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Graduate Student Organization 6S Recaps Barcelona Adventures

Erika Szymanski and Margarita Rayzberg

24 October, 2016

Greetings from your Society for Social Studies of Science Student Section (6S) student reps! We hope you all had a productive and enjoyable time in Barcelona. As we return to our desks, our writing, our data collection, and our classrooms, we wanted to reflect on the activities of 6S during this year’s annual meeting and share what we are thinking about for this coming year. 6S exists to promote networking and professional development amongst students/early-career scholars in and interested in STS. To that end, 6S representatives organize social, professional development, and organizational events at each 4S meeting. This year, 6S also co-sponsored a pre-conference workshop with EASST, something which has been part of recent EASST meetings and which we anticipate may become a recurring feature of 4S meetings as well. By all measures, all of these events were successful and we look forward to building on this momentum in the coming year.


The pre-conference workshop organized by 6S representative Erika Szymanski, EASST student representative Marton Fabok, and a team of Barcelona students was free to participants thanks to the joint support of the 4S and EASST Councils. Attended by 55 students and early-careers scholars from across Europe, North America, and South America, the workshop was an incredible success with few logistical hiccups and many good conversations. Many participants met Tuesday evening for a dinner prepared by (and offered in support of) “recipe graffiti” artists in the Barceloneta district who are using traditional recipes to tell the story of Barceloneta's dockworkers and to try to reclaim this gentrifying neighborhood for it's longstanding working-class residents.


Wednesday began with a walking tour of the Poblenou district, where the workshop was held, to speak to the sociolpolitical histories of the area. Participants then settled at Hangar for three sessions on research practices, publishing, and careers “by other means,” all addressing strategies for professional practices that fall outside the academic norm. Small groups discussed publishing with open-access presses, research as community intervention, research through physical and multi-sensory practices, definitions of responsibility, relationships between identity and publishing/publicizing strategies, among much else. The ultimate lesson? Adding diversely experienced, interested, and interesting participants to urgent and emerging discussions is a good recipe for generative conversation.


Core 6S meeting events aim to create space for students/early-career scholars to meet, talk, and explore questions of common interest. We began by hosting a social evening Wednesday night at Bambú beach bar. Over 50 conference participants came to relax on the beach, indulge in drink specials, and continue conversations or start new ones. Beach couches and sand under our feet didn't hurt.


Our Friday professional development lunch, organized in part as a response to suggestions expressed at the 2015 meeting in Denver, addressed some of the why's and how's of building an international STS career. Anita Say Chan of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, Antii Silvast of the University of Edinburgh, and Malte Ziewitz of Cornell shared their experiences navigating differences across nations in institutional expectations, finding funding, and building personal and professional connections. As we plan for next year’s meeting, we welcome suggestions for themes around which to organize the professional development event.


Many of the decisions made around 6S events come out of our conversation during the 6S business meeting. This year we discussed the work of 6S and benefits of 4S membership, but focused especially on building stronger networks across institutions and continents. We've followed up on that conversation by creating a 6S Facebook group which we hope will be a space for the global 6S community to exchange information and comments, discuss STS-related activities, share career opportunities, and network. We invite you to join, to spread the word by inviting students and early-career scholars with interests in STS, and to use the space. Additional initiatives we discussed and may pursue include establishing relationships with existing regional STS organizations, inviting students from each of the major STS regional programs to become 6S liaisons, and creating a “welcome pack” to introduce 6S resources to new student members to 4S.


Thanks to everyone who came out to 6S events in Barcelona. If you are a student/early-career scholar, we invite you to join us at future meetings. If you occupy a different role, we hope that you'll share 6S with relevant students and colleagues. We also welcome your ideas and suggestions about strengthening our network, so please be in touch either by emailing one of us directly or through the 6S Facebook group. We wish you all a productive, creative year and look forward to seeing all of you in Boston in 2017.



Your 6S Student Representatives,

John Lunsford, Erika Szymanski, and Margarita Rayzberg



The Society for Social Studies of Science Student Section (6S) exists to facilitate interactions among students and junior scholars of science studies, and to promote the interests of students within 4S. 6S is run by a committee of students selected at each annual meeting and by two student representatives to the 4S council. The student section aims to make 4S more relevant for students through representation on the 4S council and by organizing specific activities for students and junior scholars. Since students make up over half of 4S members, an active student section directly contributes to the development of 4S as a whole. The student section is committed to broadening and deepening the internationalism of its membership in terms of both representation and research. In addition, in order to respond to current changes in academia internationally, 6S is working to better assist those in non-traditional studentships, teaching positions, or research jobs within and outside of academia.

Backchannels / Report-backs

Reports and commentary from meetings, workshops, and seminars of interest to the STS community, with images and other media.