Author Archives: Michaela Spencer

Michaela is a Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University. Her background is in environmental science, sociology, geography and Science and Technology Studies (STS), with her doctoral studies focusing on recent practices of environmental management and governance in Tasmania. Her current research involves working from the ‘Ground Up’ with Indigenous knowledge authorities, and differing traditions of knowledge and governance. This involves collaborative research for policy development, and engaging with government, service providers, university staff and Indigenous people in remote communities. So far this research has been focused around issues such as disaster resilience, emergency management, governance and leadership, remote engagement and coordination, volunteering and women’s health and wellbeing. This work drives her current interest in how social science may recognise itself as an active participant in contemporary governance practices, and as working at the interface of differing means for knowing and governing Australian people-places.

Choreographies of Magic and Mess: AusSTS in Melbourne and Darwin

As the presenter encouraged the academics in the room to consider what it means for nanotechnology to sell itself as ‘magic’, boots appeared outside the window behind him. The presenter was Dr. Declan Kuch from the University of NSW and the occasion was the AusSTS Graduate Workshop, which was held on the 12th floor of Deakin Downtown in Melbourne. The provocation Dr. Kuch presented: ‘who performs the magic and for whom?’, was illuminated by the real time, situated magical performance unfolding behind him, as four high-rise window washers descended, each swiping and cleaning in hypnotic choreography. They wore orange helmets and gloves to keep warm, blue buckets clipped to their belts and bandanas protecting their faces from the water, or perhaps from us, as we smiled and pointed and ogled at their daring feats. It was an STS moment: the physicality of the window washers; the labour/danger dynamic; talk of magic and nanotechnology—science and humanities colliding in a discomforting dance. (read more...)