sense of place:  where am I? where am I coming from? Where am I going?





    Participant-generated Activity I: What principles can inform good practice in collaborating in the generation of environmental knowledge?


    Peter Taylor

    Introduce a practice for collaborating to generate new knowledge



    Reflection and debrief


    Denise Lach

    Taking stock of what happened today, exploring ideas generated by autobiographies, getting ready for tomorrow






    (Brought in from restaurant)



    Friday, April 20: Focus on Detailed Case Study and Excursion for Informal Conversations






    Check –in



    Discussion of Case study/Key article


    Wild Science and GIS

    Sally Duncan

    Exploring commonalities and differences around a specific case






    Continued discussion



    Picnic Lunch and Excursion: a walk on the beach

    Conversation among participants, reflecting on emerging ideas, enjoy the day





    Formation of work groups to develop activities and signup for office hours (one-on-one consulting)


    Peter Taylor & Denise Lach facilitate

    Move to participants taking initiative to make things happen, including planning activities for day three and morning of day four


    Preparation for Participant-generated Activities



    Debrief on the day



    Dinner (brought in from restaurant)



     Bedtime reading



    Participants read passages, poems


    1.    Identify ways that collaboration (in general and in science) is depicted in cultural artifacts 

    2.    Identify other ways of describing and thinking about collaboration


    Saturday, April 21: Activities to Engage each Other in our Projects






    Breakfast (freelance in Woods Hole)



    Check-in: I didn’t expect to be thinking about…


    Denise Lach



    Preparation for Participant-generated Activities






    Participant-generated Activity II – explore the role of environmental scientists in policy-making



    Lunch and Break

    Long break for conversation, catching up, walking, reflecting


    Office hours






    Participant-generated Activity III – Writing Scenarios for Teaching that Relates to Collaboration in Environmental Inquiry (see password protected webpage)






    Dinner (brought in from restaurant)



    Dialogue Process (Theme: Our past & future engagements in collaborative environmental knowledge-making or aspects of this)


    Exploring other ways of knowing and/or working together, experience understandings emerging in a group listening/speaking process


    Sunday, April 22: Further Activities to Engage each Other in our Projects & Outreach Units and Taking Stock of the Experience






    Breakfast (freelance in Woods Hole)


    Check out of room and bring bags to Lillie 103



    Check in



    Activity IV: Explore collaboration

    Led  by participants







    Activity V: Whose knowledge? Organization of wastepickers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil



    Written evaluation



    Articulate and review what people found innovative, important, helpful; what they would like to change


    Closing circle: What we are taking away to chew on & Appreciation & Something to be developed



    Lunch & clean up & farewells






    References cited during sessions

    Last update 15 July '08