Events & News


Global Hackerspace Network as Experimental Policy Model

Dr Denisa Kera, National Unversity of Singapore

05 Apr 2012

CIT Auditorium, National University of Singapore, Computer Centre (Level 2), 2 Engineering Drive 4, Singapore 117584

10.30am – 12 pm


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A recipient of the EU Centre research grant, Dr Kera has been looking into alternative forms of knowledge production and dissemination, and the relationship they have with governance and policy. In her research seminar, she argued for different ways toward viewing governance and science, as they are not mutually exclusive. She used examples of research and development which may involve new actors and may occur in new and improvised places, known as ‘hackerspaces’ as an example of the convergence between science and policy, and the potential positive impact this can have on society.

Dr Kera provided many examples of the growing number of individuals who are moving toward unconventional, collaborative, DIY modes of production of knowledge in science and other fields, and the impact this can have on science policy and the decision-making, the funding and regulating of scientific research, governance of emerging technologies, and public participation in science.

She spoke on the function of science and technology in society and the need both to bring philosophical issues into design, and to encourage citizen participation in science. Design issues on which hackerspace networks have had a positive impact include creating user-oriented and participative design, as well as connecting expert knowledge and everyday life.

Central to this are the changing ways in which science is being communicated to the larger public, a stage which has taken a ‘participatory turn’ from previous deficit and civic epistemology models that did not encourage deliberation, hacking and making. For example, she cited the increasing number of projects realised through crowd funding, circumventing traditional forms of investment that have prevented many projects from getting off the ground, or the example of a DIY Geiger counter that attaches to one’s cell phone, that has been used to measure and map data on radiation in Japan.

The possibilities for higher levels of public engagement and the democratisation of science through civic engagement can only be seen positively. Whether such experimental policy can be reconciled within a rigid public policy framework remains to be seen, she noted, but is surely more promising and can be  facilitated in the current networked age.