Doing STS is a methods lab that works across feminist science and technology studies (STS) and affect studies through public workshops, lectures, reading and writing groups, and experimental publications. We stage accessible and collaborative opportunities for play and learning with STS and affect via ordinary and DIY practice. Through zinemaking, textile and papercrafting, fermenting, composting, and other modes of making, we “craft with matter” to materialize alternative futures. We actively develop methods of care and anticolonial science and tech literacies with an emphasis on how emergent global complexities are made and experienced in small, local practices that include messiness, hunches, and mistakes. Doing STS is a Vancouver-based nonprofit (S0077711).
Join Doing STS
Subscribe to the Doing STS mailing list to get updates about workshops, reading groups, and lectures. To learn about fellowship opportunities or to propose a workshop or lecture, email firstname.lastname@example.org
While anyone can attend Doing STS events, we are funded by our members. Support Doing STS with a small one-time or reccurring membership fee. Members are welcome to join in on planning, give a workshop or public lecture, and can vote on future intiatives at our annual meeting. (Fees are not considered a charitable donation, we do not issue tax reciepts.)
Doing STS Team
Each year, Doing STS offers fellowships for graduate students, early-career scholars, artists, and community organizers working alongside STS and affect. Small member-funded seed grants support fellows to design and lead a public workshop or lecture.
Mathew Arthur is a PhD candidate in Gender Studies at Simon Fraser University. He is co-editor in chief of Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry and Imbricate! Press (an open access affect studies imprint), a founding member of the Society for the Study of Affect, and chair of the Westar Insitute’s Seminar on the Human Future. His work reads across feminist and Indigenous technoscience and develops care-centred methods for multispecies research in DIY practices of fermenting, composting, and amateur perfumery. Mathew maintains a freelance design practice consulting with artist-run institutions to design online commons and print publications. From 2017 to 2022, he led a weekly feminist technoscience salon at the VPL nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch. His writing has been published in Capacious, Canadian Theatre Review, Fieldsights, Fordham University Press’ Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia series, and Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theory. His first book is forthcoming in the Advanced Methods: New Research Ontologies series with Punctum Press.
Sarah Law 袁文
Sarah Law is a graduate student in sociology at Simon Fraser University. She is a climate justice organizer and facilitator. Her undergraduate honours thesis explored climate action, ecological grief, and the politics of mourning. She is interested in eco grief, care practices, late capitalist affects, and worldmaking and knowledge mobilization beyond neoliberalism. Alongside her master's thesis, Sarah's current projects include Holding Climate Emotions, a climate justice conference exploring imagination as protest amidst climate grief through youth activist-led workshops, research presentations, and dialogue.
Hayden Ostrom is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) student and practicing herbalist. Hayden completed a bachelors in interdisciplinary cognitive sciences at the University of British Columbia. He is interested in intersections of somatics, subjectivity, and ecology. Hayden's work poses questions about health—of humans, place, and nonhuman kin. Starting from the understanding that we are inextricably enmeshed in more-than-human worlds, what counts as good health? What might reciprocal health practices look like? Hayden's research takes place in his garden, where he engages in practices of soil remediation, critical permaculture, and herbalism. He has a professional background in harm reduction, linguistics research, and small scale agricultural practices.
Quinn is a second year PhD student studying (more-than) human geography on stolen Musequam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands. His work considers the relationships between social imaginaries and biodiversity loss through the lens of managed and wild pollinators. Recently, he has been thinking about ecological subjectivity in urban spaces and how portable practices of attention might foster a greater sense of place and relation with Earth others. When he’s not bee-ing, Quinn loves playing Irish trad tunes, vibing around cityscapes, and reading things he doesn’t understand but might in like, 5 years.
Freie Universität Berlin
University of Nottingham
Joseph C. Russo
Donovan O. Schaefer
University of Pennsylvania
Gregory J. Seigworth
University of Colorado Denver
University of Richmond
Kathleen C. Stewart
Emeritus, UT Austin
Sarah E. Truman
University of Melbourne
Care as Method
Doing STS centers and develops methods of care. This means caring for the tools, materials, animals, plants, and microbes that show up in the more-than-human contact zones of our shared practice. It also means caring for each other: attending to the multiple histories, concepts, technologies, and bodies that inflect our shared work. We go slow and practice caution about what worlds our research helps to make or unmake. STS and affect studies work often require travel to fieldsites, special lab equipment, or access to paywalled articles, expensive books, and gatekept institutional relationships. Care also includes sharing money, food, transportation, gear, and pirated academic resources like meeting rooms or university library passwords. We work to unsettle the taken-for-granteds of science and tech knowledge production that leave little space for neurodiversity, chronic illness, poverty, Blackness, Indigeneity, and gender and sexual difference. We turn instead to atmospheres of living and pay attention to vibes and gut feelings. Our care methods highlight the performativity of practice: how what we do tends some relationships and neglects others. In this way, care signals the inseparability of knowledge work and everyday life amidst the economic, political, and ecological pressures that inform or impossibilize ways of living and studying together.
