The Science of Team Science Conference

with James Cumming, Chaos Management, Ltd

***Ethnographic, participant-observation data was recorded, and

the conversation continues on Twitter at #teamsci10***

21-24 April 2010
The Science of Team Science Conference
Northwestern University: Clinical and Translational Sciences Unit
Chicago, IL

Poster Session Proposal
Despite decades of leadership from the health sciences, progress in resolving barriers to interdisciplinary research appears static. One reason stems from the failure to engage knowledge developed from a social perspective (Fiore, 2008). We aim to bring the social to team science by imagining all of the participants, presenters, organizers, and sponsors of this conference as “a team” – as a group of scientists engaged in a common task: to understand and improve the practice of team science. By imposing the model of team science on the group, we create boundary conditions for analysis of the conference discourse and dynamics about team science. This maneuver invites all those in the conference who wish to do so to engage with us in an active and collaborative process of learning. We will challenge these self-selected conference participants to identify the substance of social intelligence required in the applied practice of team science through voluntary monitoring, self-evaluation and self-reflection, Paying dual attention to the processes of 1) talking about team science and 2) doing team science will generate a snapshot of the current state of the field, provide insight into the norm-governed behaviors, attitudes, and cognitions that promote or inhibit productive team science, and highlight the specific skills, strategies, and synergies of effective leaders and team players.

We propose to conduct a running (“live”) discourse analysis of participants’ interactions during the Science of Team Science Conference, in order to explore relationships between a) the structures and processes of generating knowledge about working in teams with b) the content of knowledge shared during the conference. An “ad” in the conference program would alert participants to the study and initiate a consent/dissent procedure for human subjects research. Steph and James will observe the discourse and dynamics beginning at the Wednesday evening reception through the Saturday workshop, collect additional discursive and dynamic data from volunteers, and reflect impressions back to participants via a weblog dedicated to the conference and/or at Our poster will contain information about the theories we use and our data collection tools. In addition, we will pose a hypothesis derived from our observations of the conference about the relationship of the social to science in order to help us engage in dialogue with participants.

Summaries, discussions and questions raised by observations and feedback will be posted daily through a weblog (possibly stimulating on-going conversation and remaining as a permanent resource). We hope to identify potential partners for future research in Team Science and to contribute conceptual material of substantive value to the field. An article will be written for publication in the conference proceedings (or some other outlet if no proceedings are planned). This article may include suggestions regarding how the conference structure facilitates or counteracts the interdisciplinary development of team science.

We will need to have some coordination with the Program Committee regarding informed consent procedures and possibilities for survey-type data collection. It will be ideal if conference organizers are open to announcing and promoting participation in the study.

REFERENCE: Fiore, Stephen M. 2008. Interdisciplinarity as Teamwork: How the Science of Teams can Inform Team Science. Small Group Research. Vol. 39. pp. 251-277. Sage.

Voices from the In-Between: Aporias, Reverberations, and Audiences

16-18 April 2010
Voices from the In-Between: Aporias, Reverberations, and Audiences
Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Call for Papers:

The conference seeks to foster a space to discuss, problematize, and rethink ways of approaching the elusive concept of the in-between as it relates to various modes of cultural production and global phenomena. With the aim of engaging in transdisciplinary dialogues,pParticipants question how specific objects of study resist clear-cut categorization or placement in genres or domains, reconsider definitions and theories of the in-between, and present case studies that investigate the diverse manifestations of “in-between-ness.”

Presentation proposal:

The job of simultaneous interpreting between languages for individuals who do not share a common tongue but must interact to order to accomplish a particular task is becoming understood as a practice profession.[1]As a field of professional practice, the domain has traditionally been split by venue and modality, as “conference” or “community” interpreting and involving either exclusively spoken or a combination of spoken and signed languages. The role of the interpreter in interpreted interactions is tightly constrained, ostensibly so as not to influence the communication process among direct interlocutors. The presence of the interpreter problematizes the very act of communication itself, specifically the definition of meaning. As an object of study, meaning defies constancy – it morphs and changes on every timescale, and has the potential to shift in each and every application, contingent upon the relationship constituting use. There is no guaranteed location of meaning, only the promise of meaningfulness that is predicated on a past trajectory or presumed in an imagined future.

