Profile interview: Connie Svabo
As a child, Connie Svabo, IMADA, dreamed about becoming a cleaning lady. That didn't happen: in stead she became a professor and director of Centre for Research in Science Education and Communication. Read more about her childhood fascination with cleaning and why she has a megaphone and a collection of extra large plastic insect in her office.
Why did you become a researcher?
Putting ideas, concepts, experiences and knowledge designs into a big bucket and swirling them around is fascinating. I love working in ideas, concepts and creative production.
Which other career did you consider?
When I was a child, my hope was to become a cleaning lady. I spent a lot of time with my Faroese matriarch grandmother; and she was really into cleaning. I guess, implicitly I thought that cleaning must be the coolest thing. I also really wanted to do art, be a novelist or a scuba diver.
At present, my favourite alternative profession would be criminal investigator: I am fascinated by physical environments and human interactions, and I have this idea that investigating crime scenes must be extremely stimulating. (This sounds horrible - I mean it in the best sense!)
What occupies you at the moment?
At the moment I am delving into systems thinking, cybernetics and media ecology. I draw inspiration from these relational and processual meta-disciplines in my work of curating learning ecologies and developing research based learning designs.
An example: I am intrigued by how insightful the work of natural historian cum social anthropologist cum psychological researcher cum communication scholar cum environmentalist Gregory Bateson is on learning, not only as an individual achievement, but as collective, indeed ecological process.
Which question would you really like to find an answer to?
How do we develop the university as an empowering, emancipatory, inclusive and polyphonous knowledge institution where cognition, emotion, aesthetics and ethics intermingle in smart knowledge designs?
What is the biggest breakthrough in your field ever?
I would point to science and technology studies. It isn’t a single breakthrough, but the development of empirically based studies of science and technology in the making have greatly contributed to our understanding of how scientific facts are made and of science in society.
I take great inspiration from work by recognised scholars Physicist Andrew Pickering, Biologist Donna Haraway, Chemist Isabel Stengers, Philosopher Michel Serres, Anthropologist Bruno Latour and Sociologist John Law.
How do you hope that others can benefit from your research?
I hope my research helps educators, policy makers and other researchers understand how we can design inspiring learning ecologies, understanding how important emotions are for engaging and inspiring learning at all ages.
Which other research field fascinates you the most?
Many. Being transdisciplinary takes me grazing in different fields. At present, I am particularly curious about Biology and Anthropology - how people and animals get on together.
What do you have in your office, that most other people don’t?
A megaphone, a big yellow stage light, a papiermache moon and a collection of extra large plastic insects. I use them for knowledge installations, events, performances.
Who do you admire the most?
I greatly admire the ambidexterous philosopher Michel Serres who through a lifetime has bridged art and science.
What do you do, when you are not researching?
Meet the researcher
Connie Svabo is a professor and director of Centre for Research in Science Education and Communication, where researchers in education and media work with mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists and other scientists to create inspiring educations.