This year, Doing STS is composed of three “labs.” WriteLab is weekly affect-driven theory writing meetup. Otherwise Tastes is a series of critical feminist fermentation workshops. Smellworlds is an ongoing project to work with and develop sensory methods through smellwalks and DIY perfumery. All three labs entail daily acts of care: self-care as integral to writing practice, tending jars of fermenting mash as their microbial flora care for our gut health, or gardening plants whose roots or petals both resource our DIY perfumery and lift our moods with scent. But academic productivity risks these relations. Likewise, being sick or sad, tediously skimming off bad yeast, or spending hours lost in a tableful of perfumery ingredients disrupts the tempo of scholarly work. In this way, rubrics of care help to track interests, attachments, politics, and ways of working. They offer a humble ethical grounding for doing STS and affect work beyond institutional contexts that demand forms of legibility despite the messiness of practice.
As feminist STS scholars have shown, witnessing with care often produces incoherent objects, possibilities for failure or ongoing tinkering, and multiplicities that have to be negotiated. To navigate such complexity, WriteLab rehearses composition as an act of working out objects and practices of care. Compositional methods in affect studies propose that writing presences both atmospheres of indeterminacy and relationships that matter. They allow for “haptic description,” experimentally exploring the inhabited elements of a scene, object, or practice while acknowledging that writing is world-making. While replicable, the small DIY practices we think and write with are unpredictable: varieties of local airborne yeast or bad bacteria, volatile or toxic perfuming ingredients. Such practices work differently wherever they travel. They are prone to disrepair, mould, or toxicity. But their very doing burnishes care.
DOING STS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STUDIES SOCIETY (S0077711) is a registered member-funded non-profit society in Vancouver, Canada. View constitution and bylaws here.
What can writing do? WriteLab is a weekly drop-in theory writing group modelled loosely after Lauren Berlant and Katie Stewart's "hundreds" and Joe Dumit's "implosion." Looking to compositional methods across STS and affect studies, we'll explore how everyday objects, happenings, and practices texture theory and how theory textures life. We'll experiment with writing alongside what's taking shape or being assembled, staying stuck or fading into the background, to presence atmospheres of indeterminacy and relationships that matter.
Mondays 7-9pm PST
2414 Main Street
email@example.com to join
Multispecies work is often either abstract or exotic in its empirics. It can require travel for fieldwork, special lab equipment, or access to gatekept institutional relationships. Following species around depends on access to big grants, stable housing, and ample time off work. Instead, Otherwise Tastes cultivates appetites for theory closer to home: from the kitchen table.
Through a series of public workshops and a keynote lecture with Erin Manning (3Ecologies), we'll work through vinegar-making practices like alcohol and acetobacter fermentation and engage microbial humanities and feminist STS work on fermentation to explore the relationship between taste, unseen bacterial worlds, and political formations. Through ordinary tactics of witness like colour, temperature, visible mould or yeast, carbonation, or scent, we'll reckon with the tension between technoscientific settler sovereignties and Indigenous and other approaches to multispecies kin.
Smellworlds are everywhere. Intimate or atmospheric, near-imperceptible or assaulting. They seep and linger, harnessing bodies into movement. Smell is feral and highly regulated: tangled up in appetites, industries, domesticities, toxicities, and public hygienes. Chlorine. CK One. Electrical fire. Garbage. Leather. Locker room. Mr. Clean. Old books. Pencil shavings. Smog. Smudge. Wet dog. Yeast. The intiating proposition of Smellworlds is compositional: that scent or its absence assembles, pulling things into consistency.
Critical engagements with smell are many and few. The literature homes in on cultural histories, neurophysiology, sensory mapping or smellwalk methods, and notions of toxicity and risk. Instead, Smellworlds proposes DIY perfumery as a way into the worldly atmospherics of smell—how smell connects and moves. Bodily, emotionally, wafting here and there. Through a series of public lectures and workshops, we'll explore how the colonial project is a toning of sense: how anthropocentrism, whiteness, and settler nationalism come with cultivated habits of smell and predictable smellscapes.
Smellworlds: A Critical DIY Perfuming Primer Download PDF Buy in Print
Doing STS lectures and workshops are free and open to the public. While academic in tone, we cultivate atmospheres of shared curiousity and non-mastery. Events are member-funded and led by fellows and collaborators. For detailed accessibility information or to propose an event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
JUN Perceptual Ferment
Erin Manning, Concordia
"Vinegar mother is both catalyst and remains. Leaving a cloudiness in her wake, she is a reminder of the dephasing from sugar water to vinegar, and of the fact that what is produced is always less a substance in itself than a relational milieu."Doing STS hosts a lecture and Q+A with Erin Manning, followed by a hands-on DIY vinegar fermentation workshop. Tools and materials provided. 1–3pm, June 18th, 2023
2414 Main Street
Working with Herbs in TCM
If we are tangled up in more-than-human worlds, what counts as good health? How might we cultivate reciprocity in health practices? Join TCM student and herbalist Hayden Ostrom for a DIY herbalism workshop.
