International Symposium - 17th & 18th February 2014

Transforming Public Engagement on Controversial Science & Technology

Te Whare Tapere Iti, The Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts
The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand


New and emerging technologies are simultaneously playing with human hopes and anxieties. In the struggles between good and evil, utopia and dystopia, prosperity and poverty, new science remains riddled with controversy, pendulating between contradictory and conflicting sources of information. How can we facilitate public engagement on controversial science that goes beyond the usual pro- and anti- positions to create a mosaic for the future that features people’s aspirations in myriad shapes?  And how can we feed new ideas for policy makers to work with?

An interdisciplinary research team led by Associate Professor Priya Kurian and Professor Debashish Munshi of the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, is hosting a two-day symposium on re-shaping public engagement on potentially controversial new and emerging technologies. The symposium brings together ideas on public engagement on new technologies from the sciences, social sciences, the humanities, the arts, public policy, and communication, and features discussions among academics, practitioners, and policy analysts. The symposium is part of Dr Kurian and Dr Munshi's project on Sustainable Citizenship: Transforming Public Engagement on New and Emerging Technologies funded by a Marsden Grant of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Academics, researchers, students, policy analysts and planners, and artists with an interest in public engagement and science and technology from New Zealand as well as from overseas are participating in the symposium. Participation involves brief paper presentations, position statements, or quite simply a willingness to share ideas and engage with the discussions.

The Symposium Programme is now available to view and download.

Keynote Speakers

Prof J Dryzek Dr K Tallbear Dr L Kathlene Prof Shaun Hendy
Professor John Dryzek
Australian National
Professor Kim Tallbear
University of Texas,
Professor Lyn Kathlene
Spark Policy Institute,
Professor Shaun Hendy
University of Auckland

Confirmed discussion leaders for the symposium include Dr Alison Campbell of the University of Waikato, Associate Professor Joanna Goven of the University of Canterbury, Stephanie Howard of the Sustainability Council of New Zealand, Māui Hudson of the Te Kotahi Research Institute of the University of Waikato, Sandy Morrison of the University of Waikato, and Dr Richard Widick of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The featured artist for the symposium is policy analyst-turned-artist Meliors Simms.

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