An Experiment in Topological Thinking: Novel Methods for Inventive Problem Making/Solving


ASSHH Conference 7-10 July 2013

This interdisciplinary roundtable discussion will generate a dialogue on the possibilities afforded by speculative research, in contrast to more familiar and accepted modes that seek to establish causal relations, predictive accounts etc. The session will be introduced with a brief account of what is meant by ‘topological thinking’ and ‘inventive problem making,’ followed by a proposal for collaborative research that brings together innovative social theory and radical design methods. Discussion will be directed toward what possibilities may be opened up or, indeed, closed down by attending to processes of ontological transformation–for example, the way an intervention can be variously prophylactic, a marker of international exploitation and the occasion for the renegotiation of sexual practices—that emerge from unexpected encounters and relations (including research encounters).


Professor Bill Gaver, Interactive Design Studio, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.
Professor Robert Grant, Gladstone Institute, UCSF, USA.
Ms Kim Koestner, Gladstone Institute, UCSF, USA.
Dr Dean Murphy, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and UNSW, Australia
Dr Kane Race, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, Australia.
Professor Marsha Rosengarten, Unit of Play, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.
Mr Martin Savransky, Unit of Play, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.


Dr Judy Auerbach, Science and policy consultant and Adjunct Professor in the School of Medicine at UCSF, USA.
Mr Michael Bartos, UNAIDS.
Dr Fiona Samuels, Overseas Development Institute, UK.