In August 2020, I will be presenting a paper on performative experimentation and collective memory-work at the digital conference Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds. The conference is organized by The European association for the study of science and technology (EASST) and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). My presentation is part of the panel Careful engagements, exploring issues of interventionist research. The panel is organised by Doris Lydahl, University of Gothenburg, and Niels Christian Nickelsen, Aarhus University, School of Education. I will discuss interventionist issues emerging in my ongoing research on gut-psyche connections at Medical Museion, as described in the following abstract for my paper:
Engaging in interventionist research calls for attention towards its possible implications. Depending on the form of intervention, the implications can be difficult to predict, especially if the intervention does not aim at fulfilling goals specified prior to the intervention. This leads to questions about the potentials, tensions and practice of interventionist research, which has an exploratory rather than goal-oriented aim. This paper discusses a case of interventionist research based on a method of collective memory-work and currently unfolding in an exhibition space at a medical museum. The purpose of the intervention is to experiment with how researcher and co-researchers can articulate personal experiences of how their gut and psychological health connect. A growing field of microbiome research investigates this connection and its results are widely discussed in and outside academia. Microbiome research might have implications for the ways we understand our selves and each other, however, these are rarely addressed from a personal everyday life perspective. The current moment in microbiome research calls for talking about a phenomenon we rarely talk about, thus the purpose of experimenting with how to articulate personal experiences of this connection. By discussing methodological considerations and anecdotes from the ongoing fieldwork, this paper addresses some of the tensions that emerged and points to tentative potentials of intervention as performative experimentation. It does so, from the perspective of an STS outsider curious about intervening with STS, its potentials and struggles.