CSISP Events 2013-2014



Disaster and Politics: Materials, Experiments, Preparedness
Edited by Manuel Tironi, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt and Michel Guggenheim

Published by Wiley-Blackwell and The Sociological Review Monograph Series.

Friday 4 April, 18:00, Centre for Collective Collaboration 16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG.

  Peter Adey, Geography RHUL
  Noortje Marres, Sociology Goldsmiths
  Mark Pelling, Geography KCL

followed by Nibbles and Drinks

Attendance is free, but space is limited. Please register with

With kind support by the European Research Council.

with contributions by Nigel Clark, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Francisco Tirado, Manuel Tironi, Ignacio Farías, Katrina Petersen, Lucy Easthope and Maggie Mort, Ryan Ellis, Joe Deville, Michael Guggenheim and Zuzana Hrdličková, Gisa Weszkalnys and Mike Michael

To see the table of contents, please click here.



The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-2014

This year the Design and Social Science Seminar Series explores the burgeoning analytic interest and methodological preoccupation with data and the shifting terrain of data practices across design and social science. Incorporating lectures, workshops and demonstrations, the seminar series brings together a resonant range of events on data practices that provoke questions about the formation and force of data, the claims made for and through data, and the altered practices and politics of data.

Organised by Alex Wilkie, Jennifer Gabrys, Evelyn Ruppert & Noortje Marres


Friday 23rd May, 16.00-18.00, RHB 137a
Tahani Nadim (Zoological Museum, Berlin)
'Database imaginary: from deep sea to flat file and back'

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14

What was Visual Data?
30th April 2014, 4-6pm, 137a RHB

A Seminar with Isaac Marrero-Guillamon & Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths)

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Rubbish metrics and genomic idiots: live methods and data-intensive provocations
2nd April 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 137a (Richard Hoggart Building)

The presentation will describe four years work attempting to inhabit genomic databases ethnographically using a variety of methods, some of which involved repurposing bioinformatics tools and scientific visualizations, some of which entailed events and online encounters with genomic researchers. We describe the morphological and dimensional tensions of genomic data, the cantilevered and highly-leveraged epistemic cultures of data-intensive life sciences, and our idiotic attempts to construct provocations using data found in the genomic databases.

Adrian Mackenzie is a Professor in the Dept. of Sociology and Co-Director, Centre for Science Studies at Lancaster University. He works at the intersections of science and technology studies, media and cultural studies, and social and cultural theory.
Ruth McNally is a Principal Lecturer in Innovation, Technology and Management at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University.
Ruth's expertise is in science and technology studies, innovation studies, socio-legal studies, and the management of innovation and technology.

The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Mapping Participation

19th March 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 137 (Richard Hoggart Building)
with Chris Kelty (UCLA)

How can one map the empirical transformations of a concept? The "Birds of the Internet" project explores internet-mediated participation by looking across a large number of cases evaluated for their "participatoriness."  Participation is clearly not an either/or proposition, but a concept and a phenomena with different signatures.  However, we have no clear names for the different styles of participation that have emerged in the last decade, nor any clear understanding of how they relate to the large number of other "heteronyms" of participation in the past.  In the talk, I will offer a proposal for differentiating these signatures of participation--volatile, stable and extractive--and some thoughts on the use of clustering and case-study methods to analyse the circulation of concepts and transformation in use.  

Christopher Kelty works at UCLA, is the author of /Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software/, co-edits the scholarly magazine Limn, and does research on intellectual property, piracy, robots and evolution, freedom, responsibility and other pathologies of software and computing.

The Design & Social Science Seminar Series 2013-14
Machines of the Code-Sharing Commons, a mid-way report on a slightly large-scale analysis of software repositories
12th March 2014, 16.00-18.00
RHB 143 (Richard Hoggart Building)

Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey, Adrian Mackenzie, Richard Mills and Stu Sharples

The Metacommunities of Code project is an attempt to analyse code-sharing practices in free and open source software repositories, with a particular focus on GitHub.  This presentation will discuss: the emergence of repositories as a developing form characteristic of contemporary forms of work; the electronic archive as a space of production; the use of statistical approaches within software studies; the material difficulties of working with and extracting highly mobile, commercially sensitive datasets; and some notes towards an analysis of the nature of code-sharing.

