23 Sep Grassroots Radio presented at 4S/EASST Conference, the joint meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology
Despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic, it’s been a lively summer for the Grassroots Radio project, which shaped several field and dissemination activities. One of them has been the participation in the 4S/EASST Conference – the joint meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) – which took place virtually on August 18 – 21, 2020. The conference was supposed to be held in Prague, but the organizing committee decided to move online due to the Covid-19’s pandemic.
Roberto Cibin presented a paper titled “Low Powering: Challenges In The Co-Creation Of Local Community Radio Stations” , within the panel “(Re)Producing Power in Co-creation”. The panel tried to gather together researchers interested in reflecting about the presence of asymmetries of power and agency in the co-creation of innovation, that is when different stakeholders (lay and experts) are involved in the creation of something new.
The presentation, conceived with Mariacristina Sciannamblo, Nic Bidwell, and Maurizio Teli, focuses on infrastructures that impede collective processes of empowerment in relation to Grassroots Radio. By taking the examples of a physical studio and a station-less radio as elements that can favor or hinder participation and inclusion, the paper argues that empowerment is not just a matter of local participatory practices, but about identifying sociomaterial infrastructures that support developing collaborative practices across different spaces and time. Community radio stations support ordinary people’s access to democratic processes and are considered a catalyst for community self-empowerment, for instance, through dialogical programming. However, the presentation underlined how also these organizations can face hidden dynamics of exclusion, or inequalities, related to gender, mobility, and expertise differences. The presentation showed how Grassroots Radio has been working with the local communities not only on the technical setup of the radio stations, but also on the identification and management of these critical issues.
Despite the organizational difficulties, the conference counted 1777 presenters and 555 non-presenters for a total presence of 2332 participants, becoming the largest 4S meeting since 4S’s founding. 4S and EASST are two associations born respectively in 1975 and 1981 to represent and connect academics and researchers interested in Science and Technology Studies, an interdisciplinary research field aimed at investigating the interconnections between society, science, technology, and innovation.