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
To promote the social contextualization of science in education and other activities beyond the participants' current disciplinary and academic boundaries.
2. Innovative workshop processes
To facilitate participants connecting theoretical, pedagogical, practical, political, and personal aspects of the issue at hand in constructive ways.
3. Training and capacity-building
To train novice and experienced scholars in process / participation skills valuable in activity-centered teaching, workshops, and collaboration.
4. Repeatable, evolving workshops
To provide a workshop model that can be repeated, evolve in response to evaluations, and adapted by participants.
5. Tangible outcomes and experiences developed beyond the workshop
For participants to go on to build on the tools and processes of the workshop, on connections made among participants, and on their contributions to the issue at hand, buoyed by the enthusiasm, hope, resolve, and courage that is generated by the learning, interacting, sharing, connecting, and communing that happens during the workshop.
See Background and Rationale for each objective, including how it will be achieved and evaluated.
Postponed to date to be determined, and to be hosted by "Open Space Workshops on Scientific and Social Change"
Applications are sought from researchers (including graduate students) and other professionals who are interested in exploring ways to open up new directions in epidemiological thinking and research. An interest in "not simply continuing along previous lines" (to quote a participant in a previous workshop) means sharing and extending perspectives, problems, tools, connections, and audiences that draw us outside our previous comfort zones. The workshop activities will build on what the participants contribute, but topics addressed might include:
"Opening up New Directions in Epidemiology and Population Health"
The workshop will also introduce participants to tools and processes for individual reflection and group interaction designed to produce insights and deepen the people-connections valuable for putting those insights into practice after the workshop (see 2011 paper on the workshop processes).
- Popular epidemiology and community-based participatory health research
- Lay epidemiology and bringing epidemiological thinking into public discourse
- Promoting discussion among researchers beyond epidemiology proper
- Teaching non-specialists to become conversant with the methods, results, and controversies in epidemiology and related fields
- Innovative research designs; Alternatives to various statistical conventions
- Visual thinking and communication
- Lessons from historical case studies
- Bringing the histories and philosophies of other disciplines to bear in re-framing persistent or stubborn research questions
- How to support each other doing more in-depth, less-conventional work
- Conditions for professional and scholarly creativity
- ...and more (to be determined by participants)
Applicants selected for the workshop will be expected to contribute before, during, and after the workshop in the following ways:
1. Talk to the organizer to explore the options for bringing your thinking into the workshop interactions (including #2 and #4 below).
Registration is on a sliding scale--$125 (for those with low incomes and lack of travel support) up to $300 (for those with a decent income and institutional/grant support). Registration covers meal costs. Accommodation, at a local, moderately priced motel is extra.
2. Submit a thought-piece of your own related to the workshop topic OR prepare a sketch that reviews some part of the literature. (See examples from two shorter workshops in Fall '11)
3. Read these pre-circulated contributions beforehand so as to inform discussion during the workshop.
4. Develop--either before or during the workshop--activities or interactive presentations to engage the other participants. (Talk to the organizer to explore the options for bringing your thinking into the workshop interactions.)
5. Write for 15-20 minutes on the workshop topic each day during the workshop and submit text to be collated and revised with a view to producing a written product.
6. Join at least some of the monthly hour-long conference calls that support reflection and practice beyond the workshop.
The funding available to help get people to the workshop is modest, but we have managed to subsidize travel and accommodation in past years according to need (which favors graduate students and independent scholars, but does not count out those with regular positions but no travel budgets). Applicants should let us know what you need to be able to attend.
Location: Woods Hole MA, USA
Dates to be determined
Organizer & Lead Facilitator: Peter J. Taylor, University of Massachusetts Boston, Science in a Changing World graduate track.
Applications or expressions of interest can be submitted any time. (Application details & arrangements)
Sections to follow (or to be added in due course) and associated links
(Much of the working, "in progress" material is developed on a wiki, and only the final products and reports are posted here. Thus some of these links are placeholders for material not yet available.)
Adjustments relative to previous workshops
List of participants, short profiles, and webpages (as of 13 Nov. '11))
Peter Taylor (organizer)
Having worked for many years on ecology and environmental research (Unruly Complexity, U. Chicago 2005), I have been taking my interests in heterogeneous complexities in new directions through engagement with various social epidemiological approaches that address the intersections of environment, health, and development. I direct the graduate programs in Critical and Creative Thinking and Science in a Changing World at the University of Massachusetts Boston and teach a doctoral course on epidemiological thinking for non-specialists. My personal goals in organizing this workshop are to learn more from epidemiologists about what shapes their practice in research and public health while developing my approaches to stimulating creativity and reflective practice among scientists.
wiki version of program
Last update 18 February '12