Presentation by
Matthew Fuller works at the Digital Culture Unit at the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths.  His most recent books are ‘Evil Media’ (with Andrew Goffey) and ‘Elephant and Castle’ and he is an editor of ‘Computational Culture, a journal of software studies’.
Richard Mills is a Researcher with a background in statistics based at Lancaster University.  His PhD thesis was an analysis of Reddit.​

"Big Data Practices": Panel with the Journal Editorial Team, Big Data & Society (SAGE)
19th February 2014, 14.00-17.00
RHB 137a (Richard Hoggart Building)

Evelyn Ruppert, Goldsmiths (UK) - Why Big Data?
Paolo Ciuccarelli, Politecnico di Milano and DensityDesign (IT) - The Logo as Method

Panel 1:   
Matt Zook, New Mappings Collaboratory, University of Kentucky (US) - Mobile Phone Big Data and Visibility
Irina Shklovski, Digital Media & Communication Research Group, IT University of Copenhagen (DK) -  'Creepy apps’ and conceptions of personal space  

Panel 2:
Anatoliy Gruzd, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University (CA) -  Automated Discovery and Visualization of Communication Networks from Social Media
Richard Rogers, Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam (NL) - Digital Methods

5 February 2014
Dresses & Data: Methods for making archival materials matter
16.00-18.00, RHB 137, Richard Hoggart Building
with Kat Jungnickel (Goldsmiths)

In this session Kat Jungnickel will present work-in-progress on the ESRC funded 'Freedom of Movement: the bike, bloomer and female cyclist in late nineteenth century Britain'. This sociological research project examines the intersection of public space, new technology and gendered forms of mobile citizenship via a focus on middle and upperclass women's cycle wear. Methodologically it interweaves archival research data with the making of new Victorian cycling garments from innovative 1890s British patented designs in collaboration with contemporary craftspeople (a tailor, weaver and artist). Together with Rachel Pimm, she will demonstrate garments that enact forms of 'transformation' from the ordinary (everyday Victorian street wear) to the extra-ordinary (clothing that enabled the wearer to move in new ways). Throughout, she will discuss the opportunities and challenges of making archival materials (into) matter - what happens when sewing, cycling and sociology collide and what wearing your research might offer understandings of inventive methods and new modes of knowledge transmission.

28 January 2014
The data practices of citizen science

16:00 - 18:00, RHB137a, Richard Hoggart Building
with Tom August (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) Christian Nold (University College London) and Dan McQuillan  (Goldsmiths)

This event brings together different perspectives from science, art and computing  on the data practices that are currently being imagined, configured and tested under the broad rubric of 'citizen science.' It is organised as part of the Design and Social Science seminar series.

The event will take the form of a roundtable, with short presentations followed by discussion.

All welcome.

Tom August (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) is a computational ecologist. His work focuses on bridging the gap between research scientists and information technology experts.

Christian Nold (University College London) is an artist, designer and researcher working to develop new participatory models and technologies for communal representation. He is currently working on a PhD in the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL.

Dan McQuillan (Computing, Goldsmiths) is a Lecturer in Creative and Social Computing, co-founder of the Social Innovation Camp and blogs about social technology and social change at internet.artizans.

22 January 2014
"Through thick and thin: data as source and resource"
Interaction Research Studio (Design, Goldsmiths)
16:00 - 18:00 RHB137a, [Richard Hoggart Building]

As part of the Design and Social Science seminar series, the Interaction Research Studio will do a work-in-progress show & tell, featuring devices that deploy location-specific data.

All welcome. Noortje Marres (Sociology) will chair.

