NUCLEAR FUTURES: Re-making sociotechnical research agendas
Seminar 3, University of East Anglia, 9th-10th January 2017
Publics and participation in radioactive waste management
In July 2014 the UK government White Paper Implementing Geological Disposal began a new policy process to realise a permanent solution for the disposal of radioactive waste. The Nuclear Futures seminar series, running through 2016-2018, will bring together academics from social science, science and engineering, with industry and policy actors, to discuss both long-standing and newly-emerging matters of concern.
We are pleased to announce that registration is open for the third seminar in the series, which will focus on publics and participation and will take place at the Maid’s Head hotel in Norwich on 9-10 January 2017.
In its continued efforts to implement geological disposal of radioactive wastes, the UK Government is preparing for renewed process of engagement with potential host communities, with consultation on the revised policy due to take place in 2017. It is timely therefore to review and reflect upon the ways in which citizens, their representatives, other organisational stakeholders and community-based or ‘grassroots’ organisations and networks engage with radioactive waste facility siting programmes, as well as with other contested infrastructure projects, both in Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe.
Citizen and stakeholder engagement with public and policy issues and their participation in associated processes has, for several decades, been a feature of political arenas. More recently the discourses, practices and technologies of participation have become the focus of critical scrutiny and reappraisal, whether in terms of their impact and effectiveness or in light of emerging theoretical perspectives on participation itself. The seminar will explore and compare different settings, forms and relations of participation, whether ‘invited’ and ‘uninvited’. These ‘spaces of participation’ may include processes of consultation, of deliberation, of research and development, of formal or informal technology assessment, of protest; they may be produced by powerful organisations and institutions or professional intermediaries and policy entrepreneurs, or produced outside formal institutional contexts by those who choose not to engage with officially-sponsored or sanctioned forms of participation. As well as considering the relations and dynamics within these spaces, the seminar will explore the interrelationships between them. For example, how might new forms of participation and of facilitating engagement with techno-scientific issues in other policy arenas or in other countries work for the radioactive waste case in Great Britain?
To explore the questions that this opens up and the implications for current efforts to implement what remains a controversial technology, the seminar will bring together researchers with participants from national and local government, nuclear industry organisations and the professional community of practice around participation. Presenters will bring different perspectives to bear on a variety of spaces of participation and participatory mechanisms. These will be a concluding panel session and opportunities for discussion throughout the seminar.
Speakers include 3S’s very own Jason Chilvers, as well as Professor Gordon Mackerron from the University of Sussex who is the former chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management.
See the provisional programme here: esrc-seminar-programme-seminar-3-publics-and-participation-draft-programme
To book a place, please follow this link: https://goo.gl/XJRIkx.
There is no charge for attendance at the seminar or for refreshments during the meeting. An evening meal on Monday 9th January will also be provided.The event will begin at 12:00 on 9th January and run until 13:00 on 10th January.
We have limited funds to support attendance in the form of accommodation and travel bursaries. Please indicate when you book if you wish to apply for an accommodation or a travel bursary (note: when oversubscribed, funds are allocated preferentially to research students, early career researchers and those without access to institutional funding).
If you have any questions about the seminar, please contact the local organiser for this event, Peter Simmons (P.Simmons@uea.ac.uk), or the lead organiser for the series, Susan Molyneux-Hodgson (S.Hodgson@exeter.ac.uk).