Video Conferences


Lucy Suchman, Professor at Centre for Science Studies, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, will be speaking on Robot Biographies at 20:00 UTC on 7th October 2009. As preparation for the discussion we invite you to read her paper (written jointly with Claudia Castañeda), which can be downloaded here.

To participate in the video conference, either interactively as part of the video conference or watching live via the web, please contact either Laura Watts or Lyn Campbell (details below), or join the mailing list to be kept up to date.

Points of Contact

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere please co-ordinate with Lyn Campbell (Actor-Network Theory Group at Melbourne Graduate School of Education).

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere please co-ordinate with Laura Watts (Centre for Science Studies at Lancaster University UK).

If you would like to be kept informed more generally, please join our Mailing List.


A trans-continental video conference seminar series in 2009 on the theme ‘Materiality and Story’.

These video conferences will follow-on from the theme of the workshop in March, and take some inspiration from the conversation begun there – although we emphasise that participation in the workshop is not a prerequiste. The video conference seminars will explore how materialities get enacted differently in different places, through the making of different empirical accounts or stories; how materiality, place, and empirical story are entwined world-making practices. Through our discussions we also hope to explore generative methods for doing materiality and story differently, within academic writing, map-making, design, teaching, and so on.


These events will expand on an existing video conference network organised by Centre for Science Studies, Lancaster University, and the Actor-Network Theory Group at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. See ‘Points of Contact’ below for who to contact.


There will be 3 video conferences in: May, July, and October 2009. At each event we will have a guest speaker, known internationally for their work in this field, followed by extensive discussion amongst particpants. Each video conference will run for 1.5 hours. The timing for the video conference seminars will vary, to suit different time zones around the world.

Guest speakers

Helen Verran (University of Melbourne) 8 May 2009 10:00 UTC, , on Performing People-Place: Story-Screens in the Teaching from Country Initiative.

Susan Leigh Star (University of Pittsburgh) 29 July 2009 11:00 UTC, on Silence and Invisible Work.

Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University) 7 October 2009 20:00 UTC, on Robot Biographies

If you would like to participate fully in the video conference seminars, please email your point of contact before 20th April 2009. We will be conducting test runs from this point, and will be unable to integrate you into the network after this date.

Call for Participation

We would like to expand the conversation as widely as possible, particularly to researchers who are often unable to travel to international events. If you are interested in participating, either as a group (an existing research group at an institution, or an informal gathering of like-minds), or as an individual, please get in touch with your Point of Contact (see below). However, from our experience with video conference networks we emphasise that this is not a global event, but a multiply located one with a number of prerequisites:

  • Video conference equipment that can handle an IP call (although the cost of the call will be ‘free’)
  • Technical support or expertise with your local equipment
  • For full participation you will need a video conference system which is H.323 compliant, but if you do not have access to this then please let us know what video conference system you are using, and we will see what we can do to integrate things
  • Small commitment of time to do test-runs
  • Flexible hours for participation, including evenings and early morning

You can also download this Call for Participation and our poster for distribution.

Web-based participation

We will be streaming the video conferences live over the web, with the possibility for posting questions in advance for the speakers. We will also be recording each video conference for those who are unable to participate due to time zone clashes or technical incompatibility. We will be posting these videos on the website to continue the conversation.

Technical Test Run

We will be holding a ‘test run’ for all participants before each event, to resolve technical issues. Next test is on 21st April 10:00 UTC prior to Helen Verran’s talk… please contact your local co-ordinator to participate.


6 Responses

  1. a great initiative; the theme resonates well with work that i and cesagen colleagues are doing, so count me in please and i will highlight this to colleagues when we meet next week.

  2. Hi, am interested in this great opportunity, great questions being posed. I would be interested in having access either as a live web stream or via the website as audiovisual or as audiofile. Being in Auckland NZ i suspect videoconference is not going to be relaistic if i am the only person interested in my city? ailsa haxell

  3. Hi – I am a member of the ANT group at Melbourne and want to register myself for this event – how exactly do I do that?

  4. Alisa,

    At UC Canterbury, NZ we have initiated discussions about how we might set up a ‘virtually there’ session to share the recordings of these meetings – possibly across an australasian link up – and have a satelite discussion.

    If you want to attend in real time and can access AUT facilities in the middle of the night – there is not really a technical reason why you couldn’t. HD technologies perfom pretty much with an on off switch – though you would need to liase with your techs early.

    Unfortunately here in NZ our broadband ‘opportunities’ preclude even considering a link from a home desktop!

  5. Actually folks, my apologies, I have just checked the facilities in Auckland on and you may have to liase a bit wider than that to connect ! They don’t call them “new” media for nothing!

  6. Alisa, Bindy,

    There is a free cross platform desktop system, EVO, which the newly reformed AVCC support, which can connect to H.323. They have instructions here:

    You would need to be in your office, as this relies on access over the KAREN research network.

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