The Design and Social Science Seminar Series has been co-organised by the departments of Sociology and Design since 2008. This year's series explores the burgeoning analytic interest and methodological preoccupation with ‘data’ and the shifting terrain of data practices across design and social science. Incorporating lectures, workshops and demonstrations, the seminar series brings together a resonant range of events on data practices that provoke questions about the formation and force of data, the claims made for and through data, and the altered practices and politics of data.

4 December 2013
Materialising, Practicing, and Contesting Environmental Data
Citizen Sense (Jennifer Gabrys, Helen Pritchard, Tom Keene, Nerea Calvillo and Nick Shapiro)

As part of the “Data Practices” seminar series hosted across the Sociology and Design Departments at Goldsmiths, the Citizen Sense Lab (led by Jennifer Gabrys, with Helen Pritchard, Tom Keene, Nerea Calvillo and Nick Shapiro) will present preliminary research on tests undertaken of environmental sensing technologies.

The Citizen Sense presentation will address three technologies used for monitoring air pollution and the types of environmental data that they produce, including how environmental sensor data are generated, validated, mobilised and used as an attractor for different types of environmental practices and politics. The event will include a workshop where participants will have the opportunity to test and ask questions about sensor tech

27 November 2013
Data Practices: A Thing to Talk With
Alex Wilkie, Jennifer Gabrys, Evelyn Ruppert and Noortje Marres

In this opening event for the “Data Practices” seminar series hosted across the Sociology and Design Departments at Goldsmiths, the organisers of the series will discuss the theme of data practices. Jennifer Gabrys, chairing the event, will give an overall introduction to the series. Alex Wilkie will present work on data practices involved with the ESRC-funded “Energy and Co-Designing Communities” project with the Interaction Research Studio. Noortje Marres will discuss the collaborative development of an “associational profiler” used to analyse twitter data. And Evelyn Ruppert will elaborate on the process of developing the logo design for the new journal, Big Data and Society, on which she is co-editor.


Goldsmiths, May 29-30, 2014  

This symposium celebrates the 10 year birthday of CSISP, which quite miraculously coincides with the 50 year anniversary of Goldsmiths Sociology.

The event will explore the challenges associated with the 'return of the social', the pervasive suggestion that the 'social' is back, now that social media, social innovation and social design present and push themselves as objects, instruments and contexts of research and engagement.

We ask: can we understand these phenomena as renewed efforts at the socialization of technology, the environment and associated entities? We are especially interested in recent claims to the effect that sociality is not only enacted, but can equally be invented, produced and generated with devices and settings. This also raises the further, experimental question of how social and cultural research and theory themselves may participate in the invention of socials.

With: Andrew Barry (UCL), Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths), Nigel Clark (Lancaster University), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Will Davies (Warwick University), Maarten Derksen (Universiteit Groningen), Ignacio Farias (WZB, Berlin), Carolin Gerlitz (University of Amsterdam), Michael Halewood (Essex), Anders Koed Madsen (Aalborg University Copenhagen), Bernd Kraeftner/Judith Kroell (Vienna), Daniel Lopez (Catalunya), Linsey McGoey (Essex), Liz Moor (Goldsmiths), Fabian Muniesa (Mines Tech, Paris), Dan Neyland (Goldsmiths), David Oswell (Goldsmiths), Marsha Rosengarten (Goldsmiths), Evelyn Ruppert (Goldsmiths), Manuel Tironi (Catholic University of Chile)

A two day social media hackathon

Organised by: Dr Noortje Marres, David Moats

Presenters: Noortje Marres, Tommaso Venturini, Bernhard Rieder, David Moats
Respondents: Matthew Fuller, Lisa Blackman, Alex Wilkie

Date: 15-16 May 2014 10.00-17.00
Venue: RHB 350, Goldsmiths, University of London
Contact: David Moats 

The goal of this ESRC-funded multi-disciplinary workshop, open to up to 15 PhD students, will be to test popular digital tools of social research (such as Scraper-Wiki, ANTA, Google Scraper, Netvizz, Gephi, DMI-TCAT) and examine how they might be adapted for the specific needs of qualitative researchers, in a small group “hack-a-thon” environment. The overarching aim is to question, in a practical fashion, the divisions between qualitative and quantitative approaches, by engaging with digital methods for textual, network analysis and visualisation in critical and reflexive ways. We will explore how these methods, which are often embedded in the platforms being studied, shift the relationship between researchers, digital devices and research subjects. 

