WTMC Summer School Experimenting, or Trying to Change the World with STS

Anchor teacher: Michael Guggenheim

26 – 30 August 2019, Soeterbeeck, Deursen-Dennenburg (NL)

The WTMC Summer School is aimed at PhD candidates who are in the first phase of preparing their doctoral dissertations. The Summer School will offer many interesting insights in terms of both methodology and content. This year, the Summer School will focus on Experimenting: Trying to Change the World with STS. We are delighted that Michael Guggenheim will act as this year’s anchor teacher.

Michael Guggenheim has studied in Zürich and Berlin, and obtained a PhD in Sociology in 2005 from the University of Zürich.  Prior to coming to the UK, Michael worked and researched in Budapest, Vienna, Montreal, and Berlin. Michael has taught both artists at art schools and natural scientists at technical universities, which has informed his understanding of how to teach sociology and how it can be used to intervene in the world. He has always found it important to work and experiment with different media and produce both theoretical texts but also visual and sensory works. Michael’s work thus far has been defined by different yet connected themes relating to the relationship between experts and lay people, the role of objects for this relationship and on methodical and theoretical innovation derived from the combination of science studies with sociological theory. Michael was the lead PI on the ERC-funded project “Organising Disaster: Civil Protection and the Population“, which looked at how disaster experts conceive of the population.

This Summer School will engage with how STS scholars have provided accounts of how the sciences change the world through intervention and experiments, while STS work itself seems to differ from such relationships to the world: STS seems to either insist on a position of neutrality or on taking sides in controversies.

In this Summer School we want to take up various recent attempts to move to a more experimentalist and interventionist STS which is learning from its own accounts of science. What could STS experiments look like? What happens if STS scholars design interventions and devices to invent the (social) world? How do we account for our own roles in such experiments and how do we care for the people with whom we design such projects? What is the role of devices, exercises, prototypes, and trials? How can we gain the necessary skills to design such experiments? We will provide an overview over recent attempts to create experimentalist interventions and work with participants to turn their own projects into experimentalist interventions. We will also discuss how an experimentalist STS fits within the ongoing changes of current academia.

Guest lecturers: Bernd Kräftner (Angewandte, Vienna), Willem Halffman (Radboud University), Klasien Horstman (Maastricht University) and Nelly Oudshoorn (University of Twente).

Preparation for the Summer School is estimated at 80 hours in total. The Summer School is credited with 5 ECTS. The Summer School is residential as the programme continues into the evening (not on Friday). Full participation in all parts of the programme is required.

PhD candidates who are enrolled in the WTMC educational programme are only charged €10 per day for meals. For external PhD candidates, a participation fee of €1130 (€1060 for members of EASST) is charged. Accommodation and meals are provided and included in the fee.

The Summer School takes place at Meeting and Conference centre Soeterbeeck, Deursen-Dennenburg (near Nijmegen) in The Netherlands.


The registration form for this Summer School is available here.

Please register by 31 May 2019!


If you have any practical questions related to the Summer School, please contact Elize Schiweck: [email protected].

For content-related questions, contact the coordinators Anne Beaulieu: [email protected]  or Bernike Pasveer: [email protected]