CISP Online

Blog of the Centre for Invention & Social Process, Goldsmiths

May 16, 2018
by Emily Nicholls

Prototyping the Idiotic City


Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building, Room 137

Tuesday 5 June 2018 @ 9:30AM –> 4:30PM



Alison Powell, London School of Economics

Gyorgyi Galik, Royal College of Art, London/Umbrellium

Jennifer Gabrys, University of Goldsmiths

Mike Michael, University of Exeter

Noortje Marres, CIM, University of Warwik

Ola Söderström, University of Neuchâtel

Uriel Fogué, ESAYA, UEM



CISP & Fondecyt N°1180062



In recent years, the notion of smartness has gained pervasive prominence in various spheres of social life and the ways that cities can be known, planned and governed. Data collection is now enabled through embedded sensors and devices in urban space, particularly in the development of the Internet of Things. Autonomous mobility and other smart city initiatives make cities appear to be manageable and controllable in (near) real-time through smart analytics and dashboards. In developing these innovations, new modes of laboratorization and experimentation are deployed in order to test technological ‘solutions’. Against the grain of a sterile technotopia proposed by the smart city, we want to problematize the various kinds of smartness that are programmed and inscribed into this debate, as well as question the newness of it. What, in other words, are the failures and breakdowns that slow down and counteract the supposed smoothness of the smart city? Through a one-day workshop we invite researchers to creatively incorporate the “murmur of the idiot” (Stengers, 2005) into situations in which new relationships with our ‘smart’ surroundings can be built. During the event, each presenter discusses an idiotic object or situation. Each speaker, together with the audience, will then try to further the idiocy of other speakers cases.


Organising committee

Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths, University of London), Martin Tironi (School of Design, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Liam Healy (Goldsmiths, University of London), Fabian Namberger (Goldsmiths, University of London)


The event is free, please register here:

May 8, 2018
by Emily Nicholls

Welcome Dara Ivanova

Dara Ivanova is a PhD student in STS at the WTMC Netherlands Graduate Research School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture and is visiting CISP until the end of July.

Dara’s PhD project deals with the significance of place for the governance of care practices. Her aim is to examine the relation between place and governance by focusing on somewhat odd and unconventional empirical cases. These are unusual, quirky places of care, because within them, the importance of ‘place’ as an analytical concept can be defined clearly. Examples of such research places are a tiny island’s dilapidated nursing home, a foundling room, a living lab and a taphonomy facility (body farm). Dara is interested in place-making, architecture, space, living and urban labs, laboratization practices and urban spaces.

January 17, 2018
by Emily Nicholls

Welcome Martín Tironi

The Centre for Invention and Social Process would like to extend a warm welcome to Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Martín Tironi.

During his time at CISP, he will be looking at the role of prototyping in the exploration of new types of connections between humans and non-humans, specifically the types of “multispecies encounters” that can be created by the prototype as a form of socio-material speculation. He will also be expanding on his research on urban experiments and discourses on datification of the city through digital sensors.

May 5, 2017
by Alex Wilkie

Speculative Research Day & Book Launch

To celebrate the recent publication of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, edited by Alex Wilkie, Martin Savransky, and Marsha Rosengarten), this event co-organised by The Unit of Play and the Centre for Invention and Social Process will bring many of the authors in the collection as well as other international scholars together for a day-long, experimental summer school. Throughout the day we will collectively explore the challenges and potentialities of speculative thought and practice through a series of hands-on experimental workshops, situated reflections, and roundtable discussions.

Research Students and ECRs from all disciplines are especially encouraged to attend. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Registration is required (due to limited capacity). Please register here.


10.00-10.30am Welcome and Introductions

Location: RHB150

10.30am-12.30pm Speculative Techniques & Propositions

With: Michael Guggenheim (Sociology) and Alex Wilkie (Design)
Inspired by various contributions in the book on ‘speculative techniques’, in this session we open up speculation and speculative thought as an experimental and collaborative activity. We invite participants to present their work as speculative propositions to be collectively explored in small interdisciplinary groups. Session participants will give a short introduction to their projects and then participants will be invited to engage in the collective exploration and reworking of the possibility of the project as a speculative proposition(s) involving speculative techniques.

[Note: While this is not a requirement, if you think you are working on a speculative project and would like to submit it to collective speculation, or if you would like to make available your project for collective speculative experimentation, please submit a short 100-word description of your project or 2 slides/pages of pdf until Friday May 19th with the subject “SPECULATIVE TECHNIQUES” to  and ]

12.30-2.00pm Lunch

2.00-3.30pm Lures for Speculative Thought

With: Monica Greco (Sociology), Marsha Rosengarten (Sociology), Michael Schillmeier (Sociology, Exeter). Chair: Alex Wilkie (Design)
The aim of this session will be to put to the test the lure or proposition of becoming responsive to the emergent demands that make a research encounter. To do so, we will reflect on what might constitute a speculative research approach while bearing in mind the conventional constraints of research practice: namely, the need to identify in advance ‘the problem,’ a research question, and a set of methods. We will ask: in what manner, if at all, might the usual presuppositions of research and their accompanying practices be turned to a care for unforetold possibilities? Possibilities that might, at least initially, seem at risk of foreclosure by the imposition of the usual research repertoire. As may be expected of any research, our test will be applied to situated and thus concrete examples.

3.30-4.00pm Refreshments Break

4.00-5.30pm The Politics of Speculative Thought

With: Vikki Bell (Sociology), Michael Halewood (Sociology, Essex), and Martin Savransky (Sociology). Chair: Marsha Rosengarten (Sociology)
What difference might the speculative make, not just to how we think about and practise social and cultural research, but to how we learn to relate to the many others that compose the presents and futures in which we live, for which we think, do and feel? This roundtable session will explore the implications of some of the themes and issues posed by speculative research as they connect with broader, pressing questions of politics, ethics, and aesthetics. By returning to some of the philosophical sources that provide inspiration for the development of more practical and empirical forms of speculative research, we hope to start a collective conversation (with speakers and all participants) about the relation between speculation and the art of life: that is, the political, ethical, and aesthetic task to live, to live well, to live better.

6.00pm Speculative Research Book Launch

Laurie Grove Baths Council Room
With comments by Andrew Barry (Geography, UCL) and Nicholas Gaskill (English, Rutgers)
All participants are invited to celebrate the launch of the book in a more informal, social setting. Refreshments will be provided, and we hope to have copies of the book available for purchase there too!

Speculative Research Day and Book Launch

Speculative Research Day and Book Launch