Abstract. Biodesign technologies enable us to design a living system and observe how that system and its environment transform over time by analysing, editing, and (re)constituting biological materials. This project creates a new mobile, tangible, and approachable design product to speculate and explore uncertain futures as well as ambiguous ethical issues related to biodesign technologies. To involve multiple and mobile publics, we selected two art festivals held at Sado Island, Japan, and recorded the feelings, thoughts, and views of various audiences through visual thinking strategies (VTS). Our project mobilised both human participants and biomaterials, (social) media services, exhibition spaces, and the culture and environment of Sado Island. Considering the future governance of biodesign technologies allowed us to blur and transgress the boundaries between nature and artefact and between designers and the designed.
25 February 2019: Visited the cAt site at Mol with the delegation of Japanese citizen science researchers and practitioners. This is the first land disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste in Belgium.
26 February 2019: Meeting with several citizen science projects based in Leuven. Leuvenair is a bottom-up citizen science initiative to distribute 100 air quality sensors in Leuven.
CurieuzeNeuzen [Curious Noses] is the largest citizen science project on air quality. 20,000 citizens measure the levels of nitrogen dioxide in their street or near their own house. It is worthy to note that this project is initiated not only by universities and public authorities but also by the newspaper De Standaard, which provides logistical support, organises the distribution of the measurement kits and leads the recruit campaign and communication with citizens.
27 Feburary 2019: Attended the one-day workshop Learning from Citizen Science after Fukushima: Probing the Role and Potential of Citizen Science in Nuclear Science and Technology Governance in Japan and Belgium at SCK-CEN Brussels. The goal of this workshop is to develop a better understanding of the role and potential of citizen science in the governance of nuclear incidents/accidents in emergency preparedness, response and post-disaster recovery. It is motivated by a concern shared by many (governments, regulatory bodies, scientists, citizens) to heed lessons from the Fukushima disaster and to sustain a more fruitful dialogue between all stakeholders. In Japan, these stakeholders now invariably include citizen scientists, who to this day monitor radioactivity in disaster-affected areas and openly share data on environmental radiation and risks. By generating their own participatory, open-source data, do-it-yourself measurement devices, and radiation maps, they challenge and complement conventional approaches to nuclear safety governance. For this workshop, Nozomi Mizushima and I proposed the ‘Recommendations for policy and practice of citizen science for radioactive measurement in Japan‘. These served discussions among participants to initiate learning, build on mutual experiences and develop institutional capacity between Europe and Japan.
14 March 2019: Gave a keynote address ‘Mobility and publics in molecular robotics’ at the 2nd Annual Meeting of Molecular Robotics, Tokyo Institute of Technology. This was a remarkable opportunity for a social scientist to facilitate frontier scientists to deliberate ethical and social aspects of their research subjects.