Reclaiming our futures: people, science and environmental change

Event Date: 14 November 2011
Penthouse Suite, Collingwood College,
South Road,
Durham, DH1 3LT

Reclaiming our futures: people, science and environmental change

What is this event about?

This is the first in a series of events designed to engage academics and community partners in dialogue about some of the major environmental challenges facing us and possible technological and social responses. In the relaxed atmosphere of a café-style event, we will hear views of local residents, community groups, natural and social scientists and other interested people.

What is the purpose of the event?

How to live with environmental change represents perhaps the critical issue of our times. However, what science gets funded and addressing whose problems remains a thorny issue. Traditionally, science used to settle these issues itself. But these days are past. Now science increasingly needs to be accountable to the public interest and ensure that the questions it asks reflect broader public values. But how?

At the heart of the event lies recognition that the questions that members of the public ask of science are often unfamiliar to scientists. While scientists often seek technical answers to tightly defined questions, members of the public are interested in wider questions. These may include: What is the purpose of your research? Why are you doing it? What are you going to gain? What else will it do? What are the risks and ethical implications of your research? How have these been considered? How do you know you are right? Might the speed of development exceed our ability to control it? How can we trust you? Can we be involved? These questions and more will be at the heart of the conversation.

What will happen?

In the ‘future worlds café’ – an informal café-style event where participants can discuss issues in small table groups over a period of hours – we will be exploring new forms of interaction between practising scientists and the wider County Durham and North East community. We will be asking natural and social scientists to reflect on their work in ways that connect with the issues and concerns of the wider public. We will also be asking local residents to reflect on their issues and consider how their questions could be addressed from the scientific community. Science will be ‘on tap, not on top’.

Composer and Artist – Trevor Wishart, composer and Ingrid Sylvestre, artist will record the event and use the materials for future compositions.
This series is part of Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study 2011-12 Futures II Programme.
Additional funding has been provided by Beacon NE and Musicon. Organised by the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action and Durham Energy Institute. For further details contact:
Gerald Aiken, gerald.aiken@durham.ac.uk
Website: www.dur.ac.uk/beacon/socialjustice/

 

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Programme
Introduction and Welcome by

  • Professor Sarah Banks
  • Professor Phil Macnaghten
  • Dr Mieko Kanno
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Table discussions on community concerns and the environment
Table 1

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Table 2
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Table 3
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Presentations on science at Durham University – including biofuels, re-manufacturing engineering, photovoltaics, environmental remediation.

Introductions to presentations Professor Phil Macnaghten, .

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Professor John Gluyas: People, Science and Environmental Change
[AUDIO HERE]

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Karen Johnston: My Vision
[AUDIO HERE
]

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Professor Kevin Flynn: Biofuels from Microalgae
[AUDIO HERE
]

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Dr Qing Wang: Remanufacturing Towards a more Sustainable Future
[AUDIO HERE
]

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Professor Nicky Gregson: New Storylines
[AUDIO HERE 

]

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Introductions to the discussion of the presentations by Professor Phil Macnaghten .

Table discussions on presentations and reflections on citizen engagement

Table 1

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Table 2
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Table 3
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Feedback and pulling out key themes and close

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