Civic Science: Re-framing the Role of Science in Society
National Science Foundation, Room 375
October 2-3, 2014
Civic science is a method of inquiry into the grand challenges facing society today that enriches democracy by bringing citizens from all backgrounds and disciplines – not just scientists – together in shared projects that analyze current conditions, envision a better future, and devise a pathway to that future. This focus differs from the predominant conversations about science and society today which focus on questions of the authority and credibility of science, and the roles of scientists and lay people in governance and policy-making. The question in this conversation is where everyone fits in the current system.
The aim of the workshop is more transformative—to change the framing altogether. The new frame emphasizes that our roles and identities stem from the conception of a democratic society in which citizens are co-creators. The question from this vantage point is how individuals contributing different knowledge come together in productive ways to engage in public work to solve problems, enhance communities, and build a sustainable democratic society. This requires developing approaches to the politics of knowledge that counter strong dynamics which feed growing polarization. It also requires tools and skills that capitalize on the vast human capital available in communities and the vast potential evident in modern science. Today this capital is untapped, with sidelined citizens, technocratic patterns of engagement and participation, and partisan divides.
The goals of the workshop are: (1) to clarify and further define the concept of civic science, how civic science differs from other participatory concepts such as citizen science, and to explore how civic science might bridge bitterly polarized positions; (2) to develop a set of principles which reflect good practices of civic science; and (3) to develop strategies that can help overcome the challenges and barriers to putting civic science into practice.
Workshop attendees are asked to read the following items prior to the workshop:
- A Call to Action: Civic Science and the Grand Challenges of the 21st Century. Sherburne Abbott, Harry Boyte, Nicholas Jordan, Gwen Ottinger, Scott Peters, & John P. Spencer with Clancy Blair, Stephanie Carlson, William Doherty, Tai Mendenhall, Cybele Raver, Larissa Samuelson, & Phil Zelazo.
- Reflections of a civic scientist by John P. Spencer.
- Civic Science Case Study on Climate Change. Sherburne Abbott (forthcoming)
The workshop will take place in Room 375 at the National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22230.
The workshop hotel is the Westin Arlington Gateway, 801 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203. Phone: 703-717-6200. All out of town guests should have received a confirmation number. Email email@example.com if this information has not been sent.
The Westin Arlington Gateway is near the Ballston Metrorail Stop which is served by both the Silver and Orange Metro-Rail Lines. From Reagan Airport, take the Yellow Line to L’Enfant Plaza and transfer there to the Silver Line (going to Weihle-Reston East) or to the Orange Line (going to Vienna).
For trains arriving at Union Station, take the Red Line to Metro Center and transfer to either of the two above.
Exit onto N. Fairfax Drive. Turn right on Fairfax, then left on Utah. Round the corner with Glebe Rd to the right.
The social event on Thursday evening will take place at World of Beer (see map). For last minute logistical questions, feel free to contact John Spencer.