New England Workshop on Science and Social Change

The New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC) organizes innovative, interaction-intensive workshops designed to facilitate discussion, teaching innovation, and longer-term collaboration among faculty and graduate students who teach and write about interactions between scientific developments and social change.

The choice of workshop topics and the innovative, interaction-intensive character of the workshops are designed to attract participants who will develop their knowledge, skills, and interest in promoting the social contextualization of science through interdisciplinary education and other activities beyond their current disciplinary and academic boundaries. Participants are sought from the various areas of Science and Technology Studies, the sciences, and science education and-with an eye to training "interdisciplinarians"-include graduate students as well as more experienced scholars.
From 2006 onwards, NewSSC is assembling products from the workshops, which include new syllabi and curriculum units (primarily for college-level courses) or outreach activities (e.g., hosting a citizen forum on a science-based controversy) in an expanding compilation of Online Resources for Science-in-Society Education and Outreach.
Formative (during the process) and summative (after the fact) evaluations of the workshops provide a basis for developing the workshop experience from one year to the next and for establishing a model of workshops that can be repeated, evolve in response to evaluations, and be adapted by participants [evaluations are linked to the webpage for each workshop].

Specific objectives of NewSSC

  • 1. Promote Social Contextualization of Science
  • 2. Innovative workshop processes
  • 3. Training and capacity-building
  • 4. Repeatable, evolving workshops
  • 5. Tangible outcomes and experiences developed beyond the workshop See Background and Rationale for each objective, including how the objective will be achieved and evaluated, and selected reactions of participants to the workshop experience.

    NewSSC-affiliated Workshops, with links to materials & evaluations

    (Increasingly from 2006 on much of the working, "in progress" material has been developed on a wiki, and only the final products and reports are posted on the webpages for each workshop. From 2008 onwards commuity-building and collaborative reviewing of materials is being pursued using a social network "ning" site open to NewSSC participants only. Interactions on the ning may lead to materials for wider circulation, which will be transferred to the wiki and, when appropriate, to these webpages.)


  • Spring 2012, "Open Spaces for Scientific and Social Change II: Support for Translation"
  • postponed (date to be determined), "Opening up New Directions in Epidemiology and Population Health"

    With the May 2012 workshop, NewSSC is making a transition to "Open Space Workshops on Scientific and Social Change," with the goal of extending NewSSC beyond the spring workshops in Woods Hole.

    Past workshops

  • Spring 2011, "Collaborative production of knowledge: Health, environment, and publics" (near Coimbra, Portugal)
  • Spring 2011, "Open Spaces for Changing Science and Society"
  • Spring 2010, workshop 2, "Problem- and case-based learning about biology-in-society"
  • Spring 2010, "Where social theory meets critical engagement with the production of scientific knowledge"
  • Spring 2009, "Heterogeneity and Development: Methods and Perspectives from Sciences and Science Studies"
  • Spring 2008, "Science-in-society: Teaching and engaging across boundaries"
  • Spring 2007, "Collaborative generation of environmental knowledge and inquiry"
  • Spring 2006, "Ecological restoration as social reconstruction"
  • Spring 2005, "How complexities of the social environment shape the ways that society makes use of knowledge about 'genetic' conditions"
  • Spring 2004, "Complexities of environment and development in the Age of DNA"
  • Precursor and allied workshops, 1999-2005

    Location: Woods Hole MA, USA

    Costs, Arrangements, Application Process

    Organizer: Peter J. Taylor, University of Massachusetts Boston, Science in a Changing World graduate track.

    Last update 18 February 2012