Student’s can come to the session with concrete proposals or specific research problems which will be discussed in relation to existing tools and mocked up in small groups. The second day will be devoted to workshopping a new social media analysis tool, already in development – advancing the protocol, user interface and/or design. This will be an opportunity for students (particularly from qualitative backgrounds) to familiarise themselves with methodological debates around Big Data, Digital Methods, Digital Sociology, and Digital Humanities through hands-on experience, as well as introducing them to the process of customising and developing web based applications in digital social research – working with designers, programmers and researchers from other disciplines. 

To apply, please send a brief bio and cover letter detailing the data you work with, your experience with digital tools and specific problems you've encountered to Participants will be selected based on the relevance of their work to the workshop goals, experience using digital tools will be looked on favourably but not required. Deadline for Applications 18th April.

Students may also wish to attend the Going Digital Workshop the previous week, which will introduce students to existing tools and approaches for digital social research.

Experiments in Knowledge Production
Open Access and the politics of the digital academy

March 20th 16:00-18:30.  
Goldsmiths, Deptford Town Hall, Room 109.

Science and Technology Studies has a long-standing interest in analysing the politics of knowledge production. One of its strengths is how it has been able to demonstrate the contingencies, blindspots and power-plays that are wrapped up in the creation, standardisation, and distribution of knowledge about the world across a variety of domains. Science and Technology Studies has, however, been less good in confronting the challenge that the rise of digital publishing and the Open Access movement poses to the conditions of its own forms of knowledge production. This event invites participants from a range of ongoing Open Access publishing initiatives to provide case studies and provocations for examining how some of these questions are being confronted in practice. It tests the usefulness of thinking of such initiatives as knowledge production experiments. What new entities are being put into the world by these experiments? How might relations between a potentially wide range of parties be reshaped? What controversies and ambiguities emerge? How are these opened up and closed down – by publishers, authors and the broader collectivities (some more visible than others) to which they are connected?

With members of Mattering Press ,Limn and Big Data & Society

This workshop is open to all. If you would like to attend please register your interest at

CSISP Salon with David Oswell

In an Age of Devices Before Devices, Are We All Post-Representation?

Thursday 13th December, 3-5pm in WT1204. 

This is an invitation to CSISP members and Sociology PhDs to join us for the CSISP Salon led by David Oswell. 

This Salon will be led by David Oswell and will explore the recent focus in STS on the concept of "devices". The intention though will be to contrast contemporary STS understandings of 'devices' with work in cultural theory and research from the 1980s. The intention is to raise questions about a 'post-representational' and 'materialist turn' in the context of the (inter)textualities of devices. In doing so, it is contended that for any sensible discussion of 'descriptive devices' an engagement with 'description' is as necessary as one with 'devices'. David has chosen two readings: Ian Hunter's (1984) 'After representation'  and Colin Mercer's (1984) 'Entertainment ore the policing of virtue'. The CSISP Salon is an ongoing meeting to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year we are exploring the works of classic STS thinkers and imagining what a cannon of "CSISP classics" might look like. 

CSISP Salon is an ongoing event where CSISP members meet to debate issues within the field of sociology of science and technology and beyond. This year the Salon will focus on the canon of "CSISP Classics". Each Salon will centre on figures central to the genealogy of STS, exploring the ways in which these thinkers animate the work of CSISP today. Participants are also encouraged to propose thinkers who are less commonly associated with STS, whose work might fruitfully be accommodated within this framework or indeed problematise it. 

All welcome but please let us know if you intend to come so we can plan accordingly. Email: