Institute of Education


Being capable

Publication date: Jan 10, 2017 01:18 PM

Start: Feb 22, 2017 12:30 PM
End: Feb 22, 2017 01:30 PM

Location: UCL Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald Street London WC1N 3QS

Students walking through campus

How are we to understand capability? How should we think about capability along with, and through, the technologies we build and the settings in which we train and educate?

In this talk, Alex Taylor (Microsoft Research, Cambridge) suggests that we have spent too much time working with the limits of capability—the limits of the perceptual apparatus, the limits of cognitive capacities, and the limits of how critters (whether human or nonhuman) interact and relate to one another.

Drawing on a feminist technoscience and using examples from fieldwork with interventional radiologists and people with various kinds of vision impairments, Taylor aims to show that capability is relationally enacted; that capability isn’t limited to some pre-given, individual state, but comes into being through (inter)action and through entangled relations between actors of all kinds. Overall he hopes that the project gives us the chance to imagine ‘other-than’ finite capabilities, sees capability as a ‘becoming-with’.

About the speaker

Alex Taylor is a sociologist in the Human Experiences & Design group at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. He has been contributing to both academic and industrial research areas of Science and Technology Studies and Human-Computer Interaction for almost fifteen years. Showing a broad fascination for the entanglements between social life and machines, his research ranges from empirical studies of technology in everyday life to ethnographic investigations of computation in the life sciences.

This seminar is free and open to all. Non-UCL attendees should register in advance by emailing a.vasalou@ucl.ac.uk.

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Event contact

Mina Vasalou