From September 27 to October 1, the VI STS Italia Summer School, entitled “Disentangling Futures: Promises, Scenarios, Experiments,” organized by STS Italia was held in Padua, Italy, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy and Applied Psychology (Fisspa) and the Pa.S.T.I.S research unit of the University of Padua, with the STS Lab of the University of Lausanne, and thanks to the support of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).
A total of 52 applications were received and 34 participants were selected, 10 of whom were awarded a grant corresponding to the registration fee, mostly young researchers or Ph.D. students, while 4 students withdrew before the start. Participation was markedly international and 10 were Italian students. The backgrounds were extremely varied, with participants from Belgium (1), France (1), Finland (2), Switzerland (4) Germany (3), Greece (1), Sweden (1), the Netherlands (1), the United Kingdom (2), Luxembourg (1), the United States (1) and Japan (1). Also remarkable is the fairly balanced gender composition, with a slight predominance of women (16 out of 30). Several scholars from various backgrounds contributed to the Summer School, enabling it to address many aspects of future and technoscientific promise and to offer a stimulatingly dense program that fostered an intense exchange among participants. Specifically, Kornelia Konrad was the keynote speaker on the performative role of expectations in the governance of technoscientific innovation, while Barbara Prainsack focused on how the lack of expectations can equally shape futures and have a strong impact on the present. Expectations were thus also a cross-cutting topic in the talks by Marc Audétat and Philippe Sormani, who focused in particular on the role of the media in the production and circulation of technoscientific imaginaries and promises in different fields.
The feedback from the participants, faculty and students, was very positive, both in terms of the scientific dimension of the Summer School and the good interpersonal atmosphere, fostered also by the various initiatives proposed, which also included a guided tour of the Venice Art Biennale, introduced by a lecture held by Silvia Casini on the relationship between science and art. Finally, we were very pleased with the six final presentations made by the student groups on the last day, which declined the theme of the relationship between technoscience and the future through particularly original objects, approaches and styles. Overall, therefore, this was an initiative that continues and strengthens what has already been achieved in previous summer schools organized by STS Italia.