Tag Archives: news from the council

Conferences and upcoming elections

On the first day of our EASST 2022 conference in Madrid, I had a very joyful experience. I walked through the large hall, from one end to the other and back. Everywhere I looked, I saw colleagues greeting and talking with each other – with much laughter and smiles. After the long Covid break, it was clear that we all enjoyed seeing each other again, sharing thoughts and experiences, and simply coming together as a community. That moment was magic and I was so happy and grateful that we managed to make it happen. 

Of course, the entire conference was wonderful. I listened to interesting talks. I spoke with PhD students, who were near the end of their studies and had never before participated in a physical conference. I re-united with old friends and made new ones. Thank you to all who were there and made it such a great conference.

That said, I promised in the members meeting at the conference to re-iterate what I wrote in an earlier edition of the EASST Review. In the EASST Council, we know the conference fee for Madrid was high. When we originally had to decide on a venue, we basically had no choice. There were no universities, which would let us book their venues and there were no other venues, which could host a conference that size with possible Covid restrictions. So at that moment our choice was between the expensive IFEMA – or no conference. Thanks to the fact that so many of you managed to come, we expect that the final accounts will end very close to a balance. And I should probably add that EASST activities are not entirely covered by our membership subscription fees, so a small surplus from conferences is generally necessary to continue as we do at the moment.

While we are still enjoying the afterthoughts of the Madrid conference, Council is already working on deciding the next venue for the conference joint with 4S in 2024. We expect to make a decision this autumn. As part of this, we will also consider the future of STS conferences. One option is to make hybrid conferences, another idea is to host EASST conference every year, so it is always possible to travel to an annual STS conference by train (see also the excellent piece on conference travel in this issue). We would like to develop a system so that we reduce our carbon footprint, but we also think physical meetings are important. 

Council has also been working with the editors of our house journal Science and Technology Studies to find a new coordinating editor. The new editor will be announced soon. Finally, I want to emphasize that we have elections for Council coming up, with the deadline for nominations 1 October. I hope many of you will consider running for Council. It is a nice collective to be part of – and if you have opinions on conferences, the future publication landscape of STS, or other important topics, this is the place to engage.

Maja Horst, President of EASST

News from the Council

Dear members of EASST

Warm greetings to you all. We would like to update you on the latest developments regarding EASST. At our Council meeting in June we discussed several issues of great importance.

First of all, we are working towards holding a physical conference in 2022. We have decided that this will take place in Madrid. We are currently negotiating with a potential venue and setting up a local conference committee to be expertly chaired by Vincenzo Pavone.

Previously, we have run our conferences in a university setting. However, that will not be possible in 2022. Our conference has outgrown the capacity of most European universities. And many universities find themselves unable to commit to holding a conference next year given that we do not exactly know how the pandemic will develop.

Nevertheless, Council has decided to take a leap of faith and trust that we can have a physical conference next year. In particular, we really, really miss the face-to-face interaction and fun of our past conferences. However, the fact that we are opting for a professional venue means that organizing costs will increase. Our registration fees will therefore be higher compared to the Lancaster venue (20-30%). We regret this, but can see no other way to proceed. Once we have an overview of the entire budget we will consider support measures to keep the event as inclusive as possible. We hope that you, our community, will accept this and join us in making the Madrid conference next year a huge success.

Secondly, Council members had a good initial discussion about our responsibility as a scholarly community to support open science and the creation of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) data around our scholarly activities – for instance our conference and publication work. We will not be able to lift this agenda singlehandedly, but we will try to collaborate with other actors who share in our beliefs about the importance of open availability of our (meta)data and publications (rather than having ownership reside with big publishing companies that are not working according to the same principles). We have formed a working group that will work with this theme and suggest ways forward.

We also discussed forming a group that will review our EASST awards (Amsterdamska, Freeman & Ziman awards) and the process by which these are decided. We would like to hear from you, our community, about this. What is it that you believe we should award as a community and how you think we should celebrate our scholarly achievements? If you have views, comments and questions regarding this, please send an email to Maja using majho(at)dtu.dk.

Finally, we discussed how to proceed with identifying a conference venue for what we hope will be a joint conference with 4S in 2024 (they seem as keen as we are). We also discussed how to manage our EASST fund for extra-conference activities, our prize committees and our own budget and admin.

We hope you all have/had a very happy Summer and a well-deserved holiday break.
On behalf of EASST Council,

Ulrike Felt and Maja Horst
President and President elect of EASST