There is something so awe-inspiring, so captivating about Paris. For us at the ETHOS lab, perhaps it is the juxtaposition of our little city of Copenhagen, a place where young ducklings and their mothers can always cross a busy street, with the decadent and sparkling splendor of Paris, the City of Lights; a vast, booming metropolis with a population close to half that of Denmark itself.

….Or perhaps still, the allure of Paris for the Lab Staff has little to do with the intrinsic attraction of the city itself and a great deal more to do with the role Paris plays in some of the fields within which ETHOS Lab operates; fields such as Science Technology Studies (STS), Actor-Network Theory (ANT), and most recently Controversy Mapping.

With this in mind, during the last week of August, the Lab Staff journeyed to Paris to participate in FORCCAST’s Controversy Mapping Summer School. Bruno Latour, whose prominence in this field is well documented, spearheads the innovative educational project, which is aimed at “making hard sciences as well as social and human sciences students understand how scientific knowledge is constructed and in training them to digital methods of exploration.”

FORCCAST’s Summer School is an annual seminar where some of the foremost thinkers, researchers, and teachers in the budding discipline, assemble to discuss teaching best practices, the role of data visualizations in Controversy Mapping, and critically reflect on the limitations of the digital tools at our disposal.

But perhaps before going any further, an explanation, or at the very least a contextualization of the field of Controversy Mapping could be useful.

So to put it simply, those within the field, regard Controversy Mapping as a method of teaching methods. Through the introduction of Actor-Network Theory (ANT) in practice, students begin to reflect critically on the impact of actors surrounding a particular techno-scientific controversy through the utilization of both the digital and traditional tools that are best suited for the given task at hand.

Last year, Lab Manager, Michael Hockenhull, attended the first seminar on behalf of ETHOS, but for Lab Assistants Khara Lewin and Bastian Jørgensen, this was their first time participating the 3-day event.

The Summer School, whose attendance is diverse and growing, is geared towards offering guidance in the quickly growing practice of teaching students — of varying levels — Controversy Mapping as a skill. And at ETHOS, we believe this year’s Summer School represented significant developments within this field of study. The lab regards these developments that as useful as well as pertinent to both Navigating Complexity students at the ITU as well as those interested in working and volunteering within the lab.

Feel free to peruse our photo gallery below for a firsthand account of the seminar