Reflecting on STS in Action: Micro-credentialing as collaborative epistemo-political work

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    In this paper I tell stories of collaborative design work, developing micro-credentials to be awarded to Indigenous community-based researchers working in their home communities in North East Arnhem Land, Australia. The credentials recognise various levels of attainment of skills in collective community research. These credentials are coming to life within growing micro-entrepreneurial economies that are beginning to take root within Aboriginal communities in northern Australia just as they are becoming embedded in new forms of social life everywhere else. While there is significant critique of these forms of economy and the socio-technical infrastructures through which they extend, here I set my inquiry down amidst the mundane practices of community research services design, and identify particular moments or ‘turning points’ in the emerging life of these technologies. The work of bringing these credentials to life has involved a distributed array of participants: teams of community based Indigenous researchers working on-country; a local Indigenous research organisation that supports the work of these researchers; university collaborators, such as our research team; a group of IT experts; government and other funding agencies and many other involved actors. It also engaged, and somewhat rearranged, university interests around marketing novel educational services products, and the workings of a national economy that seeks to address disadvantage by drawing underprivileged or excluded people into market relations. By mobilising Verran’s notion of relational empiricism, I now inquire into the knowledge and culture work of the collective inquiries through which the credentials came to life as concepts circulating in northern Australia. And proposing that collective work as ‘STS in action’ I reflect on this form of STS empirics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020
    EventEASST/4S Prague 2020 : Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds - Virtual, Prague, Czech Republic
    Duration: 17 Aug 202020 Aug 2020


    ConferenceEASST/4S Prague 2020
    Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
    Internet address


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