The Walkshops

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Many of the routines and standard practices of academic life do little to actively explore and experiment with the structure of working environments, spaces and relationships thus the social and ethical aspects of modern science. They do even less to address the importance of contextual and embodied dimensions of thinking (…) Through walkshops, we have spent several days walking together with our colleagues and students in open outdoor spaces, keeping a sustained intellectual discussion on ethical aspects of science, technology and innovation while moving through these landscapes (…) The value of both using the outdoors and walking as a way to stimulate reflective thinking have been appreciated and documented in various fields: Aristotle/Rousseau/ Heidegger/Human Geographers/ etc (…) What the move from the indoors to the outdoors or from the campus to the mountains offers for us is rather an altered nature/culture dynamic, different materialities, and a change in degree, going from a relatively static, controlled, secure environment to a more varied, dynamic and challenging terrain (…) More concretely, the value that we have experienced using this approach includes: the ability to use the materiality of a landscape as a tool for facilitating reflection, the capacity to productively alter social dynamics through enabling embodied encounters and challenging existing hierarchies, and the power to alter established patterns of thought through the combination of unmediated outdoor experiences with different social dynamics.

 

References

Fern Wickson, Roger Strand, Kamilla Lein Kjolberg, 2015. The Walkshop Approach to Science and Technology Ethics. In Sci Eng Ethics (2015) 21:241–264, DOI 10.1007/s11948-014-9526-z

Image taken form the walkshop implemented in June 2016 for NTUA postgraduate course ‘Methodological Tools of Analysis for Creating Strategies of Integral Urban Interventions’ in collaboration to the Urban Emptiness Network.

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