It is common, however, for people involved in an interpreted interaction to avow that meaning is fixed within words. This attitude reflects a desire for control of the communication process, which is – by virtue of being a process – particularly difficult to obtain. In fact, communication is essentially impossible to control because there is rarely (if ever) the guarantee that reception will match delivery. Friends and lovers misunderstand, enemies take offense when none was intended, creative and scientific representations get warped out of all proportion, sometimes to the point of unrecognizability. Pressures exerted upon interpreters “to render the message faithfully”[2] are loaded with the cumulative force of industrial era thinking: that it is possible to operate in a smooth, invisible, functional manner such that your presence can be momentarily forgotten. This is what interlocutors seem to want, to be convinced (or at least be able to believe, without interference) that the method of transmission is irrelevant. In other words, people seem to seek an escape from awareness of process by immersing attention in particular content.

Simultaneous interpreters are in a unique position within interpreted interaction. Despite the constraints placed upon independent interpreter action, in fact – within these very constraints – lies a zone of permanent liminality, a way of being, of understanding a different kind of meaning that is not fixed in definitions but flows from the essential nature of all interaction: “It’s the relationship, stupid!” Interpreters thus occupy positions of potential power – not the negative microsocial concern of screwing up conversations! Rather, interpreters wield a kind of institutional leverage for bringing interlocutors, one at a time, ever so incrementally, closer to shifting their energy from seeking to exert static control over one another through fixed meanings to caring about the meaningful outcomes of their identifications with each other in the mutual timespace of in-between.

[1] Dean, R. K. & Pollard, R. Q (2005). Consumers and service effectiveness in interpreting work: A practice profession perspective. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson, & E. Winston (Eds.), Interpreting and interpreter education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 259-282). New York: Oxford University Press.

[2] Code of Professional Conduct, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. This is a common clause in statements of professional ethics.

New England Deaf Studies Conference

Saturday, 3 April 2010
New England Deaf Studies Conference
Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill MA

A review of lessons Deaf people have taught ASL interpreters and others, which sign language interpreters can now use to challenge/educate spoken language interpreters. Deaf people have the opportunity to be role models and allies to people from other linguistic minority groups – even those who use spoken languages….

Educational Objectives:

  1. Participants will recognize attitudes toward criticizing interpreters.
  2. Participants will be able to distinguish different types of challenges for interpreters.
  3. On the basis of objectives 1 & 2, participants will be able to classify themselves in terms of standard identity development models.
  4. Participants will compare their levels of identity development with the observable empowerment behavior (in interpreted interaction) of users of minority spoken languages.
  5. Participants will evaluate and score the proposal of the presenter that the Deaf Community’s history of criticizing sign language interpreters presents a challenge to interpreters of spoken languages, too.
  6. Participants will analyze the potential of the Deaf Community becoming role models to other minority language communities.

A Discourse of Danger and Loss: Interpreters on Interpreting for the European Parliament

Kent, Stephanie Jo. (2009) “A Discourse of Danger and Loss: Interpreters on Interpreting for the European Parliament.” In Quality in Interpreting: A Shared Responsibility, Sandra Hale and Uldis Ozolins (Eds.). Benjamins Translation Library 87. John Benjamin’s Publishing Company. (Abstract)

“I Don’t Know”: Engaging with Problematic Moments in Multicultural Education

Kent, Stephanie Jo, and James Cumming. (Spring 2008) “I Don’t Know”: Engaging with Problematic Moments in Multicultural Education. Radical Pedagogy 9:2. International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication.

‘Why Bother?’ Institutionalization, Interpreter Decisions, and Power Relations

Kent, Stephanie Jo. (2007) “‘Why Bother?’ Institutionalization, Interpreter Decisions, and Power Relations”. In Professionalisation of Interpreting in the Community, C. Wadensjo,  B.E. Dimitrova, & A.L. Nilsson ( Eds). Benjamins Translation Library 70.  John Benjamin’s Publishing Company. (Abstract)

The Interpreter and Interrupting:  Cultural and Group Dynamics

Kent, Stephanie Jo and Potter, Anne.  (2005). The Interpreter and Interrupting:  Cultural and Group Dynamics. International Perspectives on Interpreting: Selected proceedings from the Supporting Deaf People online conferences 2001 – 2005.  (Abstract)