Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Annual SVT symposium

The SVT symposium

The SVT symposium is an annual public event where central topics in science and society are debated.

Murmuration of starlings
The image is taken from SVT' symposium in 2021, where the topic was the relationships between knowledge and action in Covid-19 times. The image illustrates choreographies of knowledge and action.
Sue Cro/Flickr - Tail Fluke Murmuration November 2018

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Below you'll find information about SVT's symposia:

2022 - Anniversary seminar: Academic freedom at 35

Instead of the usual symposium, we organized an anniversary seminar to celebrate that the SVT turned 35 in 2022. What started out modestly as a one-man show, has grown into a thriving research and teaching environment with a staff of 30. In addition to celebrating, we also took a moment to reflect. The seminar topic was academic freedom, its justification, and conditions for its realization.

2021 - Sick society -Exploring the relation between knowledge and action in a pandemic

The SVT symposium this year explored the relationship between knowledge and action in a pandemic - a relationship fraught with complexity and uncertainty. The symposium was originally planned for 2020 but had to be postponed to 2021 because of the pandemic.

2019 - Ethics of quantification

This year, the theme was ‘Ethics of Quantification’, and central question that was asked was: Is the time ripe for an ethics of quantification?

2018 - Impact in the Humanities

At this year’s symposium, we discussed social impacts of the humanities in and beyond academia.

2017 - Post-truth - a challenge?

This symposium was organized in celebration of Professor emeritus Gunnar Skirbekk's 80th birthday. Skirbekk has an extensive academic production and is still very active at the Centre and in the public debate. At the symposium, both local and international guests participated, reflecting interest areas in Skirbekk's research and his many international cooperations.

2016 - Post-normal times? New thinking about science and policy advice

In 2016, we organized a mini-symposium to honour our colleague and Professor II Silvio Funtowicz' 70th birthday. Funtowicz' collaboration with Jerry Ravetz resulted in the influential book Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy (1990), and a bit later the concept of post-normal science.

2015 - Narratives and Imaginaries

Due to the growing interest in concepts of narratives and imaginaries to scholars in disciplines across the social sciences and humanities, the 2015 symposium set out to illuminate some perspectives across this vast scholarship.

2014 - Science for Policy: Post-Normal Science in Practice

This year's symposium was held in honour of the arrival of our new professor, Jeroen Van der Sluijs, who was the first to put into action the post-normal science approach and the NUSAP scheme to a methodology of Knowledge Quality Assessment in the late 1990s.

We also organized a mini-symposium this year: Numbers.

2013 - Small change vs. big challenges - The End of the Cartesian Dream

In 2013, the focus of the symposium was on the process of transformation from modern science and technology to “innovation,” which occurs in parallel to the growing crisis of credibility and legitimacy of a knowledge system grounded on the Cartesian ideal of prediction and control.


This year, we held two larger conferences/symposia:

Conference: Moral Imaginaries - Emerging Normative Regimes in India, China and the West

From the conference programe: "The economic, political and cultural relations of domination on a world scale are in the process of radical transformation. In the last two decades we have witnessed the rise of a new economic middle class comprised of hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians (...). With this background, it is timely to ask whether the global context of normativity is changing."

Symposium dedicated to the 25th anniversary of SVT

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the SVT, we organized a two-day celebratory symposium. The topics for the two seminars reflected some of the research interests of our Centre.

Day 1: Science and Religion

Day 2: Science in Society, Crossroads and Challenges

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