Experimentality in Nature: Evolution, Novelty, Reflexivity

25-26 March 2010

Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University


This workshop brings together theoretical biologists, anthropologists, archaeologists and historians of art and of science to explore how ideas of experimentality can be used to understand the emergence of radical novelty in the natural world and in human culture. Participants will explore contemporary theories of evolution which go beyond a conventional neo-Darwinian emphasis on mutation and natural selection, such as evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), symbiogenesis, and animal traditions, debate attempts to bridge understandings of biological and of cultural evolution, and explore the aporias surrounding human origins.  Building upon discussions aboutthe wider relevance of such explorations, the workshop also explores something of the bearing which recent approaches to transitions under far from equilibrium conditions across physical, organic and cultural realms may have upon “needs of a world in which simplicity is a memory of a bygone age” (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1997).


〈        Peter Allen (Complex Systems Research Centre, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University)

〈         Tim Darvill (School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University)

〈         Marion Endt (School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester)

〈         Tim Ingold (Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen)

〈         Eva Jablonka (Cohn Institute for the History of Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel-Aviv University)

〈         Marion Lamb (Independent Scholar)

〈         Frances Liardet (School of History and Archaology, Cardiff University)

〈         Lambros Malafouris (Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge)

〈         Claire Marshall (Department of Archaeology, York University)

〈         Robin Skeates (Department of Archaeology, Durham University)

〈         Jeffrey Schwartz (Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh)


The workshop will start at lunchtime on 25 March, and end at 17.00 on 26 March.

Admittance to the workshop is by registration only, as space is limited.

The workshop is free to attend for staff at Lancaster University, for staff at the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester, and for full-time students. For others the fees are as follows:

〈         First (half) day including lunch (25 March): £20

〈         Second day including lunch (26 March): £25

〈         Both days (25 and 26 March): £40

Optional evening meal (self pay) in Lancaster on 25 March.

If you need accommodation please call 01524 593554 for on-campus accommodation, or see http://bit.ly/w4-acc for hotels and B&Bs in Lancaster.

The workshop is organised by Stephanie Koerner (School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester) and Bronislaw Szerszynski (Sociology, Lancaster University), with administrative support from Anne-Marie Mumford (IAS, Lancaster University).

To register, please copy and paste the below information into an email, fill in your details and send to Anne-Marie Mumford (a [dot] mumford [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk).


Affiliation & status (staff/student etc):

Email address:

Days attending:  25/26/both days

Dinner on 25 (self-pay): Yes/No

Special requirements (eg access, dietary):

For further event details, go to: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/experimentality/event/workshop5