1–3pm, May 6th, 2023
2414 Main Street
Climate Mourning, Slow and Soft
Sarah Law 袁文
The climate crisis elicits grief. In this workshop, through theories of disability justice and abolition feminism, we'll explore practices of care, mourning, and rest. Together, we'll engage in sensory meditation, arts-based reflection, and writing exercises to explore how capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy replicate in the making of ecological crisis and the management of emotions. We'll dream up visions of a just climate future and consider sense-imagination as a form of political protest, giving ourselves a chance to sit with grief in slowness and softness.
1–3pm, June 3th, 2023
How can we develop an ecological self in urban settings so often withdrawn from ecological imaginaries? What kinds of portable practices of attention can we deploy to cultivate nonhuman kinships? Where might curiosity take us in sensory conversations with Earth others? Approaching pollinator worlds, we'll ask these questions from the perspective of the amateur—"one who loves, lover." Participants are invited to dabble and pause in a space of unprofessional, non-instrumental bee noticing.With scraps of more-than-human ethnography, urban political ecology, and the science of bee and floral perception as guides, we'll gather for a bee smellwalk, tapping into our sensoriums, getting into place, and sharing observations. Bee-ing with pollinator partners in place is a portal for thinking naturecultural entanglements in the city.
1–3pm, July 8th, 2023
Walking and Writing Viaducts
Are the Georgia viaducts gardens? Not really, but the City once seemed set on spinning them as a future oasis. In 2016 the Park Board selected James Corner Field Operations, the landscape architect of New York's High Line, to reimagine the 21-acre site bisected by the soon to be removed viaducts. While the High Line's abandoned infrastructure was reworked into a park, here "unworkable" infrastructure will be demolished. What are we being asked to imagine in collective dreams of this downtown park?Kumeyaay poet Tommy Pico's Feed takes place on the High Line: a walking poem cataloguing histories of place and Indigenous disposession, what grows in the park, and the heartbreak following a breakup—with a playlist ranging from Beyonce to The Knife. Like Pico, we'll walk the viaducts, writing our way through their histories, nonhuman inhabitants, and possible futures.
1–3pm, August 5th, 2013
Meet at Matchstick Chinatown
Smellworlds: Affect and the Colonial Sensorium
Simon Fraser University
Doing STS' Mathew Arthur held a guest lecture and workshop for “Ethnographic Sensibility: Politics of Affect and Emotion” (SA 887).
6:30–9pm, February 7, 2023
Resonance and Redolance
In September 2022, Doing STS' Mathew Arthur was invited to lead a multi-day workshop around critical fermentation and DIY perfumery at 3Ecologies in northern Quebec. The gathering was an opportunity to grow kindred interests in fermentation and fragrance and assembled an international group of academics. We experimented with practices of fermenting, tincturing, distillation, and perfume formulation and rehearsed new vocabularies of taste and scent across languages and disciplines.
September 23–25, 2022
Ninth + Vine Studio
Alongside artist Marleau Marleau and ceramicist Nathalee Paolinelli, Doing STS' Mathew Arthur held a one-day popup exhibition of DIY fragrances and wildcrafed vinegars.
2–6pm, July 23th, 2022
2308 West Broadway
From 2016–2022, Doing STS was a weekly STS seminar led by Mathew Arthur, held at Vancouver Public Library's nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch and Carnegie Community Centre as a public program with Humanities 101 at the University of British Columbia.
Repeat: Making Rituals at the End of the World
Repeat is a free monthly series of online skill-building workshops in critical crafting and making practices, including crochet, fermentation, origami, natural perfumery, and weaving. How do fibrecrafts connect us to racialized plantation histories of cotton? Or acrylic yarns to petrochemicals? How is kombucha implicated in cultures of clean-eating “purity” that ignore messy lessons microbes might teach us? Are some technologies primitive or advanced? What futures do they enable? Whose?Humans, plants, animals, rocks, manmade objects, and microbes all have practices. What they do makes up our reality. What we repeat matters. “We need a ceremony,” as Alexis Pauline Gumbs says. Ritual is implicated in histories of Western theology and its role in colonization, including residential schools and harm to Indigenous lands and bodies. For Indigenous peoples the apocalypse has already come. Could making practices, new rituals of personal and collective care, help respond to this reality? Maybe craft can help us resist mastery?
Haraway Talks: Reading and Figuring Worlds
Each week we will meet online to read aloud from interviews with feminist technoscience theorist Donna Haraway. Her work explores how human lives are tangled up in histories of science and empire and in messy relationships with nonhuman others. She generates concepts and figures that dream up ways of living together on a damaged planet.
Speculative Matters: Making Worlds with Zines
“Speculative Matters” is a Hum Public Program with residents of Vancouver’s DTES/South. Everyone is welcome. Come every week or drop in when it works! Let's weave together speculation and fabulation: asking “what if?” and making things up.Each week we will read aloud together from a STS reading, then spend an hour making and writing zines using text, collage, popups, embroidery, etc.