The (fourth) STS Talk-Walk: Travelling – how to make our work travel?

by Malte Ziewitz

The first STS Talk-Walk of the year revolved around the issue of travelling: how to make our work travel? This turned out to be a concern not just for the master and doctoral students among us, but also the post-docs and professors. What is it to ‘reach’ an audience and be ‘understood’? What do we want our research to do? Who do we relate to and how? Lots of food for thought thanks to the Amsterdam group, who had shared the topic on their blog.

The 'Travellers': Fredrik, Andreas, Malte, Torben, Helene, Cristina and (right behind you) Chandrika

The 'travellers': Fredrik, Andreas, Malte, Torben, Helene, Cristina and (right behind you) Chandrika

To give you an idea of what this was about, here are three random issues we discussed while walking:

  • Work doesn’t need to be written up and published to start travelling. Already asking a question in an interview (or asking for an interview) can be a way to spread ideas and foster new relationships.
  • Who to relate to in our work? The ‘big shots’ in the field or rather unknown younger scholars? While some expressed their frustration with reading the 87th reinterpretation of ‘Pandora’s Hope’ and preferred to learn about the potentially better fitting work of recent graduates, others were skeptical of abandoning big names entirely since it may help researchers get noticed in the first place.
  • A final observation concerned the ways in which we managed (or did not manage) to make our own work travel during the talk-walk. Although there always is a cross-cutting theme, we usually spend at least a few minutes to tell our respective conversation partners what we are currently working on. While some of these accounts seem to have travelled well, others caused frowning and confusion. This led some of us to turn the issue into a topic and try out different ways of telling their stories.

Next STS Talk-Walk: Friday, 18 February 2011, 2pm. More info here.

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