Speculative Worlds, a writing workshop (Laura Watts)

Dato: 20. januar 2017
Tid: 10.00-15:30
Sted: SDU, Campus Odense - Lokale O97
Tilmelding: Var senest 10. januar 2017
Oplægsholder: Laura Watts, Associate Professor, Poet, Writer, Ethnographer of Futures,
IT University of Copenhagen


“SF is that potent material-semiotic sign for the riches of speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science fiction, speculative fiction, science fact, science fantasy... SF practice is a model for worlding.” So said Donna Haraway, feminist theorist of technoscience. Speculative worlds are not fictions, but are part of what she calls, “the tight coupling of writing and research—where both terms require the factual, fictional, and fabulated; where both terms are materialized in fiction and scholarship.” Writing is an essential part of how that world-making practice occurs. It is always both factual and fabulated. Writing is part of the apparatus we use for world-making experiments known as research.

This is a practice-based writing workshop for participants to explore diverse writing methods. Students will produce experimental pieces of writing based on their research. This will be a supportive place for PhD researchers to generate speculative writing, using techniques drawn from literature and poetry, and then to consider how these speculative worlds can diffract and alter their empirical research. What futures might be materialised otherwise?


Laura Watts is a writer, poet and ethnographer of futures. She is also an Associate Professor at Technologies in Practice (TiP), IT University of Copenhagen. Her work, informed by Science Studies and Feminist Technoscience, explores the effect of landscape and writing practice on how the future is imagined and made. She is exploring different materials and techniques for writing worlds otherwise, and was Poet in Residence at the Seedbox Environmental Humanities Collaboratory in September. Over the last ten years she has worked with the renewable energy, mobile telecoms, and the transport industry. She continues to collaborate with artists and academics in creative and empirical projects, including her recent book,

ebban an’ flowan the world’s first poetic primer for marine renewable energy. For more on her work see her website at

Suggested Schedule

Overall time 10.00 – 15.30

  • 10.00 Welcome and Warm Up Exercise
  • 10.30 – 11.00 Speculative Futures (Short Seminar)
  • 11.00 – 13.00 Speculative Writing (Point of View)
  • 13.00 – 13.30 Lunch break
  • 13.30 – 15.30 Speculative Writing (Rhythm & Rigour)


(Texts 1-4 to be read in advance; other texts helpful but not essential)

  1. Haraway, Donna (2013) 'SF: Science Fiction, Speculative Fabulation, String Figures, So Far', Ada: Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology #3.
    ( [Note: To be read in conjunction with Haraway's other recommended text, Cat's Cradle]
  2. Haraway, Donna. 1994. ‘A Game of Cat’s Cradle: Science Studies, Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies’. Configurations 2 (1): 59–71.
  3. Shapin, Steven (1984) 'Pump and Circumstance: Robert Boyle's Literary Technology', Social Studies of Science 14 (1984): 481-520.
  4. Watts, Laura. 2014. ‘Liminal Futures: A Poem for Islands at the Edge’. In Subversion, Conversion, Development: Cross-Cultural Knowledge Exchange and
    the Politics of Design, by James Leach and Lee Wilson. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
  5. Le Guin, Ursula K. (1969) The Question of Sex in The Left Hand of Darkness. London: Macdonald. [Chapter in a science fiction novel]
  6. Watts, Laura. 2008. ‘The Future Is Boring: Stories from the Landscapes of the Mobile Telecoms Industry’. Twenty-First Century Society 3 (2): 187–98.
  7. Tsing, Anna, and Paulla Ebron. 2015. ‘Writing and Rhythm: Call and Response with Anna Tsing and Paulla Ebron’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21 (3): 683–87.

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