MUSTS Colloquium with Sally Randles (Manchester Metropolitan University) and michiel van Oudheusden (Athena Institute VU Amsterdam)

Wednesday December 7, 15:30-17:00

This event will take place in hybrid form.

If you would like to attend as non-MUSTS member, please register by sending an email to: j{dot}bruyninckx{at}maastrichtuniversity{dot}nl

Multiple past(s), present(s) and future(s) of de facto responsible research and innovation (rri).

Sally Randles (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Michiel van Oudheusden (Athena Institute, VU Amsterdam)



In 2021, the Journal of Responsible Innovation presented a rich multi-disciplinary Special Issue comprising 14 papers curated by Guest Eds. Michiel van Oudheusden and Clare Shelley-Egan under the title ‘RRI Futures: learning from a decade of RRI and a diversity of voices and visions’ (JRI: SI 2021, 8:2). The SI was motivated by the questions : What can be learned from roughly a decade of interest in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)? How should such learning inform policy, scholarly, and practitioner agendas and imaginations for the next ten years? The SI takes stock of the accomplishments and shortcomings of RRI by delving into past RRI policies and processes, and by probing possible and desirable RRI futures. In this colloquium, we will build on some reflections on the SI originally presented as part of a series of panel provocations and discussion at the Belgian STS network workshop, Leuven, 8 June 2022, and for the Maastricht STS Colloquium we encourage further debate and critical discussion inspired by the SI as both an intellectual project and teaching resource,  ‘travelling’ beyond the pages of the journal.

We will reprise key themes and messages drawn  from across the articles of the SI, that can be clustered under two headings :

  • Visions:  Temporalities: multiple past(s), present(s) and future(s);  and
  • Voices: Bridging, connecting, boundary spanning & community building
    Institutionalisation processes: as object of study and… RRI ambition(?);

In particular we will drill down to the critique of RI scholarship which, until recently has contributed to the construction, circulation and re-circulation of folk-histories of RRI which have arguably overplayed its novelty (leaning on Shanley’s contribution to the SI). Rather, advocating for the recovery of lost, forgotten or neglected voices, and acknowledging more explicitly that history is a political construct of the story-teller, we join other recent contributions in calling for greater attention to longer, more plural histories drawing on a diversity of perspectives, voices, and methodologies, since  “tracing the historical emergence of academic/policy discourses shines a light on processes of early institutionalisation, informs narratives of contemporary self-identity and provides a resource from which to imagine alternative futures” i.e. the study of de-facto rri (Randles et alJRI June 2022 )