Posted September 30, 2019
This past September, in the vibrant city of New Orleans, the Digital Media Graduate Program was well represented by students and faculty alike. The occasion? The 2019 meeting of the Society of the Social Studies of Science (4S).
The 4S conference brings together science and technology scholars from across the globe, at all levels of experience, to interact through a series of talks, workshops, posters, and interactive sessions. This year had a fully stocked agenda every day, as sessions were offered from 8am to 8pm with as many as twenty sessions happening in parallel. All 1800 attendees, with one-third of them being students, enjoyed sessions that focused on the conference themes of Innovations, Interruptions, and Regenerations.
Firaz Peer, a Georgia Tech Phd student in Digital Media, attended the conference for the first time this year and presented his own research in a session titled “Politics of Infrastructures and Data Collaboratives.”
“It was a good session to be in as I got to chat with [other scholars in the field] about our shared research interests and the issues they face when working with data,” Peer says.
In his current research, Peer studies how a data dashboard is designed, used, and maintained to meet the data equity and advocacy needs of community leaders in the Westside neighborhoods of Atlanta. He has previously presented parts of his research at other conferences like Design of Interactive Systems (DIS), iConference and Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange.
Peer admits the 4S experience can be overwhelming for first-time attendees, but the conference ultimately offers a plethora of opportunities for students who are doing research at the intersection of science, sociotechnical systems and design.
As for advice to his fellow students, Peer highly recommends this particular forum.
“Going to 4S helped me make connections with other students and also network with scholars whose research has shaped my own thinking and dissertation for years now.” he says. “Being the premier venue where scholars doing social studies of science meet, it is also well represented by senior scholars who have helped establish and shape the field itself.”
The next 4S conference is projected to be even bigger, taking place in Prague and being held in collaboration with the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).
To learn more about the 4S conference and future meetings, visit https://www.4sonline.org.
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